To my big boy on his birthday

Dear McKay,

Today you are turning eleven years old. This day every year brings you one step closer to that inevitable moment when you are ready to spread your wings and leave the little nest I have created here. I find myself wholly unable to think about that far-off day, and turn my attention to the utter joy you bring us now.

Mack, you are just good. There is no way around it. There is not a mean bone in your body. You not only root for the underdog, but you go out of your way to help him. You cannot stand the idea of anyone hurting. Your thoughtfulness is way beyond your years.

Your current favorite game is one of your own invention, called, "Would you rather?" You give me a choice between two diverse (and often really gross) scenarios, in which I am forced choose the lesser of two evils. Tonight, you asked me if I'd rather die a hero or live long enough to see myself become a villain. Proud of your keen intellect and creative philosophizing, I bragged to your daddy about it on the phone.

He laughed and told me it was from the newest Batman movie.

As I'd want it, school has been an ongoing challenge, and I'm so proud of the way you've dug in your heels with determination. You absolutely refuse to not do well at anything. You are driven in such a way that I know came solely from your father's genes. You have a vision for the way you want things to be someday, and you are planning now for that future. I have no doubt that you will achieve all you set out to do. And I can't wait for you to make those millions you're dreaming of.

Because laboring for hours to bring you into this world without an epidural? That's got to be at least worth you funding my golden years in a really posh nursing home staffed by strong, handsome men.

You continue to share everything in life with your brother. The two of you are inseparable, and it is not uncommon for me to find you both bent over a pile of legos, or laughing while reading a Calvin and Hobbs book together. I can't tell you the joy it brings to my mama heart when I see you two so close. Just a few minutes ago, when I walked past your room, I smiled as I heard you and Chase talking together about various events in your day. I love that you love him so much.

You are thoughtful and tender, obedient and kind. I rely a lot on you, and without question, you do all that you're asked and more. You make me laugh with your silly jokes. You make me smile when I see that look on your face - the one where you try so hard not to smile or show others how excited you are about something. The one where you look just like your dad.

You are the kind of kid that makes parenting feel so easy.
I love you, buddy. I know you love me, too, even if you think it's gross to give me a hug in public. Thank you for filling our life with such sweet, easy happiness.