Dear Merritt,

Or should I address this missive to the superhero moniker you requested to be called, but then changed your mind when I put my own spin on it?

Dear Captain AMerrittca,

Congrats on making captain by the age of four and a half!

One early morning recently while we were all in the Mommas' bed, Mommy was still trying to sleep and you and I were whispering. "I'm an expert at talking," you said. And you were not incorrect.

We love "Merritt parlance." The way you ask for "granilla" bars. Or when you exclaim, "What in the 'blazers'?" How you've been listening to the Spanish version of "Let It Go" (Libre Soy) and doing your own mash-up, roaming the world singing, "Let it soooooooyy! Let it sooooyyeeee!"

You tickle us all the time by beginning sentences with "In the first place," or "Not to mention."

When you were penning thank you notes for all your Christmas presents, you wrote something and then told me, "I'm going to draw 'underlow' it."

After seeing "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" (Mr. Bee Potty to you), you came home and were excited to tell Mommy all about the part where they were in "Ajent Eep-shit." We should teach you to walk like an eep-shit-tian.

When you discovered that you could roll your stomach and do what we have always known as "the truffle shuffle," you renamed it "The Nipple Dance" even though your nipples take no part in the dance. They do, however, watch the show when you pull up your shirt and delight us with the wonders of your abdominal control.

This month you have mastered sarcasm in so much as you will say something sarcastic and then to make sure we understand that it is sarcasm, you immediately follow it with "That's sarcasm." You do this every time you make a sarcastic remark. I'm not being sarcastic.

A couple of weeks ago you scurried past me with a jump rope and a wooden hanger, and I asked you what you were building. "A cliffhanger," you told me. And indeed it was one.

Mommy had no idea what she was starting the night she "found something" behind your ear, because for months now you regularly beg us and teachers and strangers to "Find something behind my ear!" It began innocently enough; she was just nuzzling you and then suddenly pulled a tube of Blistex from back there. And then a clothes pin. And then whatever else I could find sitting on my bedside table and covertly slide to her. You were aghast and exhilarated. Then you sat up and got very serious. "ARE WE MAGICIANS??"

We considered that the moment you became a card-carrying member of The Alliance of Magicians. And knew we were right in that assessment when, later, you performed a failed illusion but uttered, "A magician never quits," and trudged on.

You've also been good for quotes such as, "Keep your eyes peeled open just like an orange," and "Momma. On the toy commercials, what does it mean when they say each sold 'xcept Shirley?" And after telling me you liked a new dish towel covered in tractors, and me telling you that you can take it with you when you move out: "I'm never moving out."

We've been playing the "high/low" game at the end of every day where all three of us think back through our day and talk about it. We usually reserve this game for bedtime, though you sometimes decide we should do it over dinner, and then we play round two (to cover the span of time between the last meal of the day and sleeping) just as we're tucking you in.

What we love about this game (aside from glimpsing the world through your eyes) is when something good happens at any point of the day and you are at once ready to play because you can't wait to tell us that moment is your high. We love that you find new highs constantly, whether it's having us wake you up at 2:00 a.m. to watch the first pitch of the baseball season (or taking you to your first MLB game!), or when you wander in wearing my glasses and ask, "Can I have these at college?" and I say you may. Highs. for. days.

Merritt. You are heady and intrepid and everything comes alive in your company. You are a real-life magician with the ability to turn the illusion of "everything is going to be okay" into a reality; your existence just makes it so. You lean hard into love. And we lean hard into you. You are our highest high.

It's okay if you never move out. But even if (when) you do, the tractor towel is yours. The glasses are yours. We are yours. And we will be forever.

We love you,
Momma & Mommy

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