Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lessons from Tristan Robert Bartella on his Sixth Birthday

 Photo by John Lynner Peterson AKA Pappa-razzi

Tristan has been six for some time now because most of the time when he was five, he would say, “I’m five years old but I’m six on the inside.” When asked how old he would be after today he says, “I’m six but I’ll let you know when I’m seven on the inside.” So I guess for today, he is content with six. It’s a great place to be in life when you’re content with your age.

As will all six year olds, Tristan values and social skills and ethics have been developing quickly the last few years. One evening when he was about four, I was playing cars with him. After a couple of races in which I allowed him to win, I made sure I won the next. He put his sweet little hand on mine and ever-so-gently said, “Mimi, let’s play nice and be friends.” Good advice for all of us.

When driving to church one Sunday morning, he said, “Mimi, you and Poppa use different words than my Mommy and Daddy.” We took that as a cue that he loved vocabulary words so we began the tradition of learning a new word each Sunday to share with our friend Don Lichtenfelt at church. Then one Sunday as this tradition was taking place, another friend, Jeannette Lucas remarked, “Oh, Tristan, you are a sesquipedalian. I am, too!” So Tristan has learned to tell you that he is a sesquipedalian and what that means. But when I asked if he had told his new first grade teacher about his love of words, he replied, “Mimi, she’s not like you. She doesn’t care about all those words.” I suspect he got that wrong and I also suspect that he doesn’t want to draw undue attention to himself. Another good lesson---especially for introverts---don’t shine the light on yourself unless you’re sure you want the world looking at you.

The best lesson to learn from Tristan is about love. You don’t have to wonder if you’re loved by him---he will tell you and he will include you in his prayers. A model we should all emulate. Emulate---that might be a good word for tomorrow!

Happy happy birthday, my dearest Tristan.


  1. What a sweet account of the Birthday Boy! He is a beautiful young man! Happy Birthday!

  2. Oh Brenda... that is so sweet. You have such a way of telling stories. I am ready for you to right another book. Please! Tristan is so lucky to have you for a grandmother!!