A Random Letter to my Nine-year-old Son

Smilin’ Rylan!

Dude. You’re in school right now, undoubtedly being all smart and stuff.

I can’t believe my baby just turned nine. What happened? I have asked you so many times to stop growing, just for a little bit, and you always answer with “Mom, that’s just how life works. Me growing up is out of my hands.”

I call you my little Walter Matthau, because you are a grumpy, wise old man in a kid’s body, an old soul in the truest sense of the phrase. I can’t get over how bright you are sometimes. My last meeting with your teacher lasted all of thirty seconds, because she had nothing to tell me besides “Rylan is simply wonderful in every way possible.”

My favorite thing about you? You are fearless in that you’ll do whatever makes you happy. I wish I had more of that, your penchant for putting a smile on your own face, regardless of what other may think.

I hope that never goes away.

Like your dancing.

I don’t think I know anyone else who is as in love with dancing as you are. You will bust a move anywhere, as you have many times. All by yourself, in your own little world of pops and locks and twists and turns. I can’t even begin to tell you how cool that makes you. You are like me, in that you hear music far beyond just your ears, but somewhere in your heart, where it reverberates and stirs up something that just makes you feel like everything will be alright. I love that you love music like I do.

And what about that heart of yours? So big and so fragile. As your mom, I wish I could coat it with a thick layer of cement, to keep it from ever breaking. But, then you wouldn’t be you anymore, would you? Your heart, as large and as open and as susceptible to breaking as it is, is also what makes you such a kind and gentle soul.

Don’t get me wrong, your grumpiness can be a pain in the you-know-what sometimes, too! I have yet to meet someone who has mastered the give-me-a-break eye roll quite like you, or who can grumble and mumble under their breathe with the same disdain as you do, when I ask you to play Beanie Boos with your sister. I know she annoys you, if there was a sibling handbook, I’m certain it’d say ‘annoy thy brothers and sisters with fervor’ as one of the cardinal rules. And she follows that rule to a T.

But I hope you see what I see: A little six-year-old girl who thinks the absolute world of you. Who wants nothing more than to be your best friend, your buddy. And who wouldn’t mind being in charge every once in awhile. Okay…most of the time. 😉

Be kind to her, she will grow up to be the person who knows you better than anyone; after all, you are navigating this road towards adulthood together. No one will ever quite understand you as well as she will when you say your mom used to drown out the sound of your bickering in the car with loud music and yelling.

Truth is, I don’t think we have a whole lot in common, you and I. Where a combination of my upbringing and Mother Nature has made it hard for me to express emotions freely, yours are written on your face and obvious in your actions. Your sense of humor and mine are different, and sometimes, our differences make it hard for me to connect with you like I think we both wished we could.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t think the world of you. Quite the opposite.

I think you are freaking amazing. Dude, I boast and brag about you like it’s my job. You are so damn smart and witty, and strong and thoughtful.
My firstborn kid.

Before you, I truly knew nothing about what it meant to love someone so fiercely it could physically hurt just to think about it. To know with absolute certainty, that I would rather die a thousand times over than to ever see you in pain but for a second. You were the first person to take a part of what makes me, me, with you to keep, the moment you were born.


And I want you to keep that part of me. I don’t ever want it back. I love every second of being your mom, and I want you to always know I am right there with you.

Of course, we will always have Marvel. Who else geeks out with me over the newest Avengers flick and the upcoming Ant-Man, but you? Certainly not dad, he falls asleep during every movie. 😉 You are my go-to movie buddy, and talking about the post-credits scenes over pizza is something I hope we do every time between now and Avengers 35.

Keep being weird.

Keep dancing.

To the beat of your own drum as well as the newest songs on radio. Never change who you are, because I happen to think the person you are growing into is mighty fantastic. As fantastic as the person that you are already.

Love you to the moon and back, times infinity,

Laura DeCarlo

Dude. Ninjas are awesome. So are unicorns. I photograph people getting married, by the way. And cool people. And cool people getting married. Cheers from a tattooed fancier of great music, enjoyer of The Big Bang Theory, consumer of Doritos Locos chicken tacos and moscato, friend, mom and wife of some pretty cool people ♪♥

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