I'm not sure how it happened, but yesterday we all ended up sitting on my bed. Everyone except Dad, he was at work. You saw the title of a blog on my computer, an old post from last year - it was called "Lunch Monitors" and you asked me to read it.
You had no idea it was all about you.
I hadn't read it out loud to any of you before - it's one of those posts that I just hope you'll stumble across in years to come and be magically transported back to this time. To this house. A house that barely contains your energy. I watch you zip from room to room, and this house somehow becomes a glass jar with a lid and you its trapped fly. You buzz and buzz until I grant you the freedom of opening the front door. Whoosh. Gone.
You all giggled while I read the post. The second little traveller made jokes and when I said the bit about the 4th traveller using the eye mask as underwear, you all roared with laughter. And for that split second, I took a photo in my mind; a photo that has you in your final moments of 8, head thrown back with squeals of laughter, flanked by family.
Your Dad made the usual jokes last night "have you done a poo today? I wonder if that's your last 8 year old poo." You think he is hysterical. "8 year old poo Dad, can you imagine an eight year old poo?" You want to be just like him, and you will be - only better. Your father was made better by his sister, he will admit to this, probably not to her - but he has to me. She adores him in the same way that your sisters adore you, you can't see it right now, but you will. You don't notice that the second little traveller has checked your schedule on the refrigerator - that's how you knew to get changed this morning, it was her that yelled out "you need to wear your PE uniform". You will possibly not remember that it was the first little traveller that chose your outfit for the school photos yesterday "Oh God, you can't wear that" she said before marching you back into your bedroom to get changed.
There are so many things you can do that make you big; you can make a sandwich, a proper healthy sandwich with lettuce. You can swim, ride, run and catch. You can order something over the phone, you can run inside the service station and pick up a loaf of bread.
I often remember that you are still small when I notice that you don't like to walk upstairs on your own. I really hope that you remember that your brother always offers to go with you. Always. You like to keep the light on at night and your favorite place in the world is right in the middle of Dad and I on a Saturday morning in bed. You often arrive with your own bedding incase you're competing for a position. I can't tell you how often I wake with you at my feet, the most loyal of puppies.
I'm still not sure where all of your questions will lead you. You have them for everyone, the car salesman, the air-conditioning repair man, the plumber and the parents of your friends. You sit with our friends and ask them about their jobs, you want to know how to build a train station, how to fly a plane, how to teach a class. You ask questions continuously, you need to know exactly why and how. I constantly change my mind on where the questions are leading - who you will be. This is maybe my favourite thing about you - you're open to everything.
One of the biggest gifts I was ever given, was from Grandma and Grandad, a better gift than the gift of Daddy - it was you. With the first little traveller, I was neurotic and obsessed with doing it all properly. The second traveller arrived and we were on a plane to Libya in a matter of weeks, there was little time to enjoy her amongst the boxes and packing. Grandma and Grandad came to help me when you were born, and often left for hours with your sisters so that I could have some time. I sat staring at the wonder of you. Confident enough that I knew what I was doing, I simply enjoyed you. Sitting in that bay window, looking out to sea with you in my arms, remains to be one of my most favourite memories. It was our time.
My first son.
Happy birthday my darling, I begged you not to turn nine, I wanted to keep you eight forever, but you had other plans. I know the day will come where I will wake and you will not have snuck into my bed, you will be neither by my side nor at my feet. We will move to the next stage and I will marvel at your growth while secretly revisiting the photo in my mind; you, us, together, head thrown back, flanked by family.