My dear Russell,
You are 5 today. Wow, I never thought we make it this far. I mean, the first year was rough and I was pretty much shell shocked from motherhood. Your second year was no better though I have to say we were conditioned by then, and we knew you were a high-strung baby.
As the months wore on, we learnt your language. Numbers and music. You memorized Sam Smith songs and read off numbers from the lamp posts while we drove past them. You could recite multiplication tables at 3 years old, but you also had a taste of failure and hating trying new things for fear of making mistakes. As much as it was tempting to praise your intelligence, your father and I switched tracks and applauded your efforts instead.
You are such a ball of energy and you never fail to surprise me. You are a learner like your father. From numbers to planets and dinosaurs, you love discovering knowledge and books are your respite. You soak up everything like a sponge and I can tell your father loves enriching your childhood with knowledge.
Your younger brother literally worships the ground you step on. From birth, he's been infatuated with you and now that he can be your playmate, he's become your companion in crime. The two of you couldn’t be more different in personality yet you find joy in each other. I don't think I'll ever get tired of your brotherly antics and laughter.
But it's your kindness that gets me. Whenever we pass by a florist, you will tell me you want to get me flowers for my birthday. When we travelled to Fukuoka, you helped us lift the baggages off the belt, much to my amusement and horror. Your younger brother adores you and you do a great job of sharing your love of knowledge with him. When your father travels for work, you immediately assume "Man of the house" mindset and a sense of responsibility wise beyond the time you have been in this world.
You are strong-willed as ever. There are days where we will butt heads and egos, and I seriously question what I did wrong. Then I realised, we are both on a journey. You have only been in existence for this long, while I’m just as new to this parenting game as well.
I know your strong personality might rub people the wrong way, and you come across as uncompromising and disrespectful. As much as I wish people around us were more understanding, it's not something we should expect. You are a sweet little being, very misunderstood by those close to us. I hope I have the judgement to recognize potential contention and guide you to a place where you don't feel like you have to stick out those porcupine spikes.
Stay you, my little man. I love you very much.