When you were little, you often had a hard time sleeping on your own. Your dad and I spent many hours up with you in the middle of the night in your first few years, holding you, sitting with you, walking with you while your eyes resisted closing and your little fingers worked fervently to find a soothing grip around ours, or around the little black nose of your beloved Bear. Your mind was busy even then, and mine, as a result of losing so much sleep, was often in a hazy fog. I walked around for months on end with my eyes half-closed, wondering many times how I would make it through each day.
Those difficult midnight hours and tired afternoons seem so long ago now. In the years since you found a way to sleep at night, you've also discovered how to fill your waking daylight hours with as much life as they can possibly hold, and because your passions so often spill over and touch those around you, too, you've allowed me to experience the same kind of wide-eyed amazement you seem to have for the world. You view every moment as an opportunity to discover something new and fascinating in your environment or in your own thoughts. An icicle glimmering in the winter sun, a news story that stirs your interest and emotion, the scent of something sweet baking in the kitchen, an intriguing word you've heard for the first time, a cute critter in the backyard, a challenging math concept, a brilliant idea for creating something new, a powerful song that moves you: all of these things you experience with keen senses, a curious mind, and an open heart, using them as inspiration to grow even more within. You live big, with boundless energy and enthusiasm; you get excited even about little things many other people wouldn't notice. You believe that the ideas you value are worth fighting dearly for. You ask questions (oh so many questions!) and you often delight us with the wonderful answers you come up with yourself. It's hard sometimes to believe that you're only turning nine when you are already so full of rich experiences, insights, and emotions.
I will admit that some days now I still feel tired as your mom; your ability to live, to think, to feel so deeply makes it hard to keep up with you sometimes, or to know how to interact with you in the ways that you need most. But this kind of tired is different from how I felt when you were small. It's more often the deeply satisfying kind of tired that comes from an exhilarating experience that pushes me (in a good way) to move beyond what I already know. I am really happy to be your mom, Will; watching you embrace life in your own vibrant way has given me so many opportunities to see more, to feel more, to understand more, and has often made me feel more alive than ever.
Happy 9th Birthday, Will. I wish you a wonderful year of new and exciting experiences, ones that will further encourage your lively mind and spirit and allow you to grow in ever more amazing ways.