happy 5th birthday burke.

You are a force, Burke. Not the force, but a force nonetheless. Whether throwing your body to tackle someone or wrapping your legs and arms around another for a large hug, you play and love hard. As an infant you would nuzzle anyone who picked you up, entrusting and resting your entire self into them/us regardless of their familiarity to you. And aside from your resulting infant repulsion of having to sleep by yourself — a glitch really — we have always loved your willingness to give and receive affection. You are so bright and eager to learn, still mostly absorbing the world around you through observation. And you started reading this year (!) — I imagine mostly due to your persistence in asking me to teach you; you work diligently and patiently, thriving in independent work, although more often when it’s of your own initiative. You see, Son, you hate imperatives of any form — academic or otherwise. It’s more likely to find you lying next to your clothes than putting them on or thoughtfully playing with your toys when you need to put on your shoes to leave the house. Still, you cannot be rushed, and I admit (despite my periodic frustration) that I love this about you, Burke: you love/enjoy people without becoming encumbered by their expectations of you. Apart from when your little sister annoys you or your big brother undermines you, you are generous with kind words, frequently saying things like, “you’re the BEST mom in the whole wide world” or “thank you mom for this delicious ____.”  And now, at your new age of 5, as the last of your baby chub melts off of you like wax revealing the man-boy beneath, the contrast of your ever-growing tenderness only sharpens. May you never despise your sensitivity, Sweet One, or define yourself by other people’s estimation of you. I love you, Burke, and today, I celebrate you: happy birthday.

This year, we celebrated your big day with a jedi-training party. We invited your friends over and “trained” you all on the obstacle course that Dad and I created for you guys — including a miniature Sarlac, Dad as a ball-pelting storm trooper (although he accidentally pelted you in the eye), and a light-saber fight with Darth Vader (Kevin). You all also scavenger-hunted for treat bags where you attacked a pinata with your light sabers — “the best birthday ever,” you said. Here’s some pictures of your hard efforts.