You are five! A whole hand! And just like that my baby is becoming a full blown kid. Watching you grow up simultaneously rips my heart apart and makes me feel more whole. This year you've solidified your spot as the up and coming extrovert (you're giving me a run for my money) and you've begun to find your place in this big big world.
You started t-ball, fell in love with t-ball, and decided that you would be a professional baseball player. You go big, my boy.
We got to travel this year. Virginia Beach, Asheville, Costco. No matter where we go you find a way to fight with your sister and make everything a game. You have the same gift I do of feeling everything SO MUCH. Some would call us 'extra' others 'emotional' but for us it's just the way we move through this world. At some point you will be able to harness this and own it and it will make you soft and fierce. Right now it makes parenting you a holy mess but one we feel privileged to do with you.
You love outside; hiking, biking, exploring. Those six and a half acres we are building on... I can't wait to see what you make there. When you and your sister are outside it's one of the few times you don't pick each other to tears. Outside is our jam. You've shown up and done big things on our property; moving a rock foundation, exploring the bamboo forest, and clearing land on the tractor. You have your dad's work ethic and it's a beautiful thing to witness. I know so much life will happen on that land, so many firsts and lasts, so watching you make it ours makes my heart happy.
We can't talk about life lately without talking about Tutu. This year continues to be HARD and BIG and more than your pre-school self should have to handle but you bring joy and laughter at moments that feel impossible. You love her just like she is in that moment, which is exactly what she needs. You never hold back a hug or a game and while she has become more childlike and it hurts my heart you see it as a chance for someone to play the way you like to. I know how much she loves you and I'm so grateful for the way you love her.
This year it was clear that you are a connector. You have PEOPLE that have nothing to do with us. Your teachers came to your 5th birthday party. They are THE BEST but also... only you. Only you would have teachers crash your party because you are that loved. It was so hard leaving the small town where I felt like SOMEBODY to come here. And while I'll always be a Kailua Kid you are a Crozet Kid. This small town is in your DNA. We go places where you know more people than I do. Being held by a community can change your life. It gave me the confidence to go and do scary and wonderful things in my life and I believe it will give you that same gift. You are a fierce friend. It takes us 10 minutes to leave school everyday because you make your rounds and hug EVERY SINGLE PERSON. You love your people so much, your friends bring you more joy that I could have hoped, and you are connected in a way that reminds me we are in the right place. Your easy way in the world and charisma takes a lot of my mama fears away and also scares me to death... your capacity to get people on your team may mean I need lots of extra eyes on you in high school.
And the four of us... Team Rut... we are the four corners of one wonky square. We fit together like an impossible puzzle. None of us are whole without the others. We yell and we cry and we lose our cool and go on crazy adventures and we forgive and we laugh... a lot. As we continue to become us and you and Aubrey become your own people I am grateful every single day for this safe space to learn about love and grace and forgiveness.
We love you, our dude. This world is built for you. You are a white man in America. As our country continues to show it's preference for YOU we are working hard to teach you that your privilege is both undeserved and gives you power to create change. As you walk though this world we hope that you will always make space for people whose space has been taken from them. We pray you will be loud for justice and never turn your back to inequality. We are trying hard to give you lots of chances to see what that looks like and surround you with people who are doing the hard work NOW and showing you that real change happens thanks to real people being real brave.
Even though I cried when I found out you were a boy I take it all back. I was so afraid to raise a boy because I just didn't know what that looked like (as a girl raised an all female household who went to an all girls school). Little did I know that your heart would mirror mine. I adore you, sweet boy. The best is yet to come.