Tommy Arizona

A letter to my ten-year-old traveler

Tommy turns 10 years old today, and it feels as much a milestone for me as it does for him – ten years as a traveling mom! I’ve been sharing posts all week that tell tales of our adventures over the past decade; today I share a letter to my companion in adventure. Happy Birthday Tommy. 

Dear Tommy,

I can’t believe you are ten years old today! Looking back over the time since you were born I feel so grateful for all of the things we’ve gotten to do together from throwing rocks into the Mad River to skiing in the Rockies to ascending the Eiffel Tower to watching your beloved Phillies play. I’m really lucky that I’ve gotten to do so many things with you – many parents don’t have the kinds of opportunities that I’ve had to explore the world with their children.

But I’m also lucky because you are an ideal travel companion and have been since you were a baby. When I go places, I want to take you with me. Why do I feel this way?

Skiing at Keystone

You are fearless. No mountain intimidates you, whether you are climbing up or skiing down it. No bike ride is too long. You will sit down in the lobby of a big museum and play your piano pieces for everyone who is there to hear. When we talk about traveling to Australia and Asia, your first question is always “So when are we leaving?”

Peru exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum

You are curious. From a very young age, you’ve had an intense interest in the things around you. I’ll never forget the first time we took you to an art museum. You were three months old, and riding in a front-facing carrier. You couldn’t get enough of the paintings and squealed and kicked your legs throughout. You may express your delight differently now, but your joy and interest haven’t changed. When we visit a new place, you want to learn as much about it as possible. You’ll read books and magazines and ask questions. You pay attention and make connections. I love hearing your thoughts about the things we see.

Indian pudding at Durgin Park in Boston

You love bacon as much as I do. It does make me proud that you’ve started ordering bacon on top of everything! But I’m also glad that you enjoy and appreciate food and that you treat each menu like a new adventure. And also that you are willing to share your salted caramel milkshakes with me.

Ski lessons at Keystone, Colorado

You’ve never met a stranger. I’ve seen you play with children in Paris (some of whom didn’t even speak your language) and chat with old ladies on the subway. When we sign you up for lessons or programs, you always end up on the best of terms with the teacher or leader. You love to meet people and are kind and friendly to all.

Lareau swimming hole in Waitsfield, Vermont

You are open to anything. I think my favorite thing about you as a traveling companion is that you don’t ever ask the question, “why are we doing this?” From art museums to hiking trails to historic sites to long city walks you greet everything we do with enthusiasm. Your openness to the world knows no bounds. (Well, maybe one. You’ll notice I don’t ever try to take you shopping.)

I have loved watching you grow and experience the world. This blog is my way of recording what we’ve done together. I know that in the years to come, you’ll explore more and more of what lies around you on your own terms without me at your side. But please know that no matter where you go, no matter how far you journey from home, I will always be there cheering you on.

It has been such a pleasure and a privilege to spend the first ten years of your life on this planet exploring it with you. I can’t wait to see where your adventurous spirit takes you next.

Love,
Mommy

To read my other posts from Tommy’s birthday week, please see:

Reader Responses

5 fellow travelers had this to say

  1. Beautiful – and totally heart felt – thanks for sharing with all of us! And I remember putting Matt back to bed and sharing a very sleepy morning with you in Florence Tommy — and have been so lucky to share so much more with you! Wish we were there today…well, maybe not for the overnight! ;0 Love, Aunt Becky

  2. Weepy, weepy! Beautifully written & you have quite the incredible son!

  3. Such a beautiful letter – you made me cry! Ten is such a milestone birthday and then it seems like only a blink of an eye and they are old enough to go off on their own. Enjoy every moment!

  4. Lovely post! And, your son sounds like a terrific travel buddy. Happy birthday to him!

  5. i LOVE this!!

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