Nein. Neun. It cannot be. The world is a topsy turvy place right now, including the fact that you, my sweet baby beautiful boy, are 9.
Of course, this is supposed to be a letter about you, but how can I write about one topic right now when everything is happening at once? COVID-19. Incredible racial inequality. Let's not forget about Climate Change. Trump. How cute were the days when I used to overanalyze the upcoming election? How many unfathomable tragedies can we keep in our minds at once as an adult, let alone at 9?
Once upon a time there lived 10 dinosaurs. You wrote a story the other day. (You are always writing stories, books, drawing pictures, comics, making newspapers, crossword puzzles.) They were brothers and sisters, and they had names. Marsha, George, Lin, Bruce, Jack, Toby, Zack, Lori, Larry and Dale. They were at a festival with cake and fruit punch, when somethingsomethingnotquitesure about a time portal and they were transported to present day. The humans began attacking the dinosaurs. It got violent, in fact very violent, you wrote. The brothers and sisters fighted back. They got hurt. One tank shot George and he fell down, making a low growl noise. His death was very sad. His brothers and sisters were very sad. They had tears dripping down their faces, but the humans were happy.
Sweet baby Jesus. Did you have to name him George? I wonder what you take in (apparently everything). Today, like most days now, I worked at home while you did your school work. Later, when I went to get the mail, I saw you had taped a piece of paper to our front door and on it you had written: Black Lives Matter. I almost cried as I grabbled the stupid phone book-sized Restoration Hardware catalogue from the mailbox and dropped it in the recycling bin. I have tried everything to get off their mailing list, but still, they keep coming. Everything happening at once.
Your favorite movie is Cool Runnings, an inexplicable impact as we are low on movies to watch as a family (and a movie that did not age well, rife as it is with racist tropes). You know all the words and sing along to Ziggy Marley alone in your room building Legos, the Rolling Stones, The Police. I can't help but think about what I don't have to worry about because of the color of your skin, the luxury you have should you ever shoplift a candy bar.
This is supposed to be a letter about you, and it is. You are living though this awful scary tragic time the way you have lived through the last 9 years...with that impish smile, a tilt of your head, a sigh as you drape one arm around my shoulder as if we are buddies riding the rails together. "I cannot believe you are 9," I said to you the other day. "I cannot believe you are 47," you said right back. All of it. Unbelievable.
But this, I know—with your creativity, your kind heart—you will make the world a better place. As you wrote at the end of your dinosaur story, TO BE CONTINUED...BOOK 2, COMING SOON.
I love you a thousand times forever,