My dearest JJ,
On Friday the 14th we celebrated your fifth birthday… fifth! It is somewhat incomprehensible to me that my first baby boy is such a kid.
We celebrated both your birthday and Nate’s birthday with a pirate-themed pool party at AVAC. I’m not sure you’ve ever looked happier than swimming with your best friend, Helen. Then you gobbled up two slices of cake… and a slice every night for the following week. You still like being called Jakey Cakes. Cake is your favorite, despite being born on Pi Day.
On Friday morning you woke-up and told me all the things you still wanted for your birthday. You are always keeping lists. You said you wanted a puppy like Nate, and a watch. Fortunately I had gotten you Pepper, the American Girl puppy, plus dog bath accessories. Coincidentally, it was sharing day at school for the letter “P.” Pepper the puppy fit the bill perfectly.
And so, I thought I’d take a moment to try and capture 5-year-old Jacob at this moment in time. You are always changing, but some things remain the same.
You are insanely creative. I’m not sure I’ve ever been around someone as imaginative, original and determined to get what they want. On Sunday you wanted some kind of penguin zoo toy you saw. When I wouldn’t buy it for you, you spent two hours building yourself an entire zoo… it was a masterpiece. Tonight you asked Daddy to add words to a book you wrote. You directed him to write the names of “the author and the illustrator.”
All weekend you wanted to build a trap to “catch a leprechaun.” You negotiated with your dad to take all sorts of things to school in order to build it. I overheard you say something about needing a crane. He said if you could carry it by yourself, you could take it, but that you guys were not taking the pick-up truck… though you negotiated hard. You were the only kid at school building a trap. It involved a potato for bait, a box, plus countless unknown booby traps, and glue for the leprechaun to step in. Your teacher sent me a text that read:
Hey FYI, your son has been amazing and super smart and creative with the leprechaun trap. But he is really pissed he didn’t catch one. So he put his trap away in his cubby…
You came home with a green note from a shifty little gnome that read:
Oh you are a smart one! Trying to catch me all day! But I’m small, fast and sneaky and I got away. I admire your effort and planning in all that you do. Until next year, I will leave this treasure for you. Great job! Maybe next time!
With sincere admiration,
You felt a little bit better.
You love swimming and riding bikes and running as fast as you can. You delight in the wonder that is your body running at top speed. When I think you will be exhausted from a long, active day, you still run circles around the living room, or jump like a kangaroo for two more hours.
Speaking of active, you have always been “busy.” Busy building things, busy cooking things, busy drawing things. You are a boy of many projects. As someone with six extracurricular projects of my own currently in progress, I’m afraid I may be to blame.
You get an idea in your head and you are determined to make it happen. You’ll decide that we should go into the backyard and build a treehouse. Now. Your projects never lack for ambition.
When you grow-up you want to be a cook and a race car driver and a farmer. I think you got the Purnell-family animal lover gene. You fantasize about the day when you can have a house and a farm and whatever animals you want. We talk a lot about my allergies and how much you want a cat. We’re still working through the details.
You are a loving big brother. Nate is your best friend, strongest ally, and most loyal audience. You ask me why Nate was born saying naughty words. You claim zero responsibility.
I love you, Jacob James. I love every single thing about you. Happy birthday big boy.