Someday you might ask about why you’re older than lots of the other kids in your grade, so let me tell you something. In Spring 2010, I went to the elementary school and registered you for kindergarten. Then I walked out the door and felt nauseous. Even though I had never considered another option, I suddenly felt absolutely certain that we needed a new plan. It took a few days of twisting your dad’s arm, but we were fortunate to get a spot for you in the perfect place. It was a private early childhood program with 2 teachers and 14 students. One precious teacher and three classmates from your preschool were going to be there with you.
So I’ve been spending the last year watching you blossom. Your self-confidence is so changed from a year ago. You recently went to the birthday party of a baseball teammate you hardly knew and immediately ran off to play and never looked back. Academically, you’ve shown us you’re a math whiz and your reading has taken off, and your creative talents as an artist and story-teller continue to amaze us. You, my love, are SO ready for kindergarten this fall. Trust me when I say that this bridge year was a precious gift that will continue to reward us for years to come.
I was shocked when you were born with a head of red hair, a little in denial. But your hair is so perfect. When lice were spreading around your preschool someone said to me “At least you have a boy so you can just shave his head.” I was aghast. I’d shave my own head before yours. When you were two and we were in line for a ride at Disney World, I was holding you on my shoulder and you said, “Mommy, people are petting my hair again.” Complete strangers couldn’t resist the urge to touch your strawberry blonde locks.
You’ve always been so easy to please. For Christmas when you were three, you asked for bottled water and goldfish crackers. Today, you asked if I had gotten you a birthday present yet. I said “Perhaps…” Your reply? “Well, if you haven’t, maybe you can set your alarm and go to the store early so you have something to give me when I wake up in the morning.” But I’m pretty sure if I woke you with a hug and a smooch, you’d be content to forgive the omission of gifts.
When you were in your first year of preschool, Ms. Maxine said to me, “We just love Trevor. Thank you for sharing him with us.” You are my sprite, my imp. There is a spring in your step and a twinkle in your eye that makes people happy when they’re around you. Some of the things you say are so sugary sweet that people think you must be saying them to butter me up. But I know, truly, that you have abundant love in your heart that just overflows sometimes. You’re so genuinely empathetic. I see it in the way you love and care for your sister, comforting her when she’s sad, embracing her when she’s happy.
You and me…what can I say?
“Trevor…?” I say.
“You’re going to tell me you love me, right?” you say.
“Well, it’s true, I do,” I say.
“I love you more,” you say.
“No, I love you more,” I say.
“Impossible,” we both say.
Me and Trev, we fit together like peas and carrots. Some parents lament their children sleeping in their bed. Somehow, you sleep in your own bed 95% of the time, but I still get that precious 5% of nights when you’ll silently appear at my bedside under the cover of darkness and climb in to cuddle for the remainder of the night. It’s been our little secret, but you’ll ask me to wake you “when the coast is clear and Daddy’s asleep”, so you can sneak in and be my cuddle bug. I usually don’t, but once in a while I snatch you out of your bed and carry you to mine at 2 am.
Every day of my life, I think that I couldn’t possibly love you any more than I already do. But then you’ll give me a smile, a laugh, squeeze my hand, hug me, kiss me, speak from your heart and it happens again…my heart gets a little more full and have more love for you and life itself than I did yesterday. Thank you for being my Trevor Jacques Etienne, my Trevario, my TJ.