Nine. Just saying it aloud tastes funny. Nine is a big kid - not quite a 10-year-old level of bigness - but big. I've read that 9 brings with it a certain pulling away, a new desire for independence, and while I've been feeling that for a while now, knowing that it's the right thing for this age is very reassuring.
Here's a heart-warming Ted story. At school, the birthday child gets to hold the world (a giant beach ball) while a friend holds the sun (a lightbulb, or in Ted's class' case, an orange cone). As the earth circles the sun, we pass around a pic for each year and share a story from that year. Very cute. There was a snafu over who would hold his sun and I held my breath, sure he'd choose a close buddy and not the desperate boy who so badly wanted to be chosen. But he chose him. Not grudgingly, just simply, "I choose him." It was a beautiful moment.
We've had a hard year, this maturing boy and I. But through it all, I see the kindness and goodness in him. He is a much kinder person out in the world than he is at home - but aren't we all? Don't we all wish to treat our family members better? This year, this 9th year with my boy, I resolve to show him what a good person he is becoming. I will focus more on the good and less on the bad. Oh yes. Nine will be a good year, for both of us.
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. You are so loved.
Click here for a link to the pics we used at school.