Wednesday, December 01, 2021

to campbell, on your 10th birthday

This is the 10th in an annual series of letters written to my son, Campbell, who turned 10 in December 2021 - you can find the previous letters at the bottom... 

While I usually write it on his birthday, I didn't get the time to devote to it this year like normal, but I wanted to knock it out before the year officially ended.

Dear Campbell,

Your love for trains did not diminish, as 
evidenced by the 3000 Thomas and Lego Duplo
trains we have, and that stop all the world
if we are around tracks when a train goes by
First of all, kid, what right do you have being ten years old? How did that even happen? How on earth has it been ten solid years since you came to us via Mommy's tummy and God's divine hand? 

If you remember, you were actually supposed to be born two weeks later -- I think December 17th was your expected date -- but you decide to come a wee bit early... your mom had just gone to the hospital for a check up and the doctor said, "Hey Steph, you are having a baby tonight or tomorrow."  And there went the rest of our lives, huh.

Second of all, this year has been... well, I'd say insane but that's typical for our little family. Full of stress, joy, faith and much, much more. 

Usually I fill this note with recaps from the past year, starting with any pop culture things you picked up on... well, without going down that road too much, I can say this is the year you picked up on Top 40 radio.  Okay, so remember when Mom had the grey car, the Honda, and I had the red car? And you rode with me to all of your stuff in the red car?  Mom got a new white car, a Toyota SUV, so this is what you wanted to ride in all the time. Unfortunately, I had satellite radio in my red car, but Mom did not in the white car, nor did she have a CD player, so we listened to Magic 96.5, Mix 97.3, and (sadly enough) 103.7 The Q.

Taken at Ady's Racers in December...
you had a huge grin because it was
a pretty amazing day
And you became a huge fan of Maroon 5, The Wkend, Pink, Lewis   Capaldi, Adele, and especially Dua Lipa. As the songs caught on,   you just listened, learned, and sang -- and you know their other   songs too. When Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" comes on, you yell   "ROAR!" and when The Wkend's "Blinding Lights" played, you   holler "Save... Yo.. Tears for another day..."  You spent the first half of the year obsessed with "Blinding Lights", and the back half of this year all about up Dua Lipa. 

If "Break My Heart" is on, you want  "Levitating." If that one is on, you yell 'BREAK MY HEART!"  And   at bedtime for at least the back half of this year, you ask to hear both of those songs, and if there is time, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.  And you love "Easy on Me", but I'll be honest with you, I can only handle hearing that one the 38 times they play it per day. 

Of course, it can backfire a bit... we have to watch constantly what is on, as the song title and artist displays on the screen, and I'm not a fan of Doja Cat, whoever the heck that is, and I don't want you walking around saying "Oh My God" (the Adele song) or "[D-Word] It Feels Good to Be Me" (Ed Sheeran). It's bad enough you like to quote Justin Timberlake, saying "Rocka My Body". 

I'm so happy you love music so much. You are doing awesome with piano -- Ms Alaina loves having you.  You do gymnastics now, and you are doing so super good at the vault -- you love just running and hurling your body at a soft mat, which is terrifying to watch, but also fun to watch you come up smiling at a maneuver well done.  

We spend much of the summer at Alabama Splash Adventure - and you finally hit all the slides (except for the free fall slide, which is pretty much a plummet straight down -- you can't do that one right now because you sat up on it and thats bad news).  We spend 3-5 afternoons per week at Next Levl, to the point where they all know by name and give you high fives. We hit any combo of Whole Foods, Publix, Target, and Wal-Mart 3 or 4 times per week, and you love them all. Sprouts too, but the buggies are smaller and you have to walk with me -- and you can be a handful sometimes, champ. 

A lot happened this year in our world around us. It struck me and your mother both how perceptive you probably are right now at everything, and while we don't talk a lot of news around you, you undoubtedly have picked things up along the way. Joe Biden is our president. This note isn't to tell you what you should or shouldn't think based on what we believe -- but as you read this, whatever age you might be, I hope that you have learned from both of us that facts are important. Look at both sides. Then figure out what you believe, and then ask yourself why. 

A great moment in November when we met up with
my very good friend Lindsay in Hollywood Studios,
and it was so cool to have her meet my little family tribe.
FYI, Campbell, like when you met Heather a few 
days prior, you held Lindsay's hand, and was quite 
the flirt.

Sometimes though, faith is all you have... and I think we started to see some of that, especially in May, when I felt like you... well, you had a breakthrough.  RPM, your therapy, has had its ups and downs. Sometimes we walk out and I'm excited you've just done so well. Other times, its been a tad bit frustrating. And sometimes we leave, and I'm all like "Well, ok. Guess that was that."

And sometimes you bust through and say whats on your mind. Back in May, with Ms Lanae, she asked you the questions and you answered. You told her that you needed more Jesus in your life. You told her that your super power was C-A-R-I-N-G.  You said your mom was cool... and your dad too. You said you loved school. When asked if a boy or a girl would be better at something like engineering, you said "does it matter?" 

Along the way in those specific sessions, this also happened -- I'll just pull from the Facebook post I wrote on May 7, 2021... Steph and I have been saying for years that he has a lot to say, he just isn't sure how to say it. This week, I've watched him speak. I've heard what he's had to say. And I'm over the moon hearing his thoughts. Simple, some sorta philosophical, some random, some just black and white.

At RPM, his communication therapy, he spent time answering open ended questions, never being led to an answer, he said the following... and these are pretty much verbatim, not embellished for impact.
--"It is fine to hope I never grow up"
--"Old people think they know everything"
--When asked (as part of a conversation about stereotypes) if he thought girls or boys would be better at science and math, he responds, "I think it don't matter"
--"One hour is long for me"
--Regarding being emotional, "it's bad to cry too much" (he's a sensitive soul)
--"Screaming is not bad if you mean to agree to stop head from hitting on the wall"
--When asked what language he wanted to learn, he said "French". When asked why, he said "It is a Floody language". When asked what is 'floody' about French, he said "It floods your head with sounds."
--"I find it weird in life I sometimes smile..." (he didnt get a chance to finsh this statement, as someone interrupted, but I do wonder where he was going with this.)
Autism. Always presume competence. And underestimate Campbell Dollar at your own peril.

Campbell, we love you so much. We love that you still believe in Santa, even at 10--or at least you play it off. We love that you are using your imagination so, so much right now. We love that you sing constantly, that you are such a helper at school (to the point where the teachers have to tell you that they can handle the leadership part, and you can just sit). We love that you love on your friends Hillary and Jack and Lily and more.

We love that Kindness is a central theme with you. We know it means something.

And obviously I have no proof, but I feel it in my soul that you and God have a connection. Whether He talks to you, or you talk to Him, or (more likely, it happens both ways, your mom and I want you to never forget how much Jesus loves you, died for you, rose for you, and will never stop loving you.

When asked about places you'd like to go, you told Ms Lanae... "I want to go to Washington. And be president. And hit the world with kindness" (direct quote from C Dollar) We love you, son. Your Dad

Birthday letters to Campbell...

No comments:

Post a Comment

I want to hear your response! Click here!!