Thursday, August 26, 2021

Forrest is NINE years old

 Dear Forrest, 

You are NINE years old. 

This is your last year of being in a single digit. Never again, you will be revealing your age with a goofy childlike smile, holding up a few fingers, and laughing as you do it. The glimpse of young childhood is slowly fading away from your physique. Your legs are starting to become less knobby, your face thinning out, and you're growing taller. Before Mama knows it, you and your friends will be towering over her...but not for at least a few more years!

Time is the sand in a hourglass of life. The sand pours down rather relentlessly. As much as we wish to freeze the moments, and to revisit the same experiences again, time does not work in such way. It does not give us a luxury to sit back, and pause the moment when we see fits. This serves a poignant reminder to appreciate, love, and embrace the moments that we will always cherish. It is not always easy to remind ourselves of this, and we are often guilty of forgetting. Nonetheless, when we do remember to slow down, and to embrace the is when we realize that the small things are what makes life worth living for. 

This past year had been a challenging year once again, due to the CVID19 pandemic, and you took it in a stride. You entered second grade with Mrs. Zoll, and that meant your last year in LEADS program at Hillcrest. Amidst the mask wear and social distance policy, you navigated through the murky waters of attending school in person. Thankfully, Mrs. Zoll and the class in the LEADS were all fantastic. You were able to remain safe, and healthy during the year. With a brief virtual school stint thrown in the mix, you attended school nearly full time, and was able to accomplish things that you were unable to do so during the previous year. The atmosphere was most certainly different with CVID19 looming over your head as well as other students'. You all handled it incredibly well, and with such grace. Mama and Daddy could not have been any prouder of you than they already were. 

Because of you being in the second grade, this meant learning was becoming a bit tougher, and things came less naturally for you. This resulted in frustration for you, and this often invited a dialogue about grit. It was okay not to always know things. Matter of fact, Mama and Daddy did not always know things despite them being adults! It just showed you that even with some things that may be harder to learn and retain, it did not reflect your level of intelligence, or did it reflect your ambition for learning. It was a lesson for you to learn; even most knowledgable person still faced new information on a daily basis, and it simply meant that learning was a life-long process. 

The holidays were a strange one. Mama and Dad opted to err on a prudent side, and celebrate at home. It did not mean you and your siblings missed out on all of the fun! It simply became much more intimate, smaller, and cozy. Halloween brought you a movie night with green goo popcorn with your neighbor friends while watching Ernest Scared Stupid movie. Thanksgiving lent Mama a chance to try her hand at making the meal! It turned out fantastic! The homemade cranberry sauce was a hit. Daddy was quite pleased with how well the turkey turned out. Christmas was a bit different, because instead of traveling to other places to celebrate with the extended family, we opted to stay at home, and celebrate just by ourselves. You had a chance to Facetime your grandparents, and show off your gifts. Gramma TC and GrandAunt Rosalie sent you and your siblings a matching pajamas that also matched with your cousins! So there was a fun photo compilation of all cousins wearing matching pajamas! Gramps Dave and Nana Jess met halfway with Mama and exchanged the gifts. Gramma Bobbie and Gramps Mike were able to sneak in gifts for you all. There was definitely a lot of love in all of the gifts from our family. While Christmas looked different; it was not lonesome, even though different, and it was one of the most relaxing Christmases to be had. 

As the snow started to thaw, you began playing baseball for the Marlins in the spring. What a fun experience this had been for you! You loved having Dad as your coach, and having your best friend on the team with you. Mama felt that it was a great way to build up your confidence, and it was! You learned how to embrace the team losses and wins as the season progressed. You learned how to hit the ball, and to run around the bases. You loved having family come to watch, and support you play! Baseball was all what you talked about, and you looked forward to every practice as well as every game. When it ended, you exclaimed that you wanted to do this next spring! 

As the spring semester winded down, your time with LEADS ended, and you were eager for the summer to begin.  Mama and Dad decided to sign up you and Franklin for soccer. You decided that soccer was not really your thing, and that was okay! The most important thing was that you tried it out, and stuck it out to the end of the season. 

You spent the summer spending time with Gramma TC for Camp Gramma...twice! You also visited the Farm rather often, and enjoyed cousin time! You also had Gramps Dave and Nana Jess come to spend time with us. You also went with Mama and the kids to stay with Gramma TC and Aunt RO for several days while the house was being fixed up. You had a lot of yummy food, plenty of sun, and swimming! There was some fishing, biking, and playing with the neighbor kids! 

Dad built a chicken coop, and got four chickens from Uncle Grant. You and Franklin took turns to feed, water, and put the chickens to bed at the night. It was a chore that Mama didn't have to remind you two often about, because you were always ready to take care of them! When Ms. Bawkey, Nightshade, Mr. Fluff Butt, and Mr. Cappuccino began laying eggs--oh how exciting it was for all of us! You loved collecting eggs every morning, and checked quite often during the day to see if there were any to retrieve. When the chickens free ranged for a couple hours, you often loved supervising, and often picked up whoever was willing to be held. 

You had your annual allergist appointment with Dr. McMeen. The discussion of having food challenge was brought up again. With CVID19 disrupting life, Mama and Dad never got around to starting the food challenge last year. Nonetheless, Mama requested for you to have a second blood panel to ensure that the numbers were still at zero for tree nuts before setting up food challenge. Dr. McMeen explained that the food challenge was going to be an all day affair, and that it was going to be done in the clinic. You were more enthusiastic to get the ball rolling this time around. You wanted to make sure that you were able to eat tree nuts, because this meant more variety would be available for you to enjoy! With your consent, Mama promised you that food challenge will happen either this fall or early winter of next year! 

You are still enjoying your role as an oldest brother. You are straddling between the worlds of wanting to be with your friends, to game, and do "older kids" thing, and wanting to play with your younger siblings. You alternate between loving and hating Frank (even though Dad and Mama reminds you quite often to be kind even if you feel annoyed), and wanting your own bedroom away from him. Frank struggles with this a bit, because he looks up so much to you, and you're the best thing to him. It is definitely a tough one to navigate through sometimes. You like to usher, and hoover over the little ones, especially Fiona. Mama has to often to remind you that while she is thankful for your consideration of helping her out, it is not your role to be a parent, and it is hers as well as Dad's. She is so careful not to place so much responsibilities on your shoulders, and making sure that you get to be Forrest even in the middle of all family chaos! You are a wonderful big brother, and your siblings love you so. 

The summer winded down to its end with the cool crisp in the air, you celebrated your 9th birthday with a sleepover party with just a few friends, and in your words, it was the coolest party ever! The fall brought to you an exciting change! 

You are now attending Olga Brenner Elementary for intermediate school. This has evoked some anxiety for you to go from a small class size in LEADS program at Hillcrest to a mainstream public school. The good news is that you will have your best friend in the class with you this year! With open house event recently, you also know that you have a few classmates from LEADS in the class with you as well! Your teacher, Mrs. Reed, appears to be warm, kind, and excited to have you in her class. It will be definitely strange for Mama not to be picking you up along with Franklin and Fox at Hillcrest, and picking you up at the other school instead! 

Dad, Mama, Frank, Fox, and Fi all are excited to see what your 9th year will bring to you! 


Mama, Dad, Franklin, Fox, & Fiona