Tomorrow you will turn ten years old. As always at this time of year, I can't believe how fast the time has flown. You've grown so much and you ARE so much-- sweet, kind, smart, handsome, funny, mischievous, caring, and loving. And you are still my greatest joy, of course.
We are celebrating with a "birthday vacation" to stay in a hotel and play at an indoor water park. You love pools and hotels, so you are excited about it. You rarely ask for much; in fact, you are not materialistic at all, so I was surprised when you actually asked for a particular toy-- a talking Yoda-- and I was delighted when you played and interacted with it. You do many things now that I once worried wouldn't happen for you.
You had another big year. You have become quite the seasoned traveler. We drove to Chicago last summer and visited the Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, and Navy Pier. You dealt with all the new experiences like a champ. We went down in a coal mine, rode a flight simulator, watched a 3D movie (you wore the glasses!), saw Sue the T-Rex, rode a big Ferris wheel, and so much more. You enjoyed the trip, and I was so proud of you for communicating with me when you needed a break or felt overwhelmed.
We drove to Florida over Christmas break, and you were pretty great on the trip. In fact, you handled the drive better than the grown-ups! You loved the beach, ate gator tail and all my shrimp, saw wild manatee in the river, and we watched pelicans fish and the sun set over the gulf.
You live life pretty fully-- restaurants, movies, trips, laughing, and you love Star Wars. You adopted a pet cat named Beethoven, pull your own loose teeth, and change classes multiple times in a day at school. You've come such a long way and you find happiness everywhere. You ask for very little and enjoy the heck out of everything. I wish everyone was so wise. I'm proud of you and the amazing boy you've always been.
Happy double digits, Ben Bear. I love you more than all the water in the ocean, more than all the stars in the sky, and more than all the wind in Texas. I can't wait to see what your next year brings.
Love your biggest fan,