A letter to my son on his 5th birthday

Dear Timo,

Every year on your birthday, I look at photos of you, and I marvel… and cry.  Somehow, in the blink of an eye, you have gone from a 5 pound newborn to a 5 year-old boy.  Beautiful at birth, delicate and serene, we fawned over your exquisite bone structure… which was quickly obscured by layers of glorious baby fat.  Your chub was unparalleled – even your rolls had rolls!  When I bathed or changed you, it was not unusual to find a Cheerio or yogurt puff hidden between several of your chins.

Your smile is still pure sunshine, the lashes on your almond eyes remain enviably long, but your baby fluff has given way to the sinewy athleticism of an older child.  I continue to attempt a state of denial, holding tight to the image of you as a baby, trying desperately to slow time.  Clothing shops and websites have attempted to guide me away from a toddler model to an older-kid vibe for months, the selection of bear-eared hoodies dwindling as you continue to grow with impressive if devastating speed.  Sh*t got real when Grandma informed me that you were now “too old” for me to post photos of your cute little buns on social media.  When did you sneak away and grow up?!

You had many firsts this year, T, some we celebrated with you, several I hope you’ll forget – but all memorable.  No milestone has been harder-earned than your speech development.  Although I would still love you with every fiber of my being if you never uttered a single word, my heart broke these past years each time I saw you struggle to communicate.  Just a few months ago, at the tail end of a family vacation, it all clicked.  (Note to self: go to the Bahamas more often…..) Two years of forgoing weekend birthday parties and family adventures to attend speech therapy sessions suddenly paid off.  You found your voice!!  Witnessing your transformation has been the single most powerful experience of my life.

It brings me immeasurable joy to watch you playing with the co-captains of your fan club (Grandma and your big sister), telling stories, giggling uncontrollably, building and creating.  How I love to hear you sing to and chat with Bun-Bun in the minutes before you drift off to sleep.  The instant you were born, 8:20 on the morning of January 23, 2014, our family was complete.  You are the light of my life, and I am so very proud of you.

Timotéo Nicolas Gomez, each day with you is a gift.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy, I love you more than words could ever do justice.


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