It's been a long time since my last letter, Baby Bear, and for that I apologize. I hope this one sort of clears up why in a roundabout sort of way. 2014 has been an interesting year, and not to sound melodramatic, but I am just about over it; I'm ready for the new year, even though I know it won't really give me a clean slate, because even the number 2014 officially irritates me. It's brought too many changes, and as I'm sure you know by now, your Momma prefers things nice and orderly. Under control. Without all this craziness we've been dealing with. Your Daddy's job changed, and he's gone a lot, my work has changed a bit, our family dynamic changed and you turned five recently. Your fourth and fifth year, even though number five just started, proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. You're working on growing up and questioning everything. You're too much like me, and that terrifies and thrills me.
It's this growing up stuff that led me to this letter. This blog is full of letters to you about you growing up. It chronicles your development, contains funny little anecdotes and highlights the best parts of you. It's my way of looking back to see how much you've changed and grown. I'm learning a lot about growing up. When I ask you what you want to be, I get awesome answers. One day you want to be a tractor driver, then the next you want to be a man who wears a suit. There are some days when you want to be a Gator football player just to spite me. I love the fact that your answers are simple and based on what makes you happy at that moment. The freshness of it is heartwarming. I, however, am dealing with the less fun side of growing up. I'm realizing it's more of a case of what you need to be rather than want.
I'm learning that as I grow up, I need to be flexible. This has been a hard lesson for me. I typically choose a path and follow it. Things are ordered and almost predictable. I was comfortable and secure, because I knew I could count on what was coming next. That, unfortunately, is not Real Life. And it feels like Real Life has taken off its shoe and beaten me with it a couple of times. I'm sorta standing wondering what in the world happened. And little boy, I swear you've recognized this and are trying to make me nuts on top of it.
But I'm learning. I'm learning to bend. Normally I see things in black and white - really had no use for gray. Now I think gray is a pretty rockin' color. I'm letting shit go. And yes, I just typed the word shit. Guess what, Bear? Momma swears occasionally, and it's ok. I'm learning there is strength in being flexible, because by being able to pick and choose rather than follow a path, I have even more control. I'm learning to take care of me, which feels like a completely foreign concept, now that you're growing up and needing me a little less. I'm having fun getting back to the things that make me happy, versus just moving along and doing what needs to be done. Stuff is still getting done, but I'm pacing it out. Or trying to, anyway. Learning means I backtrack a little, but the fact that I can recognize it makes me happy.
Writing to you again is one step. I've missed these little one-sided conversations, and even though it will be a LONG time until you're able to read and appreciate them (they are printed and bound in books now, with the exception of this letter. Pretty awesome, right?!), just writing them again makes me feel better. I want to be able to look back and see both of our progress. (And I really need to get your art posted again. I've created that fire-hazard stack of pictures that I didn't want to have). I'm in love with watching you grow up, and even though I don't want that to happen any faster than it needs to, I am still ready for this year to end. I am ready to take the new, flexible Karen out for a spin in a new year and see what happens. And as I grow up, I hope that I'm able to show you by my actions what you need to be when you grow up. That way you can learn how to focus on what you want. Go get 'em, Bear.
I love you more than words,