Friday, January 1, 2016


A laptop and the fifth Harry Potter book. Who is this grown up?

Today, Max Benjamin, you are turning eight.

There will be less fanfare today than in prior years. No major counting down of days happened - you can make your own calendars now. You got your present from us in advance, a new desk that you picked out and helped assemble. You chose not to have a party this year, but an experience instead, and somehow, I kept it a secret for as long as possible.

Seven had its ups and downs, but you took the downs with typical Max spirit. You were hospitalized for pneumonia last February, but you had THE BEST time while you were there. We took you to the White House and the Lincoln Memorial (Abraham Lincoln is your personal hero). You were a French class pirate, and finally passed the four foot swimming test. You missed the builders when the renovation was over. You took piano, beat box and basketball lessons, and spent play rehearsals correcting everyone in "Joseph."

You loved the Disney movie "Descendants" and dressed like one of its characters for Halloween. You proved that Netflix binge-watching isn't just for adults. You love Legos and art projects, and do really well in school and religious school (your teacher calls you "Rabbi" and it's the perfect nickname). You started reading the Harry Potter series this fall and you're already on the fifth book. And while I know I say it every year, somehow, your sister is still your very best friend. The fact that that is true feels like one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, yet I know it's really all about the two of you and the respect you have for each other.

Eight is going to be big. No more car seats for our family. You'll be tall enough for the big rides and water slides when we go to Disney this February. You're going to overnight camp with Hannah, and while you're signed up for two weeks, you think you might stay for four. I'm not sure how I'll get by without your hugs for all that time, but you've promised to use your best handwriting on at least one letter home. I can't wait to read that letter, and to keep watching you grow. I love you. Happy birthday, buddy.

(You can also see letters for ages three, four, five, six and seven.)

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