A letter to my son

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Dear Tyler,

In a few short months, you will be turning 5 and starting school. I am excited for you, because you can’t wait, but I am also a little sad. You see, I feel like your preschool years have gone by too quickly. Sure, there were times when I wished you would grow up a little faster (usually when you were going through a particularly trying stage), but oh how I miss my angelic chubby-faced baby, my curly-haired toddler, my inquisitive 3-year-old.

But you know what? I have to face the facts: you are growing up before my very eyes. And as much as I feel that time moves too quickly, I really love watching you change and learn and grow. I love seeing your personality emerge.

You are the complete opposite of your brother. Your looks and personalities couldn’t be more different. And yet, you want to be JUST like him. You are so blessed to have a wonderful big brother like Ethan. He is a good role model, in many ways. But he’s not YOU. I want to encourage you to be your own person, Tyler. Have your own interests and favourite things. Develop your natural personality, without trying to be like your brother. It’s great to emulate the things that you admire in Ethan, but don’t give up on your own dreams and desires in your self-imposed quest to imitate him.

At the moment, it’s like this: If Ethan asks for honey on his toast, you change your request to match his. When we eat out, you order whatever Ethan orders (and if he orders after you, you subsequently change your mind). Ethan does Athletics; you want to do it as well (next Summer). Ethan plays soccer; now you play too. Ethan is learning the drums; you want to learn also.
Tyler, if you really love Athletics, soccer and playing the drums, then I’m happy for you to do those things. But if your burning desire is to play rugby or learn the piano, I want you to have the courage to say so.

I want you to have the freedom to be yourself, whoever that may be. We’re still discovering that, together. And I don’t want that discovery to be clouded by your desire to be just like Ethan. I don’t ever want you to feel like you have to live in his shadow. He is not you; you are not him. I don’t expect (or want) you to be just like him.

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Soon you will start school. You may not have the academic prowess that your brother possesses. But that’s fine with me. I will be proud of you for learning to read, whether it takes you 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. I will be proud of you for trying your best and giving it your all. Your best may not be enough to propell you to the top of the class, but I don’t care. You can be at the bottom and I will still love you and encourage you and cheer for you. Who knows? Maybe you will be just as smart as your brother. Maybe you will be smarter. It doesn’t matter to me.

More than anything, I want you to know that I have made a conscious effort NOT to compare the two of you. I knew from the moment you were born that you had a very different personality. I knew you were going to be the fiesty one, the strong-willed one. I knew my parenting abilities would be put to the test, that I would have to change my thinking sometimes in order to fully understand you. But that’s not a bad thing at all. You have made me a better person.
When you arrived, I felt like Daddy and I were first-time parents again. But that just goes to prove that all children are totally unique. And that’s why we don’t get an instruction manual at birth. We have to figure you out on our own. Except we’re not really doing it on our own; God is helping us.

God made you, and you are special. To him. To us. To many people. I have so many dreams for your future, but it may surprise you to know that they’re not dependent on anything. They’re not dependent on your abilities or talents or skills. My dreams for you are pretty simple: I want you to know God. I want you to be a good person. I want you to be happy. I want you to be yourself. Whatever form those things take, whatever road you choose to walk to get there. But more than anything else, I want you to know that I love you, and I will always be here for you.

Dream big, aim high, believe in yourself. You have so much potential! Don’t give up when things get tough. Pick yourself up and carry on. When you do your best, do YOUR best. Don’t try to be somebody else; be yourself.

I love you, Tyler.

Mummy xx

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27 thoughts on “A letter to my son

  1. They grow up so fast. I wish I could have five of my daughter. One when she was 2, another at 5, another at 11 and so on. I miss her at every stage of her life. The good thing is I get to do it all over again with her daughter.

    Your two boys are very fortunate to have a mom like you. This post was beautifully written.

  2. Aww Hannah, you are so sweet…
    What a lovely sentiment and HOW true about wanting him to be himself and not try to be like his big brother.
    I think that is very normal though for the younger child to do…..he will have his own style before you know it… :)

  3. lovely letter…. and love those photos too… so are you plannng on putting this on a layout?? or giving it to him??? will be a wonderful keepsake for him in years to come

  4. Wow, beautiful letter, Hannah!

    Haha, there is only 14 mths between our two older boys and we have this ALL.THE.TIME . But a difference in our situation is that sometimes it is also the older one who has to do or have the same as the younger one. What my Mum used to call “No show without punch”.

  5. What a great idea to write to Tyler … very special for him later … these are exactly the sorts of memories we should be leaving for our kids … nice work.

  6. Wow, Hannah, that was so heartfelt. You love and pride shines through your words. Just beautiful and it will be so wonderful to look back on when he is older.

    I would bet a lot of money that all your hopes for him will come true!

    xoxoxo

  7. What a wonderful thing to do Hannah. You have such an amzing way with words, to be able to write so clearly and with real sentiment and not come across as cheesy…. which is what my *heartfelt journalling* ends up being. It’s so true isn’t it, how any subsequent child is makes you first time parents again in so many ways.

    No wonder the boys think you’re so great :)

  8. Hi Hannah. I found your blog through the Paper Pesto site and have been reading for months, but this is the first time I have commented. I love your blog and layouts – it’s nice to read a NZ perspective on things every now and then!

    Your boys are just precious. Tyler will treasure this letter when he’s older – what a fantastic keepsake for him. And the photos are gorgeous too. =)

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog! I was so excited to see I had a comment on my very first post!

    Yes, my parents and sister are all in Whangarei. We will be visiting again over Queen’s Birthday (we are based in Taranaki). Quite a drive but worth it for the great company and beautiful beaches.

  10. It’s kind of mean how you can make me cry with a big smile on my face with your posts. LOL. :) I can always feel the love in your posts about any of your boys (the adult one too). Hugs to you!

  11. What a sweet letter, Hannah. I wish I had these letters from my mother when I was a child. The written word holds so much strength. It can be reread whenever he needs a boost of your love and encouragement, no matter where he is.

  12. I am sitting here bawling my eyes out – that is utterly and totally beautiful and you are so beautiful and your boys are more than blessed, thank you so so much for sharing xox

  13. What a beautiful and moving letter Hannah.
    It is always difficult when the second child idolises their older sibling and wants to be just like them. But I guess when Tyler is at school he’ll be in an environment where Ethan is not and will start to define himself.
    Knowing he has his parents support and pride will be the most important asset he can have.

  14. I so wish we lived closer…I think the boys would all be such good friends! I saw Lucas (he turned 5 on May 1) laying in bed last night and seriously had to look as I thought he was Zachary…looking all lean and long and….GROWN UP. It’s scary. Where did our babies go?

  15. Ok, you are going to be heartily sick of my comments by now, but I’ll make this my last one, promise. I just couldn’t not comment on this post. What a beautiful, lovely letter. And you are so brave to bare your soul to the world like that, I really admire you. You have inspired me to write a letter to Aurelia for her 5th in a couple of days… although I don’t think I’ll put it on my blog, lol. It wouldn’t be quite as eloquent as yours! Really beautiful!

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