last day of five

This morning he woke up early. He ate breakfast at the table with his sister. He played with his car tracks, fought with his sister, made up with his sister, snuggled on the couch with his sister. He stayed in his pajamas past eleven, dressed himself in plaid pants and a blue shirt, waited for his dad to take him to the car museum, to watch the ball track, which they did for half the day.

We talked about his birthday cupcakes, the flavor(s) he wanted for school, which he had to repeat twice because I wasn't listening, distracted by the hiss coming through the hole in his smile, missing space from the tooth he lost last week.


I accidentally cried in front of him when he showed me it was loose.

"Don't worry, mom. It doesn't hurt," he said, but it did for me. Because his baby was literally falling out of him. Because I remembered so well when those teeth first came in, how he cried and cried. How I rocked him on my shoulder and he cried.

The tooth fell out days later, I was the tooth fairy, tip-toeing across the room by the glow of the night light.

How does this happen?

It just does.


Today I asked him how he felt about being six tomorrow.

"This is your last day of five," I said.

"Nooooooo!!!! I don't want to grow up!"

Me either so I had to convince us both.

"But growing up is great! It's the best!"


Because you get to become more interesting and you get to learn and help and teach and be a better person. You get to fall in love and learn to drive a car and go to dances and have your first kiss. You get to be an art scientist if you want or a builder or fly to the moon. You get to eat ice cream for breakfast, stay up all night, wander around the world and meet strange and interesting people. You get to have children and name them Archer and love them so much you think you might possibly explode into a new universe.

We worked on tying his shoes. Archer's homework assignment this week was to set a goal to meet by Sunday and all through the week, including today, we went over knots and bunny ears, mastered the whole thing except for the very last step. I showed him what to do and he tried, over and over again, both of us equally frustrated until finally, he exploded into a fit of cries and screams and "IT'S TOO HARD! I CAN'T DO IT!'s and I took the stupid shoe and threw it across the room.

"No more!" I said. "We're done."

A few minutes later I came back. And we sat on the couch side by side for a long time before I got up to pick up the shoe, handed it to him and we kept going. Bunny ear, around the world and through the hole to pull...


For dinner he ate fish sticks and broccoli and Hal made him a hot fudge sundae for dessert.

"How does it feel to be almost six?" Hal asked.

"But I'm still five," he said back.


We're having a party for him next weekend but he didn't want to invite anyone from school, not even his best friends. He wanted a bouncie in the backyard with a slide and family only, no friends allowed.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, mom. I'm sure."

I love him so much for that. For being himself, little man stuck in the body of a boy who doesn't want to grow up, yet in so many ways already has. The other day he called himself my sun, told me his three sisters were like moons, that without him, there would be only moonlight, which is so totally true. Without him, there would be no us. No Fable. No family. No house. No nothing.

Tomorrow he will be six years old and I will be six years a mother and we will be six years a family.

Or as Archer says, "onto the second hand of things"...

"I'm sorry I threw the shoe across the room. That wasn't right."

"I'm sorry I can't tie my shoes yet. I need to be more patient."

Onto the second hand...

It was just another day, today. Much like tomorrow will be even though it so isn't. Not for him or me or any of us. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Archer, happy birthday to you... Life will continue to move forward, cupcakes will be devoured, teeth will fall out of mouths, Archer will tie his shoes. In the meantime, we'll continue to eat Hal's sundaes, love each other, grow up. Because those things can't be stopped. Not time. Not love. (Not ice cream.)

Every day we must force ourselves to let go of what was to make way for what is, what will someday be: another birthday he'll someday want to celebrate without us. Friends only, no family allowed.

But not yet.

Tonight, like he says, he's still five.



Sheree | 10:15 PM

When you write about Archer, I feel your words wrapping around my heart and my son. I love Miss Fable and her stories, but there is something so different about your words when Archer is at the center. He's the beginning of what this all is for your family. My son, he's the beginning too. The first born, the first everything that will ever come in this adventure of mommyland. Your words are wonderful and refreshing. Happy birthday're still five tonight.

Unknown | 10:18 PM

i just love this.

my boy is going to be six this year too and i cannot believe how fast it has gone by. we finally decided to have another child so we'll be welcoming his brother or sister on his very same due date. :)

have fun at the party!

Denice | 10:26 PM

I understand why you don't post about Archer anymore, but oh, how I've missed hearing about him. So glad you did today. Happy Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 10:29 PM

My eldest just turned 6, she was so excited... she just lost a baby tooth... and i cried. This hit me so close to home for me. The letter i wrote her expressed some of those same things.. she was my first, my introduction to this wild ride that is motherhood. Beautiful piece and Happy birthday to your little man

marlene | 10:30 PM

I just have one thing to say. Archer is so awesome! Okay, maybe two... Happy birthday!!

adrian | 10:56 PM

This is my first time commenting, even though I read everyday, and even though I always WANT to tell you how much you rock.. instead of telling you, i just discuss it with my BF (who ADORES you, by the way). But this post brings the tears pouring out of me (the same way Archers day before kindergarten post did), and all I can think of is how I feel and WILL feel about my own 3 year old loverboy as he continues to grow. Can I just say, when you talk about him, you are pulling the words out of my heart. Like the perfectly spoken lyrics to a good song... your words convey exact emotion. Well well done.

Bridget | 11:15 PM

I didn't realize I shared a birthday with Archer until this post. (Newish reader, I suppose?) It explains why I understand his choosing to sit back and observe life before participating. It's okay - I will be 29 tomorrow and this year I opted for quiet reflection instead of lavish parties. My friends may not understand but I suspect that fellow May 23 birthdays do. Happy birthday, Archer!

Ray | 11:37 PM

Reading this made my heart ache.

Can Archer be reincarnated into my future son in about six years? He is so, so amazing.

"The other day he called himself my sun, told me his three sisters were like moons, that without him, there would be only moonlight, which is so totally true."

^^Really & truly.

I guess it should come as to no surprise how gifted he is, because his momma's a gifted writer.

Still...such eloquent words for a young boy. He can't only be turning six. And yet he can't be six already...?! How time flies. Stay young forever, Archer. Never lose that special beauty inside of yourself. Because it really is special.

Thank you for (still) sharing Archer with us.

Side-note: My cousin's wife just gave birth (at 12:30 am) to my cousin, "Joshua." So this is indeed a special day. (It's also my older cousin Paul's birthday today.) =o)

Happy Sixth Birthday, sweet Archer! =D

Zakary | 11:43 PM

You wrote the shizz out of this, momma.

Happiest birthday to Archer.

hayley | 11:47 PM

such a beautiful post, i've been struggling with the life happening way too fast thing as well. happy birthday mr. archer!

Anonymous | 12:24 AM

Having recently celebrated my son's first birthday (he's my first) and thinking lately, as I often do, how scary and exciting and sad and thrilling that is I'd like to tell you that this post made me cry. I cried because I am excited for that age and school and all of those things but at the same time I am terrified and want him to be a baby forever. Thank you for writing this. Love to you and your family.

Heidi | 12:44 AM

Gosh....I'm crying. Why do you always do that to me?
I'd die if I could write as beautiful as you.
You, my dear momma, are awesome.

Rosstwinmom | 12:55 AM

Oh dear Archer, please never change. Your sisters need your sun. It's a big responsibility, but I believe your were born for it.

Also, Happy 6 Years for Mommy and Daddy! It is the craziest bestest adventure one can take. I wish you well as you enter the next stage. Your twins will blow your mind once again.

emily bilbrey | 1:23 AM


and i'm a tough cookie to crumble.

love you!

love that little oh-so-wise man!

happy birthday, sweet archer!

happy birthday to you!!!


mjfisher | 1:32 AM

What a beautiful entry, it reminds me of this poem:


i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Anonymous | 3:18 AM


Kim | 4:14 AM

My son's front tooth fell out a few weeks ago and (after tooth-fairy duty) as I held it in my hand, I fell apart for a minute. He's lost other teeth (the tiny lower incisors), but this was felt surreal to hold a piece of him in my hand as he slept soundly upstairs. Six is such a fantastic age...I need it to slow down HUGELY, though!

Anonymous | 4:31 AM

Wow I can't believe he's going to be six. It's insane because I started reading your blog around the time when you were planning LAST year's bday.

I hope he has a great birthday and I hope y'all enjoy it as well.

Tanya | 4:43 AM

Beautiful. You've got me in tears over here. :)

Unknown | 5:57 AM

Here I am, crying again after a beautiful post from you. Thank you for such gorgeous words. My oldest son turns six this summer and so often what you write about Archer gives words to what I want to say about my Lorenzo. Happy Birthday Archer, and happy birthday to you too Rebecca for this is the day the mother in you was born as well.

Adrianne | 6:37 AM

Beautiful. I haven't even had our first baby, and won't until September, and already it feels like it's going to go by way too quickly. Happy Birthday, sweet Archer!

Jen | 6:39 AM

This gave me the chills. I have two boys and my oldest will be 10 this year. My whole body aches when I think about it. I love so much the person he is becoming but I miss the little boy he was with all my heart. This was just perfect. Happy Birthday Archer

jdavissquared | 7:14 AM

I love this. I'm not even a mother, but this gets me. I hope to be a mother soon, and I find myself scared to let go of just me and my move on to the next step, cause it will be different. But, it's posts like this that assure me that it will also be awesome.

Wendi | 7:23 AM

thanks you for articulating how I feel about my Mason. Great Post.

KJS | 7:42 AM

Happy Birthday, to all of you!
This reminds me, as many Archerisms do, of my first born son...and of my desire to simultaneously hold-on, but also let him grow.
Now 7, the other day an older family friend asked for some of his recent wisdom, I suddenly realized I didn't have any quotes at the tip of my tongue. He hasn't lost wisdom, but he has gained school, friends, music, and his world is growing. Again, bittersweet.
Have a great day of celebration!

Amanda | 7:45 AM

OK, I'm soo fighting these tears back here at work! Happy Birthday, dear Archer - and Happy Birth Day, Rebecca!

Genesee | 7:48 AM

Yay! I am crying happy tears because you made me remember what it was like to "grow up" with you as a parent. This was a great post girl!

oh, jenny mae | 8:18 AM

happy 6 everyone!!

i need your address to send a small package. one item would be a perfect present for his party. if i get the addy in time i'll send it out so he can open it at the party!

Sarah Berry | 8:39 AM

Oh Rebecca... I love this post. It should just be called "Parenthood." Despite the fact that I consider myself a write I am always at a loss for words on how to write about parenthood and this just did it for me, thank you.

Every Friday on my blog I post various links that I love, and this will definitely be the top one this Friday.

Thrifty Vintage Kitten | 8:56 AM

Your son is poet. It's remarkable the things he thinks. Seems like there is so much you in him!

Unknown | 9:11 AM

Ahh, I love your writing. :) It's beautiful. Happy Birthday to Archer!

Amelia | 9:33 AM

My husband always says, "I wish Asher [our son] could just stay like this forever" and I always say back nonononononononononono, he's got to grow. OLD. wrinkly. But really I wish I could keep him close and little too. This post struck that desire's nerve...we always want to hold on to sweetness until I remember the joy that's to come. Happy Birthday to both of you, mama.

Marisa | 9:36 AM

Such an awesome post! :-) Happy birthday Archer!

P.S. I love his styling. He should be a stylist!

Unknown | 9:50 AM

It's so bittersweet watching your kids grow up. My oldest girl is 11 today.

MissRed | 10:30 AM

Your writing is so wonderful that I don't even have anything to add except AWWWWW. :-)

Unknown | 10:56 AM

Happy Birthday to Archer! It's such a treat to read about him -- thank you for turning 6 today and letting us all enjoy some Archer wisdom.

Kate | 11:00 AM

Wow! That was lovely.

Unknown | 11:03 AM

I loved that. Very well written. You wrote what every mother,(ones that love their kids anyway), feel and fear and go through..losing their babies and trying to enjoy the moment and not just mourning what you're losing, because then it goes even faster!

- Julie Z

Elissa L. | 11:19 AM

My daughter turned 6 yesterday and this brought tears to my eyes. Such a bittersweet thing to watch these amazing people grow right before our very eyes.

Denise | 11:53 AM

That was beautiful.

Nick Parkinson in Cape Town | 12:13 PM

Becks, your words, story, love, emotion and relatedness are inspiring. I had a good sob because I felt it all and we have never met. Thank you for the experience and happy birthday Archer, mine was yesterday ;) xx

jillian | 12:41 PM

This is just beautiful.

Amanda | 12:51 PM

Beautiful. Thank you for putting into words how I feel watching my little man grow up. Happy Birthday Archer. May you continue to be as wonderful as you are.

Robyn | 12:55 PM

Another amazing post. I cried through the preschool graduation at our church on Sunday. I didn't even know the kids up there, and mine aren't even IN PRESCHOOL yet. (Plus, c'mon, it's preschool graduation, it means nothing.) But my first born turns 4 next week and, well....the blur of it all gets to me, especially when I slow the world down to focus for a moment.

You have such a gift. Happy birthday Archer!

loodles | 1:21 PM

You spoke so beautifully to the tangle of joy with the inevitable loss that comes from parenting a child. An amazing child, that boy of yours is.
I cried and cried when my eldest grinned to show me her first jiggly tooth. I cried so hard she started crying...and ended up comforting me. It is not that I am not equally in love with my newly confident and independent girl with her baby mouth sprinkled with oversized teeth, it is just that I miss all her other incarnations:the lisping, babbling toddler, the bossy three year old, the gorgously fat, bald, and peachy newborn. Each new day, each new hello means another goodbye.
Happy Birthday Archer, and happy mothering anniversary to you Rebecca.

Whitney | 2:55 PM

You are a lovely writer but I must say that was....the best!

Happy Birthday Sweet Archer

Anabelle | 2:58 PM

Your post brought tears to my eyes...
My daughter turned 10 in March. TEN!!! Can you imagine? Ten years ago she was born and now she wants to wear make-up! Already! I felt the same way as what your words describe... I am so proud of how she's grown, and yet so sad that time has to pass by, and slowly drive her away from childhood...

I too write often about that on my blog:

My most nostalgic posts... I so understand how you feel...

Happy birthday to your son.

Glenda | 3:00 PM

Love your way with words and your writing. Beautifully written.

Happy 6th Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 3:21 PM

OH I’ve never commented before but I had to this time. That was so beautiful and heart felt.

Happy Birthday Archer!

Also congrats on the twins!

Susanlee | 5:45 PM

You made me cry! Happy birthday to dear Archer!

Anonymous | 7:42 PM

"I love Miss Fable and her stories, but there is something so different about your words when Archer is at the center."
My thoughts and feelings exaclty. Archer is raw emotion. Archer is who made you a mother. Your love for him pours out through your words. Posts like these are the number one reason I read your blog. xxoo

Meg | 7:50 PM

Beautiful. You have such a way with your words.

robin | 7:52 PM

That totally made me cry. :(

Stefanie | 5:16 AM

Is it possible to be speechless after reading someone's post? If so, here it is.... I am simply in awe of you. Your words perfectly convey the love of a mother. Thank you for taking the time to type your thoughts - it's what the rest of the world of mothers, like me, wish they could do. Happy Birthday Archer! Happy 6 years Mama!

Stef | 6:58 AM

That was beautiful. Thanks for using your eloquence to share so many big and small moments from your life, mundane and mind-blowing things, insights that make me smile or make my mascara start to smudge.

I've been following your blog for years and remember when Archer was so small. I think the first post I read was of when you found an old baby picture of one of the men in your family that Archer was the spitting image of...twins across generations. Happy Birthday, Archer! You've come a long way, baby.

Alison | 11:47 AM

Such a beautiful and heartbreaking post. Is there anything crazier than the passing of time? I too have found myself in the strange position of trying to convince my oldest daughter (who's 6) that growing up is good. A hard thing to do with a mama heart in the way... Happy birthday to you and Archer both.

gemini-girl | 5:33 AM

I dont usually post because you get so many and my words become lost in a see of others.

I know his birthday came and went but I wish him a beautiful 6th year.
He has an old soul and it's wonderful that you nurture it. He really will be a great older brother to all of those girls.
Sending love from israel-

Karen Chatters | 5:58 PM

I love you. I mean, really. You say the things that I'm feeling and I can't express the way I want. I'm having such a hard time with DD's last day of preschool, and this is just her first year. It's irrational but it's another year gone by, another year closer to her driving herself to school and leaving me behind.

"Every day we must force ourselves to let go of what was to make way for what is, what will someday be."

But do I have to?

Stacey K | 12:17 PM

I was reading another blog, and saw this lunch box, and TOTALLY thought of Archer. And Fable.

Maybe you already pack him delicious lunches in one of these, who knows! Thought I would share!!

Claire Gibson King | 8:49 AM

wow, i just found your blog and am so in love with the way you write and the words you write them with. i have fallen in love with "last day of five"archer and can't wait to read more about his adventures and you. you really are an amazing writer...can't wait to read more.

Anonymous | 9:04 AM

I just discovered your blog through YCCII. Wow! Beautiful writing! I'm hooked.