tate. taters. T. T-T. T-man. so many nicknames for one special guy.
we recently celebrated tate’s 6th birthday. our baby, our youngest, is SIX! was it really already six years ago that he was born? his birth story brings to mind a late-night helicopter ride to denver (oh boy!), a tiny infant boy with mohawk hair, a champion of a husband who drove back & forth between our home in breckenridge and the hospital in denver with two young boys in tow, and a wonderful mother who flew in earlier than planned to spend a couple nights in the hospital with me, relieving said [exhausted] champion husband. i should say, “was that ONLY six years ago?” it feels like a lifetime.
and now he’s SIX. he has had six years to develop a personality and grow into the big boy that he is. he certainly is his own little man. he’s 100%, unabashedly TATE. he is sweet and tender and loud and shy and ornery and gets angry and stubborn and silly and hyper and isn’t afraid to throw some fists! he says, “guess what?” more times than we can count. he is less concerned with germs and his brothers taking his stuff than he used to be (thank goodness), but he always wants a real, hands-around-the-neck, tight hug at bedtime and prayers for good dreams. one of my absolutely most favorite things about tate is that he has recently begun proclaiming “i love you, mom” and “i love you, dad” at bedtime and at school drop-off and whenever else we say goodbye to each other. melts my heart everytime.
tate has never known life without brothers. while he can handle playing alone — for a little while, at least — he certainly enjoys spending time with his brothers. on the morning of his birthday, we started the celebration with our traditional early breakfast-in-bed and singing and candles and chocolate chip scone (actually, butterscotch scone at t’s request) and gifts. after opening all of the gifts, tate’s first impulse was that he wanted to start playing with his new lego & bionicle sets WITH his brothers. silas had to leave for middle school, but tate & lincoln dove right in. tate likes to play with his 8-year-old brother and his 12-year-old brother equally, and he can keep up with either of them. in some ways, tate isn’t the one tagging along. he is the one taking care of the other two. a few nights ago, phil and i were both woken out of an unusually deep sleep by an unnatural & terrible noise. it was tate, yelling and screaming and shouting, loudly and wildly, coming down the stairs… “MOM! MOM! Lincoln’s THROWING up!!!” he was less scared by the incident than he was scared for lincoln. he seems to have a care-giving nature that is always looking out for and taking care of his brothers, even though he’s the youngest. only after we had taken care of lincoln, cleaned him up and settled him down again in the other room (and after our hearts had stopped thrashing in our chests), was tate able to lie back down and go back to sleep. in the midst of it all, phil and i looked at each other, our adrenaline pumping, that knowing look in our eyes — in awe at the wonder that is TATE — and we were able to laugh, at 4:30 in the morning.
being our youngest, tate is naturally the last in the family to go to kindergarten. we are thankful that tate has been able to have the same wonderfully amazing and special kindergarten teacher as both his big brothers, ms. wendy. she has been the beloved teacher for hundreds of students over the many years that she has taught at breckenridge elementary. she is loving and kind and patient and has the heart of a saint. on tate’s birthday, when we brought cupcakes in to share with the class, she took the time to show us the latest of tate’s school work. it was a test of sorts where the students individually tried to correct spelling and backward letters, etc. in a sentence she had written for them with many intentional mistakes. this was an exercise that they had recently been doing together as a class, but on that particular day, ms. wendy wanted to see how each of them was catching on individually. she was so excited by tate’s work that she had to show it to us — he had corrected every single mistake (almost every letter needed a correction of some kind!) and he re-wrote the sentence 100% correctly on the lines below. he was the only one in his class to do it perfectly! (the funny part was the reason why ms. wendy was so tickled by his success. it was because tate didn’t know his whole alphabet when he started kindergarten — ms. wendy told us — maybe only half-kidding — that she thought he was the neglected baby of the family!) i do NOT mean to imply that tate is the smartest in the class or anything like that! but, apparently, he has spent the year learning and growing and rapidly catching up to the rest of his class. : ) it was neat to see him doing so well in class. and, as far as his standing in the family goes, it seems he is stubbornly refusing to be overlooked or left in the dust by his two smarty-pants older brothers.
we found out last week that tate shares a birthday with dr. seuss! so, in the words of the wise man himself…
tate, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
we wouldn’t trade you for ANYone else. we are so proud of WHO you are and WHO you will become. may you always be true to who you are meant to be, tate. we cannot wait to watch & see just who that is. and we’re so grateful for a glimpse of that man by who we see before us today. we love you, birthday boy!
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!