Letters to Charlie: On Turning 5

CV_collageWow, Charlie. You are five. FIVE!

It was clear this morning you’re becoming an older kid. Within 20 minutes of waking up, you’d already told me to stop mentioning it was your birthday. “Mom, it’s ANNOOOOOYING.”

Zip it. I gave you life.

Last night, Dad and I went to parent orientation for kindergarten. KINDERGARTEN. I’m excited for you to start this next chapter of your life; you’re so ready for it. (I’m also thrilled Dad and I no longer have to commute up to 45 minutes each way to your current school. If I have to listen to “AstroPup and the Bird Fight” one more time…).

We took a bike ride (not technically true; you refuse to have pedals, so we took a bike push) to your new school a few weekends ago. While watching some big kids play, you curled into my lap. It struck me that this is the place you’ll probably decide you shouldn’t do that anymore. (Cue tears)


You’re heading into kindergarten knowing how to read, how to write, how to count by fours and fives up to 100 by memory, how to read fractions. You can put on your clothes, brush your teeth, get water from the refrigerator, read speed-limit signs, and cross the street after looking both ways. You almost don’t need us anymore!

Your recent report card was just stellar, a huge turnaround from the winter. At our parent-teacher conference this week, your teacher said how bright you are, how quickly you catch on to concepts, how much you like to participate in class. Things seemed to have settled for you once we got comfortable in our new house and used to having Baby Jack around. I’m so happy you are thriving.


You can still be pretty dramatic, though. Case in point: You love to tell stories on the way home from school, and while I’m a huge fan of story time, sometimes I can’t muster the mental fortitude during our long commute — especially because your stories inevitably come back to Batman, R2D2, or Anakin Skywalker and his ship.

One ride home after a long day at work, I told you I just couldn’t do it.

You sighed, sadly.

“Right now, my heart is empty…..but if we tell a story it will be filled with love.”

Please, someone, inform the Academy about this kid.

One morning, when I was late for work, we had an argument about eating a bite of Kix Cereal that Dad prepared for you. You agreed to try it (we have the “two-bite rule” in our house), but only dry pieces from the box. When you asked for milk with them, I dipped the spoon into the already-poured cereal bowl and offered it to you. You turned your face, raised your chin, and said, snootily, “Fresh milk, please — from the refrigerator.”

That’s when I walked away.


You recently told me, “Mom….our new house is 100 times bigger than our old house!” While, that’s not technically true, I know what you mean. You have space to play here. You run around the backyard, kick balls on the grass, jump on the tree swing. You went to a neighborhood kid’s house to jump on her trampoline last weekend.


Me to Dad: “Well, that’s worth the cost of our house right there!”


You are still a fantastic big brother for Baby Jack. I took both of you for shots recently; Jack for his six-month vaccinations, you for your kindergarten ones. You offered to go first so Jack could see “how to be brave.” We sat next to each other on the exam table; Jack in one of my arms, the other wrapped around your shoulders. When the needles went in, you whimpered, but never cried out. “It’s OK, it’s OK, I’m OK, Jack,” you said, comfortingly, when it was over. Then you held onto him while he got his shots. (Cue tears)


One of my friends (shout-out to Krystal!) recently pointed out that I’m kind of emo. It’s really true. I’ve always felt the magnitude of being your mother, but reaching these “big-kid” milestones seems to make my heart grow and grow and grow.

Perhaps it’s because I believe these years will be the best of my life. A few weekends ago, I was listening to music while making pancakes. Jack was bouncing on my hip, and you were coloring on the kitchen table. Unprompted, you got up, walked into the kitchen, and wrapped your arms around my legs.

The song playing was “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and while I’m not the religious type, I believed it.



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1 Response to Letters to Charlie: On Turning 5

  1. Barbara Crawford says:

    Jeeze, Jess. I love the guy 100% and you still manage to make my heart for him bigger.

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