My Handsome Son,
It has been almost a year since I have done one of these. I am so sorry. I know that I have forgotten hilarious anecdotes and tender moments, and that is a true shame. But I'll tell you as much about the past year of your life as I can remember.
First of all, the second grade. This was such a great year for you, academically. Mrs. Meikle is an INCREDIBLE teacher and just positively perfect for you. You would come home and tell me all about all the things you had been learning at school--everything from a list of endangered animals to a lengthy narrative about the pirate Black Sam. You learned and used words like "inference" and "prediction" and "misconception" (though you pronounce the latter, "miscopception.") One morning on the way to school you sang me an entire song that you had learned in class.
Socially, you spent a lot of time wandering from group to group, trying to find a place where you fit in. Sometimes at bedtime you would tell me about playground politics. I don't think you ever did find the perfect place, but maybe this next school year will be better.
The above image is pretty typical of the doodles I'd find on the back of school papers you'd bring home. This one bears a strong resemblance to some of the artwork that Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) often produced.
You have developed a serious love for computer gaming, which development, as you know, causes me some concern. I love that there is something in your life that you are passionate about and interested in, but I have seen too many people toss away real life in favor of the counterfeit provided by a flickering screen, and that is the last thing in the world I want for you. I want you to feel the sunshine on your face every day, to have muscles ache from hard physical labor, to laugh and jump and explore and make friends with whom you do fun things in the real world. So for now I am trying to teach you limits. That there is work to be done first, and there is life to be lived after. That there are rewards much greater than loot dropped by bosses you've finally conquered.
But boy oh boy, do you love your games. You'll follow me around for hours, prattling on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Minecraft and Terreria and levels and monster types and bosses and shields and weapons and health and durability and damage and things you would do in a mod of your own and things you have done in the versions you've played. You are nothing if not excited about these worlds you have discovered.
You have matured a great deal in the past year. You have calmed down considerably. Though there are still certainly moments of dramatics (let's not talk about what happens when I ask you to empty the dishwasher, Liam annoys you, or, much worse, a dog comes within 100 yards of your person), there are also many moments in which you are happily curled up with a book, calm as a lake. In fact, you've become the child I prefer to take on shopping expeditions, because you never ask for anything. It is a very strange turn of events, but one I will definitely accept. You are also very good at remembering your manners.
Your sense of humor continues to grow and develop, and your sense of irony has even begun to bud. One day you grabbed a plastic bag of baby carrots and pointed something out to me. "Look, Mom! This has a Box, Box, Box, Box, Box, Box, BOX, Boxtop on it! What in the world?"
This year you turned eight and were able to get baptized. Brother and Sister Polson came to our home to help teach you about the significance of the covenants you were about to make. Those were tender moments, watching you solemnly listen to them and answer questions, feeling their love for you and your deep sense of the reverence required for the situation. Your baptism day was very lovely (but heck if I can find any pictures). Grandma and Grandpa Hanson both spoke, and you could feel their love for you and their love for the gospel. Two of your former primary teachers, Brother Oliverson and Brother Johnson, Brother Polson, Bishop Shaw, Grandpa, and Daddy stood in the circle as Daddy confirmed you a member of the church.
(Speaking of Bishop Shaw, you remember him and his fight with cancer every time you pray.)
Recently you have been begging me for a baby brother or sister (your preference is for a sister). You love to have your 8-month-old cousin Rebecca come and visit, and you are a wonderful help when I need someone to keep an eye on her for a minute or two, or a couple of extra arms to hold her while I do something quickly with my hands. I would love to give you a younger sibling, just so you could have that special bond of love with a little person that you could guide and care for and teach. But we'll see. We'll see.
You love your Auntie Briar and always wait impatiently for me and Daddy to leave on our Saturday night date so you can enjoy some time with her. "Can you guys go on your date at two today? Please?"
A few other notes:
One day I offered to teach you how to make yourself a sandwich. "No thanks," you said. "After you taught me how to empty the dishwasher, my life got a little bit worser." You remained unconvinced by my arguments about the value of independence.
One morning over breakfast, you cheerfully remarked, "Ever since Tuesday [the previous day], you've been cooking really good food. Keep up the good process!"
As I was helping you with your boots before school, I grumbled about how, because they were made in two pieces,they were extra awkward to put on. But you said, "I am thankful for my boots. They keep my feet warm. They may not be the best boots, but they're the boots I have."
You've started reading these updates, the ones I wrote about you when you were younger. It makes me happy to watch you learn about your younger self, laugh at your antics, and smile about the cute things you'd say and do.
Sometimes I will say to you, "Have I told you lately that I love you?" And you'll smile and say, "No, but I know you do." I hope you always do, my sweet darling. Because I always will.
Taking time out for a snow snack during a sledding adventure at Pillsbury Park.
Giving your little man a giant hat.
You do love your stuffed animals.