Dear Asher: Fifth Birthday Letter

{This letter was started on January 31, worked on again February 24, and finished today, February 28.}

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Dear Asher,

Happy birthday, my love! You are 5-years-old! You are so very excited to be 5 now. Every day for the last week I had to tell you how many sleeps until your birthday.

So let me paint a little picture about you and your life right now. You are the most precocious child, always chatting and singing through nearly every moment. You tell wonderful and hair-raising stories to anyone who will listen, especially about Earthland and your adventures there, your pet dragons of various breeds, the battles you engage in to save the world, and your wife Jennifer, who is having a baby with you. (This development is very recent.) The baby is a boy and his name is Morlassus. I hope to hear more about Jennifer and Morlassus.

You are very much at home in the Red Rose Kindergarten at our Waldorf school. Your teachers both adore you and you seem rather popular. Yesterday you told me that there are two girls who are in love with you, but since you were being discreet, you only told me the first sound of their names. What a gentleman you are. Lucas promptly guessed the girls’ names, and you eagerly confirmed he was right.  It seems that you have many friends that you run around with on the playground. I hear a lot about Elijah, Lilly, Enzo, Landon, and of course, Noah, and many others. It’s fun to watch your world expanding to include new people. When I’ve had the privilege of watching your class during circle time, I’ve been delighted to see that you enjoy the songs and movements so much. You pay attention and participate with joy. You love to clown with your buddies.

Asher and N

I hear more about battling from you than I remember hearing from your brother when he was your age. I don’t know if that’s part of being a younger sibling, for your interests tend toward the more mature things your brother likes.

At home, you and Lucas spend a lot of your free time together. Usually you get along pretty well, although now that you are older, the two of you fight more often. When you do, there’s all kind of shouting and often tears. I think you work very hard to get your point across and, in the long run, I think this is good for you. You stick up for yourself well; you push back when he’s trying to control or manipulate you. You are possessive of your things and sometimes don’t like being told how to play with them, which Lucas often does. At other times, you are happy to let him lead your games and imagination play. When the two of you work together, and allow each other space to create, you can be so agreeable and amazing—magical things happen in your minds. That part is fun to watch quietly, out of the corner of my eye so you don’t catch me. Together you are making up your own language, which as far as I can tell involves both of you making up words and Lucas correcting yours. You both enjoy hatching and training creatures and playing with your pet dragons.

~~~~

February 24

Mama-made Dragon Hat

Asher, I can’t believe how much time has passed since your birthday. Here it is almost a month later and I still haven’t finished this letter. I’ll continue to try to paint a picture of who you are now.

Face Paint Crayons: Dragon Boy

At 5, you are formidable. You are confident and brave. You seem to know what you want and what you’re about most of the time. Although you often happily follow in your brother’s footsteps, you also sometimes pursue your own path with a kind of determination and certainty that I deeply admire.

You talk constantly. When you’re not talking, you are singing or jibber-jabbering in a steady stream-of-consciousness narrative.  I love to hear you singing, and I think you have a beautiful voice. Sometimes you and Lucas will sing together; he takes the low parts and you take the high and you weave your music together in a spontaneous and exciting way. You seem to have an instinct for it. I confess I sometimes find it hard to think in the midst of all your music-making. But I know you are processing your world, changing it through the power of your words, figuring out how things work, and joyfully plucking from it all the wacky humor and opportunities for fun as possible.

You also tell lots of stories. You enjoy tricking people, so you now tell stories that aren’t true in the hopes that people will believe you and you can have a giggle. And sometimes, I think you believe your stories yourself. The line between reality and fantasy is, well, rarely observed and certainly never hard and fast. You have been known to doorbell ditch, both from the outside and the inside of the house, by which I mean that you will knock on a hard surface until an adult goes to answer the door, only to find no one there.

Light Saber Battle

For fun, you love to play with LEGOs and building spaceships is your specialty. You also enjoy blocks, but choose them less frequently nowadays. Once in a while you pick up a stuffed animal or your little Waldorf house elf Miko and play and play. When Lucas is home, you two enjoy “fighting” or “training” in martial arts. Lucas has convinced you that he is in fact a martial arts ninja master, and you are his willing and obedient student. He’s even got you calling him Master within the context of your game. Sometimes this play is relaxed and groovy, and you both enjoy it a lot. Other times, the sparring can lead to hurts. You were both given lightsabers for Christmas, and you love to battle each other in the evening, when the lightsabers glow beautifully in the darkness. Basically, you and Lucas are best friends and brothers, which is something special, I think—you compete, fight, and play with each other; you stick up for and cover for each other; and you learn from each other constantly. I often watch with wonder at how you interact, knowing that you’re both learning so much and gaining so much by being brothers. It’s marvelous.

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We’re at the cabin in Tahoe for a family vacation now. Today, I watched you playing in the snow with great vigor and enthusiasm—never mind that it’s been two years since we came to play in the snow. You rambled through the woods near the cabin, enjoying your freedom and time to explore. You threw snowballs at your brother and didn’t mind when you got hit yourself. You never got too cold or out of sorts. I love to let you and your brother roam. Opportunities to do so safely are fewer than I would wish. To see you tromping through the woods, following your nose or the fairies or whatever it is that pulls you onward is a wonderful thing.

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~~~~

February 28

Blade and Shortbow

Your latest obsession is Dungeons and Dragons. You now talk about it constantly. We probably should have held off on this for a few years, but as your brother is the perfect age for this kind of role playing and you absolutely will not be left out, we have compromised. Daddy is a wonderful DM. He has painted miniatures for your characters according to your descriptions of them and he is creating quests for you and Lucas that are good for you, requiring that your characters work together as friends and companions. I like this, for it’s a way of exercising your imaginations in cooperative ways instead of competitive ones. Once, many years ago, a friend told me how to raise brothers, for he himself was raising two boys in a way quite opposite how his own parents raised him and his brother. He said, “You must find ways to make your boys work together, even if that means they strive against you, the parent, as a team. Avoid all situations where your boys are striving against each other. That is how to foster brotherhood and closeness in your sons.” I’ll never forget that, and my heart tells me he is right.

Anyway, you are currently playing D&D as a “dorf” named Shortbow, which may be the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. You are beardless, because you don’t care for beards, and you are an adult. Not a child. Not a teenager. You like to inject all sorts of things into the story Daddy is telling during a game.

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You have great new skills now. You can snap your fingers. You can throw a mean snowball. You recently braved the two-wheel bike (with training wheels) and Lucas gave you his old bike for your birthday. You ride it often on our street now, while Lucas rides his bike or his scooter. You seem to like the speed you can achieve now. You also can hop on one foot quite a distance and you can count pretty well up to 30, missing a few numbers along the way. Same with your alphabet, but we’re not worrying about that. I think it is rather funny that your interest in letters has come mainly from the kids on the playground. (Take that, Doubters. Waldorf kids not pushed will learn their letters and numbers in their own time, probably in Kindergarten.) And of course, you pay attention to your brother writing and practicing his spelling words. One of my favorite sights is seeing you both absorbed in a book or writing away in your own blank notebooks. A few days ago you wrote an entire page of “spells” in crisp, neat, blocky, made-up scribble letters. I love them.

I can go on and on, of course, for you are endlessly fascinating to me. I love you completely and I’m so proud of you.

Love,

Mama

 

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    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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