To Leafy on his sixth birthday,

Dear Leafy,

 A few days ago, you turned six. It's the oldest question in the world, but WHA? When did I blink and suddenly you're a man? Please. Slow down a bit for your poor mother. If my grandmother were here she'd say she was going to put a brick on your head.

But. There are many benefits to you getting older! One is that I am always safe. Because you're super strong. A few weeks ago you were telling me about how strong you are, and you offered me a bit of proof, your eyes wide and earnest. (You are very earnest.)

"Once, I defeated a whole BASE of Tickle Worms." Tickle worms are part of a game that you play with your Daddy. They are coming for you! (They look a lot like Daddy's fingers.) You must beat them back. You are very good at the game, apparently.

So, when I am in the garden, weeding or cutting grass, and you ask me if I would like you to guard me, my answer is OF COURSE. You stand nearby, sword in hand, ready to beat off my various enemies who may approach from the coconut grove. You do this for an hour at a time, taking practice swings to warn anyone who may be watching.

You told me that when you grow up you are going to become a Cyborg. I'm sure I'll be even more protected then, but I hope that when make your change to cyborg, you keep the human parts that are snuggly, at least.

Another amazing part of you getting older is that we get to know more and more of the workings of the Leafy mind. There are two kinds of people in our circles of friends. Those who say, "Leafy doesn't really talk, does he. He's really quiet" Then I take my eyes out of my head and lay them on the table and stare at them like that for a while until they are sufficiently creeped out and chastened. Because the other kind of people are those who respond, "Leafy? He never. stops. talking."

You have a spigot on your stream of words and you can turn it on or off. When people get closer they see it on, and they start to see the depths of the Leafy well of words. It goes on and on. It has no bottom. You like to pace and live out your entire battle strategy for Anakin and Obi Wan OUT LOUD. And sometimes, when the rest of us are exhausted by the flow, I have to let you know that you seem to be having inside thoughts on the outside, rather than actually conversing with anybody, and to please bring it back inside.

But you also love to make these grand pronouncements with your peculiar and genius logic. As I was writing this post, you looked up and said,

"Blood is like an ARMY. There are lots of little blood molecules like a HUMONGOUS blood army."

And then you said, "If our feet were made of skin, and we were so small that our feet were only made of one skin molecule, and then you cut them in half, (motion of cutting your foot in half) they wouldn't be made of skin anymore."

Tis true, son, tis true.

Also, the way to your heart is through your stomach. If I make something you love, you throw your arms around me and tell me you LOVE me. If I make something you dislike, you sometimes say something to the effect of, "You don't want us to have anything we like to eat EVER?"

You are a tad dramatic. And always very interesting.

You were all playing a game the other day, and I heard you say, "I'm the guy who saves the princess."  This is you. Saving the princess. You are very concerned with justice, for yourself and for other people. You frequently tell me that when you grow up you will make a lot of money and give it all to poor people. You get very upset when you feel that YOU are being unfairly treated.

Dear one, but I believe there is something very special about you. People feel it. They're drawn to you. I feel it too, and it makes me protective of you. Then I remember the base of tickle worms and I have to back off, because clearly, you are getting older, and now you can defend yourself.

I love you with a wild, ridiculous love, son. Happy birthday.

Love, Mama