The Big One-Oh / by Susie Lubell

Hey kiddo,

Ten. Years.

Today you are ten years old. Today I am ten years older than I was when you were born. 

We have been doing this thing, me and you, for a DECADE. Non stop. It's the longest job I've ever held. And the worst paid. Still, it has its benefits. Like sometimes you still let me hug you. Thanks. And you always sign out of your Google account and close your tabs on my computer. Thoughtful. The truth is you are still very much my little boy just as you are also really growing into your own person. Still as captivated by cell phones as you were when you were a toddler, but coming to terms with the fact that you may end up the last person in your class to actually own one. That's the breaks. Your parents are cheap and old fashioned. And we think kids should communicate by speaking. Or writing. With a quill. You'll thank us later. Or not. We don't care.

Your curiosity about the world continues to amaze and delight. And by the world I mean the World Wide Web. To such an extent that after months of talking about creating your own website and being a site administrator and owning your own server, you decided to make it happen by hacking into your school's website, making yourself the administrator, hacking into the school district's mainframe, creating a new preschool and appointing yourself administrator of that website too. Success! Then we got a call from your teacher who in fact loves you but was concerned that you were turning into the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. She kept calling you a donkey on the phone which I found to be very insulting until I realized she was saying the word for serious, not donkey. Hebrew. And it was indeed serious. We even had to meet with the principal. But Aba and I knew that your intent was not malicious. You just wanted to be in charge of the Matrix. I get it. For months you had been pestering us about creating an "eshkol", which to me sounded a lot like a grapefruit, which in fact means a cluster of interrelated websites and that's exactly what you did. So we were secretly proud of your gumption. And since you were so mortified once you understood the gravity, or as I like to say, the donkeyness, of your actions and nearly gave yourself an ulcer and took away your own screen time for a month, that seemed like enough punishment.

But this year your obsession with computers has also yielded a new and highly entertaining hobby. Card tricks. Since the beginning of the summer you have learned dozens of card tricks, like upwards of a hundred (!) and now thanks to the 24 inch Magic Mat (think giant black mouse pad) brought by Grandma on her recent visit from America, you slide and flip cards like a pro. And most of the tricks are downright fantastic. No one can figure them out. I know you're just following the videos you see on You Tube but Aba and I like to think its helping you to build stellar math skills not to mention outstanding fine motor skills. We're also hoping you start doing shows for little kids' birthday parties so you can start earning your keep. From there it's The Ellen Show and then Vegas. The future is bright.

There may also be a glimmer of hope for your relationship with your sister. The bickering continues but I have witnessed several instances that might resemble something related to or associated with camaraderie. You should consider that even though she's younger than you and probably will always be smaller than you, if she keeps up with her judo, she will one day throw you down. And then you'll have no one to saw in half for your Vegas act. And your brother, whose main interests include sitting on your head and playing 52 pick up, is indeed your biggest fan even though you spend much of your time trying to get him off you. It's true that little sisters and brothers can be pests, but it's mainly because they idolize you. And occasionally because you're being a punk.

My birthday wish is for you to take pride in and enjoy whatever you do this year whether its playing piano, riding your bike, participating in Scouts, learning card tricks, writing for the school newspaper, putting your clothes in the hamper. All of it! Be kind to yourself and the people you love. And know that no matter what, no matter how many government websites you take down, you are loved and adored by your family and friends. And by all the kids in the preschool that you invented.

Mieces to pieces,

Mommy