Today is my son’s ninth birthday! It’s pretty wild to me that I’m the father of a nine-year-old. Who’s in the third grade. Who is far smarter than I was at his age. He may be smarter than I am right now.
Every year with him is an adventure but for some reason I’ve been especially drawn to this school year and this age, because I’m curious how it’s going to compare to my own time as a nine-year-old and a third grader. There are two things in particular that I’m keeping an eye out for:
I have the fondest memories of my third grade teacher from elementary school. I remember her being very funny and very attentive to all of us as we were turning a corner in our education and our development as children. I’m comparing my time to his, and it seems to be matching up for now. My son really likes his third grade teacher, who also seems to like him very much and is impressed by his academic prowess… and that last part is where my son and I differ.
It was also in the third grade that I met the boy who would go on to become my longest friendship. He didn’t like me very much at first but I was determined to be his friend. It wasn’t until middle school that we started to hang out and then we really clicked. Decades later, despite living states away from one another, we are still dearly close friends. This one is a little different for my son, as he spent the first and second grades already having a super close friend, who is now in the third grade no longer in his class. But my brain and its foolish need for comparison is watching his new and returning classmates and wondering if anyone is going to be The Friendship akin to the one I forged with my dear friend. This one will take a few years to develop but I’ll keep you all posted (if you’re all still around to read my updates).
But enough about me on my son’s birthday. This day is about him, the boy he’s growing in to, which is a precursor to the teenager and adult I’m eager to see him become further down the line. His curiosity, enthusiasm, love of reading (he eats up science fact like I ate up science fiction), and penchant for mathematics impress me every day. This kid amazes me and I am proud to call myself his father…
…even those times when he makes me want to pull my hair out, which are moments I anticipate will come more frequently as he inches ever closer to his teenage years. After all, the countdown to ten years old starts tomorrow.
Happy birthday, buddy!