I realize you requested a $500 iPad for your 8th birthday. I am writing you this letter so that someday you will understand why your parents chose not to get you an iPad today.
1. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a $30 digital drum for your birthday. You are such a talented artist and we can't help but wonder if you have musicality within in. For years you have always hummed a tune or had a rhythm coming from your lips and now it is time for you to see if that same rhythm comes from your hands.
2. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a Nerf semi automatic gun. Now I know the grandmas in our family aren't going to appreciate this one but you come from parents who believe in teaching their children how to respect a weapon. There may come a time in your life where you won't be allowed to have a gun but there will always be Nerf. I think this Nerf is the perfect tool to teach you that you never point a weapon at anything you don't intend to harm. I also want you to learn that you should never put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to pull it. You will notice that no one else in your house has a Nerf gun as your mother does not believe you are of an age where combat play with other armed people is appropriate. You must first learn to respect a weapon for what it is. So for now, feel free to take this "toy" outside and pretend those trees are Ninjas.
3. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you Legos. Now I know an iPad can teach you hand/eye coordination but there is something about three dimensional objects that really reinforces this skill. You have the mind of an engineer so your teachers tell me. I feel as your mother I need to provide you with the tools to reinforce this ability. Frankly my sweet boy, your hand writing needs some work too. I thought Legos would be much more fun than writing your name 50 times on a piece of paper. Given the creatures you've produced today, I'd say it was the right call.
4. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a table top foosball game. We realize you don't like team sports. We have no intention of forcing those upon you. We do however feel that you need to learn the benefits of playing on a team. This game will teach you the rules of this sport while affording you with more hand/eye coordination learning opportunities. So feel free to play golf all summer but know that you must still learn team sports.
5. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you and your best friends foam swords to practice your Ninja moves in the backyard. Any toy that can get you to move that much is worth every penny!
And most of all,
6. Instead of an iPad, I chose to spend time with you. This one will be hard for you to understand at the young age of eight but some day you will get it. You see, if I buy you an iPad for your birthday, then I have to buy your sisters an iPad for their birthdays. Before I know it you will turn nine and expect the next newest and greatest thing.
Three years ago when your sister was born, I made the choice to spend time with you rather than buy you things which I was so guilty of doing when I worked full time. You see, I could have continued to work and let others aid in raising you, and spoil you with the latest and greatest. But dear Brayden, mommy missed you and your sister. So I hope you don't mind that the selfish mommy in me has decided to stay home and raise you rather than buy you an iPad.
So on your eighth birthday Brayden, you did not get an iPad. Instead you got rhythm, games, and ways to build your hand/eye coordination. You got exercise with your friends and family.
What you may not realize is that you also got a mother who could join you at lunch during long school days, volunteer for field trips and help at class parties. You got a mom who could pick you up from school every day and have hot muffins waiting on the table when you came home hungry. You got a mom who could nurture you back to health when you stayed home sick from school. You got a mom who could spend every day of the summer exploring, teaching and playing with you. And finally, my sweet Brayden, you got a mom who will give every moment of her free time researching, learning, and advocating for what you need to be the most successful young man you can be. So no, you did not get an iPad, but from the looks of things you don't really need one.
I love you little buddy,