As I walked Finn in to Vacation Bible School today he didn't enthusiastically head off to his assigned classroom the way he does for school and summer camp. Instead he looked around this mostly unfamiliar place full of lots of unfamiliar faces and got a little overwhelmed. I pointed out that there was one face we recognized, that of his buddy Sam, but his eyes filled up with tears and he said, "I just can't do it." We went back in the hallway for a bit and after what I hoped was an adequate amount of comfort and reassurance, we headed back in to the room, this time, while still a little reluctant, he was willing to take the hand of a kind stranger and be brave as he started his first day as a five year old.
Part of me wanted to just scoop him up and tell him that it's his birthday, he doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to do and we could just sit on the couch and snuggle all day, but I also know that by the time I came back for his picnic lunch, he would be more comfortable and at ease with his new friends.
It was such a little, but big, thing - that moment at drop off. A perfect snapshot of who Finn is. My sensitive little guy who is both cautious and uncertain, but also brave and adaptable. Mary hugged him when we came back to get him and he stopped for a moment, excited to see us, but also ran off to the playground to be with his buddies. Four kids who are all probably younger than him, but all much bigger hopped on the spinning merry-go-round and it was little Finn who grabbed the handle and just started running in circles spinning his friends as fast as he possibly could.
He was excited to wear his Ninja Turtles watch today, which was literally the only thing he wanted for his birthday, well that and apple pie. He has declared himself a pie man like his father - having a limited sweet tooth that Mary and I just don't understand. We celebrated his birthday this weekend at the beach and he spent a good remainder of the weekend building and rebuilding legos, his favorite pastime of late.
Him turning five may be the catalyst for all the emotions I knew would be lurking around the corner as we go through what is always a bittersweet month for our family. Finn is a constant remind of how much happiness can be found in life despite unmeasurable amounts of sorrow. It was never his job to "fix" us after losing Cale, but in his five years he has been such a balm, such a joy, and such an absolute treat for our whole family. When I put him to bed last night and he told me, "I love you more than a lot" I couldn't help but feel truly honored to be on the receiving end of his love.
Happy Birthday, my favorite Finn. I love you more than a lot, too.