It baffles me to say this–my mind literally cannot grasp how this happened–but today, dear Cooper, you turn six.
It was, like, last year that you were this size, right?
But, nope. Somehow you’ve gone from this:
LOOK AT YOUR GRAY WHISKERS, COOPER! Stop that right this instant!
You’ve been through a lot in these six years… you’ve moved three times, gotten a cat, gotten a foster puppy and a foster kitten, said goodbye to the fosters, said goodbye to your best friend in the entire world, given us a serious run for our money figuring out your allergies, terrifying us with your tremors, and you outsmarted us around every turn.
You and I, Coop, we have a bond. I’m sure it came from when I was sick and you dubbed yourself my protector. And it’s stuck. You follow me around and stare and stare and stare at me. You cuddle me and bark when you can’t find me. It’s endearing, but it’s also a symptom of your biggest personality trait: your intensity.
Cooper, you are intense. You are a serious fellow who is completely in tune with the people around you. For better or worse, you read people with perfect clarity, and you react to whatever energy you sense. It makes you a little tightly wound, my dear, to be watching everyone around you that closely all the time. I never wrote about the day we lost Lucas–maybe the day will come when I’m able to, but it hasn’t come yet–but you were unbelievable that day. You knew. You behaved stoically until the very end, when you curled up with your biggest brother.
You just know.
You always have. You are utterly sensitive, which makes you incredibly anxious since you tend to assume the worst about what you don’t understand. (The polar opposite of Emmett who understands very little and assumes the best about everything!)
But, thankfully (in some regards, anyway) you’re brilliant and learn quickly. The house is getting painted this week, and the house painter, Salvador, has heard you barking at him through the window for days now. Well, until yesterday when I decided to play the “Look at Salvador, get a sweet potato chip” game. Within minutes you were just staring at Salvador out the window until I said “yes!” then you’d collect your chip and swivel your head right back to the window.
Whatever we can figure out to teach you, you learn. You also learn lots of things we don’t teach you and lots of things we didn’t really intend for you to learn, but your brilliance is just part of the overall package.
At six you are still so much of a young man, even though you’re starting to show a smidge of maturity here and there.
You still destroy every toy you can get your teeth around.
You love to chase the tennis ball in the backyard.
You’re warming up to swimming, particularly when there’s a squeaky ball involved.
You’ve learned to stick your face under the covers just so and crawl all the way under for a late-night snuggle.
You’re a running machine… you would go and go and go until you dropped, if we let you. But I still kinda hate running, so we’d never go that long anyway, but having you as my running partner has kept me motivated to stick with it even though, as I said, I pretty much still hate it.
You and Emmett have become practically inseparable, and Newt rounds out your little triumvirate. The three of you are always near one another, if not touching.
You are, in fact, the one Newt likes best out of all of us. You two wrestle and chase and play. She doesn’t bite you when you lick her face, which you do every single time you see her. She’s not quite as kind to the rest of us…
In the end, Cooper, we weren’t supposed to adopt you. You were our foster. We failed, but of course we won. You are an infuriating, frustrating, destructive, devious, live wire, and you are perfect.
We love you, little bean. Happy sixth birthday!