Typically, I tiptoe around the house before I leave for work so as not to enrage any of my sleeping family. But yesterday morning I had strict instructions to roust everyone at exactly 6:55am.
Elijah had presents to open.
By 6:56am, Eli was surrounded by wrapping paper while Luca and Grover lay motionless on the floor. I simply couldn’t believe my sweet little guy was eight years old.
Later in the day, Eli got to choose whatever restaurant he wanted for dinner. I prayed a little pray that he wouldn’t choose Chuck E Cheese and my wish was granted by the delicious margarita makers at The Little Mexican Café.
After forty or fifty pounds of tortilla chips, Diana instructed everyone at the table to say one thing they loved about Eli.
Luca said he loved the things Eli builds in Minecraft. The twins next door said he wasn’t a braggart. Our neighbors said he was kind and sweet and trusting. Our friend Kitty said he was hilarious and honest. Diana said he was a beautiful, old soul.
I blurted out, “I love you because you are a nerd.”
In other words I froze up. Yes, he’s sweet and funny and kind above all else. And he is a huge nerd.
But I worried if I started saying what I loved about Eli we’d be there well after the staff had turned off the lights and put all the chairs up on the tables.
He is simply a better person than me in a million ways. He is a joy machine, churning out tiny pieces of beauty and friendship and hilarity from the moment he wakes up until he puts his floppy head on his pillow.
Every year I worry he’ll be corrupted by life and loose that magic that makes him so special. Now I’m not so sure. I think maybe he’s going to beat life and leave this ugly, dirty planet a lot better off when he’s done with it.
I love you, pal.