Today, my little boy is nine years old. Gosh. Nine.
I'd love to try and describe Smunch at nine, but he defies explanation in so many ways that I'm not sure I can do him justice. He's so well behaved at school, that I think he spends a lot of time "under the radar". He's smart and cute. That gets him a long way. At home, he's impatient and often grouchy after school. He can't stay up late on any night of the week or we all pay dearly for it.
He still loves sports, although he's lost some of his patience for watching them on TV. I guess we've spoiled him by taking him to too many live games. Obviously, he loves baseball...and the San Francisco Giants. The love was nurtured long before the Giants won the World Series. He went to his first game in 2008 and even though the Giants lost, he's been hooked ever since. He wants to be a Major League ball player when he grows up and when it comes to baseball, he's at his very most competitive. He's a little guy and he's not out there hitting home runs, but I think the coaches like his genuine interest and enthusiasm for the game.
He still likes me to come in and say goodnight before he falls asleep. He'll come out and remind me if I'm remiss in my duties.
Although speaking is a real challenge, he has yet to let it faze him. Tomorrow, he has a five-minute presentation that he'll be giving from memory, in character as Jackie Robinson. When he started practicing it, he could barely read it off the page. I don't think anyone except us will appreciate how hard he's had to work on this thing...memorizing not only the words, but the strategies he needs to get through the words that are hard for him to say. He's going to be great. I hope I don't cry.
Last weekend, the day after my birthday party, we threw Smunch a birthday party. He wanted to play laser tag.He's not the kind of kid who has tons of friends, so there were only six other boys there. But he said he had a lot of fun...and secretly, when I was in there playing with them, I did too!And, of course, I went all out to make him a cake he would love. He's becoming appreciative of these things, which makes it more fun. And this wasn't one of the most labor intensive ones.Smunch's teacher asks the kids to bring in mementos of the day they were born on their birthday. They're to tell the class where they were born, how much they weighed, how long they were...that stuff. I guess she couldn't be expected to understand that some parents find this information traumatic to dig up. Fortunately, the reality of a baby weighing just three pounds is lost on him. The fact that he's taking a picture of his hand, so much smaller than Daddy's wedding ring. Well, that's lost on him too. And the fact that his birth announcement has both his birthdate (and statistics) and the same information for the day we brought him home...97 days later...I think that's all lost on him too. Good.
And, if someday, he begins to realize what all of those things really meant to us, I hope he'll be super proud of how far he's come since he was a frail little preemie with meningitis. Goodness knows I already am.