Dear Danny,

Well, it's September. It's been over four months since your birthday, and that time has gone quickly and at the same time, dragged on. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, which is something I never thought I'd be writing in a letter to you. A lot of things are happening now that we never thought of or expected. It's been hard, but we're making it through somehow, as a family.

For your birthday this year, there was just our family party this year, and you have been homebound now for over 5 months aside from visits to your other homes and the occasional walk at Lake Louise or the park. In the past few weeks, we went to IHOP and Grandma took you to Woods Coffee, and you went mini-golfing. But it was a long summer of not doing much of anything.

It's been harder emotionally for you to be without your friends and the mental stimulation school provides, but you are resilient. I wonder how you'll remember this year when you look back on it, what will stand out for you. You've been doing a lot of stream of consciousness writing, and in one of the books, during the smoke that descended on us from fires burning up and down the west coast, you wrote that it's not safe to go outside, but it already kind of wasn't because of Covid-19. I can't imagine what this whole situation looks like to someone your age.

I have had some difficult conversations with you and your brother this year, trying to teach you something about racism and political unrest. I told you about what happened to George Floyd, and I tried to help you understand at least a little bit about your privilege and how you can use it to help protect people. I don't know if I am doing all of this right, but I hope I'm making some kind of impression.

You are a whirlwind. You are not at all what I expected, but I think in some ways you're so much like me. You have big emotions, and you don't bottle them up, they fly out of you like tiny tornadoes. You cry more than Sam, mostly out of frustration when you feel unheard or like you can't effectively communicate. You are so good at everything you do that you get frustrated when you can't do something right or perfectly on the first try. Like everything, I suppose there are pros and cons to this.

Ten years in, you are still my baby. I think if you could be with me 24/7, most of that time in my lap, you would be. When I'm home, you want my attention almost all of the time. I love that you love me, and that you care for me. Last Friday when I couldn't contain my tears after hearing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, you hugged me and brought me Bowie (my seal stuffie), and gave me love. I still sit with you while you fall asleep at night, and you wake me up in the night sometimes to help you go back to sleep. I am tired. But I also look at it like so many other things - it's not going to be like this forever. One day you'll be more independent. To me, this is just... parenthood.

I am constantly astounded by your capacity for learning and your infinite curiosity. When I'm putting you to bed at night, you ask me questions about nebulas and other things you know more about than I do. The other night you asked me if the universe is flat (on a singular plane). I don't know the answers most of the time, and tell you to look it up the next day. 

Your piano lessons are on Zoom now, like so much else in our world. Your teacher is still amazing, and your desire to practice has ebbed and flowed, but your abilities amaze me. It seems like the pandemic has been good for piano and figuring out what motivates you and some new strategies for making practice more fun again. We missed having your spring recital, but there's going to be a virtual recital for fall, and I'm hoping by next spring we'll be able to gather and hear all of you play on the grand piano again.

Your face has changed completely since last year, it seems like you just made the transition from little boy Danny to big boy Danny, but I suppose transition is constant. You look more like me now, I see it in your cheeks and your nose, your body is getting ready for teenaged filling out and growth spurts, and I feel like time is going so quickly. I spent so much time when you were little in spaces of life where time went slowly, and now I feel like it's flying by. The other day we were out getting back to school photos by the lake, and you said "carry me," and the notion was so hilarious because I can't pick you up anymore! 

5th grade started a few weeks ago, and you've got classes on Zoom in the morning and independent working in the afternoons. You have taken to it so easily, I think you were just relieved to be in a space with your friends and teacher again even if it is a virtual one. You speak up more that I've ever heard you speak in a group setting, and I'm relieved that even if things can't be normal, they seem to be working okay. 

I don't know what the next year will hold, but I'm just so grateful that you have so much support and that we have been able to form a family bubble that provides for a little bit of variety. We are all so lucky. I'm excited to see how you are able to excel in new ways with the opportunities middle and high school will provide. I'm excited to see who you will become.

Love, Mom


Favorite Book:  Diary of a Surfer Villager, The Legend of Dave The Villager
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Song:  Exile - Taylor Swift and Bon Iver
Favorite Board Game:  Fluxx, Munchkin
Favorite Video Game:  Minecraft
Favorite TV Show: The Simpsons, The Good Place
Favorite YouTubers:  Skeppy, Grian, Mumbo Jumbo
Favorite Food:  Pizza, Watermelon
Favorite Dessert: Ice Cream (Chocolate)
Favorite Thing to Do Outside the House: If there were anything, Squalicum Park 
Favorite Subject at School: PE
Best Friends:  This is 2020 we are not allowed to have friends. But, before Coronavirus, Austin and Kaden

Birth Story.