Dear Conner,

Yesterday was your birthday. You came down the stairs to a busy house and when we turned to exclaim ‘Happy Birthday!’ you were stumbling around like a hot mess and desperate for a drink of water. Daddy got it for you, and before I could express the thought that maybe you were sick (a classmate of yours had been throwing up the night before) you threw up all over the landing. Which was very reminiscent of our old dog, by the way. (There has been a lot of puke on that landing.) So…yeah…happy birthday!!


You missed the 100th day of school and we canceled your birthday party, and you took it all like a champ. I’m not used to that. I thought you’d be so upset, but you weren’t. You are so laid back about disappointments. You don’t dwell in the past or worry about the future, you stay firmly in the moment you are in. That’s a beautiful thing, Conner, I hope you retain that quality. You were happy, for the moment, to feel a bit better and to cuddle up with me while I swept the hair off your forehead.

You can be so sweet and sensitive, Conner. You love beautiful things, and handle them very carefully. You call them breakiful (beautiful + breakable). I’ve heard rumors that your Daddy was like that as a kid, although you wouldn’t know that now. Your sister loves you to death (I’m pretty sure), but she is hard on you. Very. One day you asked for hearing aids, and I thought it was because you sometimes have trouble hearing, but instead it was to turn the sound off when your sister was being mean to you. I used to worry that she was changing who you were, your whole little being. And I’m sure she is, because we’re all shaped by who we are around, but now I think she’s given you some toughness. The kind that is so much easier to acquire sooner in life rather than later. You used to just take it, but now you give back a lot, frustrating and annoying her to a degree that no one else in the world will ever be able to manage. That’s what siblings are for, I suppose, and while I worry about you two a lot, but I also have a feeling you will grow up to be extremely close. Your sister will need you someday, and you will need her.


You are inquisitive, always wondering how things work. Like car engines and heating pipes. I refer you to your Dad a little too often, to the point where you’re pretty sure I don’t know how anything works. You also had a lot of questions this year about how things got here. ‘Mom, where did the first seed ever planted come from?” And a lot of questions about death. “Mom, you’ll always be my sunshine. Even when you get old and you die you’ll be my sunshine, right? — Mom, your dad died. Are you sad? — Mom, is Dad going to die first? — Mom, I couldn’t hear you and I thought you were dead. I was so scared I was going to eat some candy. — Mom, when you die (and I don’t want you to die) and when Dad dies (I don’t want Daddy to die), can I get this house?”


You are the kid who smirks when he is in trouble. Even when in BIG trouble. I read about that characteristic before you displayed it and I’m glad I did, because nothing is more infuriating than a child that smirks at you in the middle of a lecture. I can tell you can’t help it, and what I read was that those kind of kids (the smirky ones) just don’t like a heavy atmosphere, they can’t help but try to lighten the mood. Who knows, maybe that’s all b.s., but it’s saved you a time or two (or 200). You are stubborn, and hate being told what to do. HATE. IT. Telling you to hang up your bookbag or close the door takes you from average kid to writhing on the floor in a whining/yelling combo that is oh-so-pleasant to behold. The more stern I get, the worse you react. It took me awhile to realize that taking you aside, and giving you a hug and some sweet words fixes most of that.


You like us to sing to you, your favorite from me is ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ When I’m upset with you, you ask if you are still my sunshine, and when you are mad at me you tell me I am not your sunshine. Although that weighs guiltily on your mind and you are quick to reverse it. You tell me that you love me ‘the most’ and sometimes ‘the most in this house.’ (Do you have some girlfriend out there already?) You ask me what would happen if I didn’t have a boy, and I say how I would be so sad if I didn’t have one, and you smile down to the tips of your toes. You get the least amount of attention, oh middle (and laid-back) child of mine, and I think you ask this when you need some reassurance. You like Daddy to sing Simon and Garfunkle to you (slow down, you move too fast…) and for him to tell you stories where you are the main character, the hero.


You are our little hero, Conner, thank you for six years of you.


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  • Reply Melanie February 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    This, my dear, sweet daughter made me smile, nod my head, shake my head, and cry real tears.

  • Reply Sara Soares February 13, 2015 at 5:33 pm


  • Reply lucinda February 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    what a sweet, sweet tribute birthday letter to your son. this will be so precious to him someday, when he’s old enough to want to read it. you have such a talent for noticing the qualities that are unique to him and writing about them so fluidly.

    • Reply Monica February 14, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      thank you, lucinda. i write easier than i speak, so i hope he does look back on these as an adult. i know i will.

  • Reply kristin February 14, 2015 at 2:47 am

    aw what a beautiful birthday note! my son is a smirker too, and such a goofball. it’s infuriating when i want him to really grasp how he did a thing he shouldn’t do and it seems like he just doesn’t get it! but maybe he does…anyway. your conner sounds like a great kid. 6 is a pretty amazing age, they get so thoughtful!

    • Reply Monica February 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      thanks, kristin :) he’s starting to put the world all together, i love it when he gets excited about a concept and shares it with us like we had no clue!

  • Reply Erin February 14, 2015 at 7:09 am

    this is so so sweet, Monica. you perfectly described my own son here- he also doesn’t like a heavy atmosphere, and always cracks a smile when he’s gotten in trouble (which makes me crazy sometimes). his older sister is also very hard on him and I have worried that she’ll do some damage too, ha… though they can sometimes love hard too. so tough being the middle part of the sandwich! happy birthday to your sweet boy- he is just too adorable!

  • Reply Monica February 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    thank you, erin. the sibling relationships are so hard, aren’t they? hands down, that is the hardest part of everything right now. it is amazing to me how much our lives parallel one another!

  • Reply Becky Swift February 14, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    That is beautiful. Heartwarming to read.

  • Reply Aimee Lewis March 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    This was the sweetest thing I’ve read in a while! Maybe more so because I find Connor to be the most adorable little boy! My Levi loves him so much and I really like the times I get to talk to him. He makes me laugh! Your family is beautiful! You are very blessed!

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