Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Goliath!

Dear Goliath,

For the first time in your life, my birthday letter to you is late. Luckily, my excuse is a good one: you turned 9 while we were at Disney World! There could not have been a better way to celebrate!

Nine. WOW! How can I be old enough to have a nine-year-old? And how can that nine-year-old be YOU? It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was watching it snow outside the hospital window while I waited for you to make your grand arrival.

Not everything has been grand for us this year, though, has it precious boy? There are lots of people who have been affected by my illness, but probably none more than you. You have gone through so much. No little boy should ever have to see what you have seen or feel what you have felt, and I wish with every ounce of my being that I could erase those things for you. Cancer has made an ugly mark on you. You exhibit real separation anxiety, to a degree that you didn't show even as a baby. You want to be with me, or at least know where I am, all the time. You are fearful that I will forget to pick you up (or maybe not come back at all?) when we are apart. You worry about most everything--from the Sickness down to buying your lunch at school. You have extreme mood swings. One minute you're happy and all is right with the world, and the next minute you're fussing at anyone who dares get in your way.

My goodness, I'm making you sound like an awful kid. I hope you know that isn't the case at all. I think you're the best kid ever. Daddy and I have been proud of how you have navigated these uncharted waters. Not too many boys have moms with cancer. You've been very brave, even when it hasn't been easy.

Of course, cancer or no cancer, the world keeps spinning. You have done a lot of growing up this year. You love to be with your friends, and we have slowly allowed you more freedom. You really enjoy riding your bike and meeting up with your buddies at the park in our neighborhood, or at someone's house to play. The rule is that you MUST stay wherever you say you're going unless you call me to tell me otherwise. Only once have I gone to the park and discovered that you had moved on to a friend's house without calling. The consequences--or maybe the embarrassment of discipline in front of your friends--made that the first and last time you committed that particular crime!

Speaking of consequences, Daddy and I have found that it is necessary to be more creative. Writing sentences, yard work, and cleaning up dog poop in the backyard are all effective punishments for you. I was temporarily stumped on the day that you TP'd our living room, but after you had to clean up all the toilet paper and use it as your very own, I feel confident that you will never EVER do that again!

You still enjoy school, although math has become more difficult and much less enjoyable for you. I try my best to help you with your homework, but sometimes I don't even understand it! Why they ever replaced tried-and-true methods like carrying and borrowing with regrouping and drawing pictures is beyond me. Your teachers have been simply amazing. No doubt these professionals were hand-picked just for you by God. You have been loved and cared for at school--what a gift!

You are old enough this year to participate in extracurricular clubs at school. When the paper came home at the beginning of the school year, you surprised me by saying you wanted to join a club. Then you surprised me again by picking Soccer Club! I totally had you pegged for the Chess Club. Silly me. You have really enjoyed playing, and I am so proud of you for trying something new.

You've also shown a real interest lately in cooking. You asked Santa Claus for a kids' cookbook, and the look on your face when you opened it up on Christmas morning was priceless! Although you are a little messy in the kitchen, I try to bite my tongue because a) I love that you are learning a new skill, and b) I love spending that quality time with you.

You still think that girls are icky and that kissing is gross (and that's fine with me!). Unfortunately for you, this has been the year for weddings. After Caroline's wedding, you didn't think it could get any worse--until you had to be IN a wedding. Fortunately for Aunt Jenny and Uncle Howie and Uncle Phil and Aunt Chelsea, you were crazy-handsome in your wedding attire, and charming to boot! When you're all grown up, we will all probably still be laughing about how you fell asleep under the table at Aunt Jenny's reception while your brothers danced the night away with each other.

This year, right in the middle of the worst thing, the BEST thing happened. On August 4, Daddy and I were privileged to sit on the floor of your bedroom and listen to you pray a prayer inviting Jesus to be the Lord of your life. The decision had been floating around in your brain and heart for some time, but for months you had been working hard to find a satisfactory answer to the age old question: Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Time and time again, we have simply said that faith means believing in what you can't see or make sense of. None of us know why God let cancer happen to our family, but you finally came to a point that you could believe that He is loving and good in spite of it. I will always remember that night, and how your prayer was a direct answer to one of my own.

I love being your mother. I love the lessons I learn from you and the memories I make with you. I love the way you won't go to sleep until I've kissed you goodnight. I love to hear you laugh. I love how you feel empathy for other people who are hurting, and how you want to help those who are not as fortunate as you are. I love that you are a morning person like me and that you are a hunter like your dad. I love that you tell me corny jokes and that you honestly think they are hilarious. I love your singing voice. Most of all, I love that you are mine.

Happy birthday, Goliath. I love YOU.




3 Girl Mommy said...

You have an amazingly, terrific boy there!!! I love your sweet Goliath (and your other two cowboys) very much! What a special and FUN way to bring in a birthday!!

The Horton Family said...

I agree with Sass - that kid is AWESOME! Much like his mama. I love this letter H. It's wonderful. He HAS been through so much that a child should not have to go through. But he is a champ! We are all proud of him. I love him dearly and praise God for him especially b/c he's so special to my very own son. I love you buddy. Happy Bday to your boy.