Two thousand, one hundred and 90 days ago you came into this world. You did not come willingly or on time (you were 9 days late, and came via c-section after all the pitocin (a special medicine given to mommies to help get the baby to come out) in the world didn't make you budge, not even one little millimeter) but ever since you have been here you have nestled yourself into our hearts and our lives and we can't imagine life without you.
This past year was a year full of much change for you. We put the only home you ever knew up for sale. Throughout this process you were excellent at reminding your brothers, "We can't make a mess so someone will buy this house!" and you were helpful in running around and cleaning up whenever someone wanted to come look at the house at the last minute. After a few weeks, someone wanted to buy the house and we had to move out a lot quicker than we expected. On July 2nd (mine and Daddy's 10th wedding anniversary....what a way to celebrate! ;) we moved into NeeNee and PopPop's house for the next four months. We were so grateful to have their home opened up to us, and in many ways, it was the perfect "second home," but living there was harder on you than I expected. You were used to your beloved NeeNee and PopPop only seeing you at your absolute best, and even the best kids like you have rough moments. And it was hard for you to have those moments in front of two people you adore so much. But, you persevered and so did we right along side you.
Then, in August you started Kindergarten. You had to "commute" to Kindergarten while we lived with NeeNee and PopPop and I thought for sure you would come home every day grouchy and tired and miserable. But you didn't. Not even once. Watching you walk into school on your very first day, barely looking back to give me a quick wave, I swelled with pride. Here you were, in the midst of the biggest changes you'd experienced to date in your short little life and you were just rocking it. And you've been rocking school every day since. You are inquisitive, eager, and creative. You want to learn and you're doing a fantastic job.
Finally, on November 11th we moved into our beautiful new home, and watching you continue to blossom as we were once again in our own space has been a joy. You are back to your old self, and it makes my heart so happy to see you growing and developing into such a kind, independent, confident, loving, thoughtful, and inquisitive little man.
Being in our new house one of my favorite things has been watching the way your relationships with your brothers are growing. In our new house you have space to play independently and come up with fun games together. You wrestle and argue, and play, and jump, bounce and run. You ride bikes and chase each other around inside and out because there is plenty of room to do all those things. You certainly have your moments when your brothers drive you crazy, but most of the time I can tell the three of you really do love each other and there is nothing that brings me greater happiness than watching those relationships develop. Remember, they're the only brothers you've got. One day, they will be the people who knew you longer than anyone else. They will be your links to the past and the future and I hope you cherish those relationships forever. Zachary and Connor look up to you so much. They want to be like you. And Ryan, if you keep on the track you're on now, then they couldn't have a better role model.
Recently, in a continuing sign of how much older you are, Daddy and I agreed to let you get your first pet (besides Rocky the beta fish who bit the dust shortly after we moved out of our old house....RIP Rocky). So, this year, for your birthday, you got two pet rats, yes...rats. Rizzy and Ryder (we let Zach name one...even though we all know they're really both yours) joined our family a week and a half ago and so far, they're proving pretty fun. They're still getting used to us, but even Daddy and I think they're cute, and I love watching you care for them and enjoy them. They'll be a learning experience for sure.
When I write these posts I try to take time to talk about what it is you most like and enjoy. You played soccer on a team this year for the first time and while you didn't love it, you enjoyed it and were very proud of the trophy you got (which I explained was for being a good sport and working hard, because, the whole "everyone gets a trophy no matter what thing" is just ridiculous. ;) And a few weeks ago you started basketball, and I am your assistant coach. You seem to like basketball more than soccer and that couldn't make me happier. I secretly hope this is a love we will share.
But, if I had to list one thing, that you love more than anything else I would say you love people, specifically, your family. If you could, you would choose to spend your days surrounded by those you love the most: Daddy, me, Zachary, & Connor, your beloved cousins Caitlin and Julia, NeeNee & PopPop, and your Aunts and Uncles who adore you. You'd have Grandma and Grandpa visit every weekend and you'd share all your favorite things with all of these favorite people as often as possible: Star Wars, riding bikes/scooters (though we still need to work on getting those training wheels off), making pearler bead creations, learning about volcanoes and space, going on treasure hunts, eating pizza and chicken tenders.
Earlier this year, two days after we moved out of our old house we went on vacation with our entire family to Bethany Beach. This added to the chaos and unpredictability of life at the time, but you loved every minute of "having all the people [you] love all in one big house," as you so aptly put it. I love the way you love your family so much. It is truly heartwarming. When we returned from that vacation, you would cry every night at bedtime for a week or so because you "just missed everyone being together so much." Weeks later, when you came across a stuffed animal you won while on vacation the tears started again and you explained, "I just had so much fun being with everyone." It wasn't what we did on vacation that you loved so much. It was who we were with, and I just love that about you. I hope this love of family is something you carry with you forever.
And while you adore your family members, your circle of people you're becoming comfortable with and wanting to spend time with is growing. You don't think twice about spending a few hours outside with our new neighbors. You love getting to go to Mrs. Becky's house to play with Emily, Drew, and "Madz," and you love being in school with your teacher and classmates. You've had sleepovers at Auntie Catharine's and Uncle Mark's (where eating a whole bag of skittles was the highlight!) and NeeNee and PopPop's and the fact that you are comfortable being away from us is a sign of your maturity and growth.
Ryan James DeBoy Caminiti, when you were growing in my belly I had so many dreams of the person you would become. So far, you are more amazing than I ever dreamed you would be. I cannot wait to watch you grow over the many decades ahead of us. I believe in you completely. I know if you continue to persevere, to seek joy, to ask good questions, to notice when people are being unkind, and choose not to just sit back when you notice that, to love, be respectful, and follow your heart in all you do, then without a doubt, there are amazing things ahead. I am so privileged to have a front row seat.
Happy 6th birthday, sweet boy! As you told me the other night, "I love you to the farthest planet in the universe that they haven't even discovered yet, and back!"