To Espen, now that you are five.

Dear Espen,

You are five! Can you believe it? Well, you probably can believe it and are instead concerned with why it's not your sixth birthday yet, but for me, your mama, it's hard to fully comprehend how you've managed to go from an armful of small and squishy baby to a tall, skinny streak of a boy. Time has this trick of moving fast when you're not watching it closely until you suddenly turn around and notice all it has changed. It's such a cliche, but kids really do grow up so fast, and you are no exception.

Pretty hip. 

A lot has happened to you in the past year. One of the biggest changes was that we discovered that you needed glasses. I fretted and worried and cried in secret over how this would affect you. Would wearing glasses hold you back or make you feel self-conscious? Would people be mean? Would they no longer be able to see your beautiful self behind the frames? Of course I shouldn't have worried. You were so happy and excited about your glasses that everyone around you felt that excitement and joined in. And the glassed you chose are so hip that you've made them into a serious fashion statement that strangers compliment you on regularly - along with the straw fedora that so often graces your head.

Joy School Graduation. 

You also completed your first year of school at Miss Stepper's Joy School, one of the happiest little places the world has ever known. You were so lucky to spend a year learning and growing with some of your first and best friends. And now you've almost finished a year of preschool as well! You've been sounding words for a while, and are well on your way to becoming a good reader. Especially when you're willing to put in the hard work to get results! I hope you know that you are the kind of kid who can accomplish anything he wants, as long as you do the work to get there. 

Another big thing for you this year has been playing soccer. Between one practice and two games a week, it kept the whole family pretty busy in the fall and now we're well underway with the spring season. I'm not completely convinced that soccer is your sport (you spend as much time tangled up in the goal net or chatting with the other team as you do playing), but you love being part of a team, playing with your friends and having a chance to show off your beloved shin guards!

Espen and Gwen.

Your friends are as important to you as ever. You love play dates, and have really enjoyed having a little freedom to roam the neighborhood (technically our cul de sac and the one across the street) with your little band of neighborhood brothers. You constantly talk about your friends (who are all your best friend) and are forever plotting who you want to play with next. But what your dad and I have really loved seeing this year is how good friend you have become with your little sister.

The two of you are the best of friends and love each other so much. Every morning when I confiscate the iPads, you head off and have a wild game of who knows what together. You make the most horrendous messes of your bedrooms, but I try to close my eyes to (most!) of that when I see the fun that you're having and the bond you're building together. I hope you'll stay close like this for ever. Friends will pass in and out of your life, but a sibling will be at your side through it all.

Did you know that one of my very favorite parts of the day is when I get to read your bedtime story? You're tucked up in your bed, the stars from your nightlight cover the ceiling and together we discover new worlds and places through the books we read. It feels like the whole outside world tiptoes off long enough for us to read our two chapters followed by a little chat at the edge of your bed. Sometimes your mind is filled with the wonders of the story we have been reading, and you'll tell me how the exact same thing that just happened in the book, happened to you too once. And other times you'll reach up and stroke my cheek and tell me that we will always, always be friends, and my heart just bursts with love and happiness and pride over the little wonder that you are.

Espen, you really, really are my friend. From catching my eye to share a smile when Gwen does something funny to (almost!) always being willing to be my runner when I need something, you are my buddy and my sidekick. Of course we don't always see eye to eye, and the older you get, the more you seem to want to assert yourself and do things your own way. But in the big things that really matter, we're hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. You trust me and I trust you and together we have got this crazy thing called life.

I love you, Espen David Superhero Sweetheart North.

Lots of love,



  1. I remember those bedtime stories, and chats and stars on the ceiling. Enjoy them, and it is such a lovely thing you do to write these letters on your children's birthdays. They will treasure them.


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