Two Handfuls

“Charlie! You are ten! Now you are TWO handfuls!”

“Mom,” he says with a smirk, “I have ALWAYS been two handfuls.”

My dearest Charlie Bird,

You have, indeed, always been two handfuls.

Over the past year you have started a new school in a new program and made lots of new friends. Other kids might be shy or afraid, but you jumped right in. The adults on your new team at school say that you are so personable–you warm right up to people–and everyone likes you so much. You are quite the charming fella, despite your challenges.

You care deeply about things that matter to you including fairness (which you sometimes confuse with things being equal), justice, and animals. While you get along great with others, you definitely get upset if you perceive that something is unfair or unjust and it can be difficult for you to hear what others have to say in those situations. But you are working on that. You are working so hard.

You have the biggest imagination of anyone I know. You can see sticks on the ground and suddenly you have a vision of some spectacular weapon design or fort or game–something no one else would see. You dream up games and make believe to play with your sister and your friends. You have a need to always be busy and/or entertained. Sitting and waiting with nothing to occupy you is your idea of a personal hell.

You love the outdoors! You went away to camp for the first time this past summer. It was so hard for me to put my little guy in a van and wave as you went all the way to New York for a week, but you did so well! You were a stinky, tired, happy mess when you came back to us. Since no one else in our family is super outdoorsy, your go-to person is Grandpa. You have helped him up north at his cabin, you’ve helped chop so many logs, you have made fires (and of course, fire food), and gone fishing–both in the summer and in the winter! Last year you and Grandpa made bird boxes that you put on the edge of our property.

You are a gamer. You love traditional “board” type games and you are deeply invested in Minecraft. Anything that works that smart brain of yours–gives you something to puzzle on. Almost every morning at school you start with a game with one of your teachers and often you choose to end the day that way as well. Some of your favorites are Rummikub, Ticket to Ride Jr., Guess Who, and Sorry!

You are a great big brother to Alice–if not sometimes a little too protective and bossy. But you care deeply about her safety. You are good at being a little brother to Eddie as well. You like to play Minecraft with him, but you also bother him greatly, which is sort of the job of a little bro! Sometimes it goes too far though since you two are so very different. You love each other, but there are many times you don’t like each other much. It’s hard for you to remember that Eddie is older and that comes with different privileges and possibilities than you have at age 10. This is where you tend to confuse “fair” and “equal”. And of course, Eddie is at the age where rather than being helpful and gentle with these things, he often huffs and puffs and rolls his eyes at you–making things worse rather than better. But in the end, you are brothers. And no one makes you laugh quite like Eddie can.

You love things to make sense. This is probably why math and science are your favorite subjects in school. You also love PE, music, and art. This year you became a reader! You have always said you hate reading–that being read to is great, but reading to yourself is so boring. And then you found the right books and had a super supportive teacher (all your teachers have been supportive, but your current teacher “gets” you, as you have told us). You found the I Survived series and a few others and you just like to read!

You are growing into such a kind, loving boy. You face enormous challenges with feeling and managing your big emotions, but you work so hard to overcome those challenges. Dad and I feel so much pride when we read your school work or watch you work hard at learning something new.

Best of all, this year you finally got the dog you have been wishing for! Well, we got a dog, but you love Ruby so much that you are totally willing to lay down by her and let her bite your hair and lick your ears all while you just giggle. She is your little buddy and you are her cuddly boy! And true to your word, you will cuddle up to her when you are feeling big feelings and she will love you without needing you to say a word.

Oh my dear boy, you are so very loved. This year of being 10 holds many more adventures and new things for you! Little League season is starting, you have another week of camp this summer, and soccer in the fall–and those are just the fun things we already know about! Who knows what else is in store!

Dad and I love you so much, Charlie Bird.


Mom Mom

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.