It's Monday, it's Veteran's Day, and most importantly, it's YOUR day! I woke you up this morning with a special birthday song, made better with my own lyrics, of course.
You were smiling before you ever opened your eyes! And when you did finally bat your handsome eyelashes, you said, "My armpit itches." Good morning, birthday boy!
Let's talk about that smiling thing. So often I look at you and think of Buddy the Elf saying, "I like smiling. Smiling's my favorite!" You are the most smiley creature I have ever laid eyes on. You smile in the mornings, you smile when you jump off the bus in the afternoons, you smile at bedtime. I swear, happiness just seems to puff up around you wherever you are! I don't understand it, but it is my single favorite thing about you. You don't even know how many times you have changed my mood or calmed my soul with your inescapable cheerfulness. You are one happy Baby boy!!!
You wanna know what else you are? Roly poly, Tigger-bouncy, jumpy-jump bundle of boy. You are almost never still. Every morning when I come in to wake you up for school, you are wrapped tight--in a corner of your sheet. All other blankets have fallen on the floor during the night because you move around so much in your sleep. Your favorite move? Somersault. You can somersault with the best of 'em, even across the whole house. On almost any given evening, while I am cooking dinner, I can glance outside and see you bouncing away on the trampoline.
You have a ton of friends, so you have plenty of social activity going on. You go to more birthday parties than any kid I know! Occasionally, though, you will turn down a playdate invitation just so you can stay at home with us. You are content to simply be. I think that's a great way for a person to be. In fact, I wish I could be more like that. Who would have thought that I would be learning things from my youngest son?
In between all your bouncing and your somersaulting, you make us laugh. Like that day at camp last summer when the weather was particularly cool and very rainy. You were so frustrated because you couldn't go to your favorite recreation activity. You looked at the sky and said, "WHY does God have to cry so much at camp?!?!?" I almost fell in a puddle laughing. Or the morning not too long ago when I announced at breakfast that I would be washing the sheets and going to the grocery store that day. You never missed a beat: "Hmmmm. You are not lucky, Mommy." And last week, when I asked you about your homework, you sighed a great big sigh and said, "It's the same thing everyyyyy singllllle dayyyyyyy." I'm sorry (sort of) that I laughed at you. One more for good measure: you recently had an assignment where you had to draw a picture of your favorite animal. You brought it home, and I was quite surprised to find a billy goat on one side and a yak on the other. Or, a "yack", as you labeled it. :)
One of the things that hurts my heart for you is that you are still dealing with that blasted speech impediment. After years of waiting, the school district finally agreed that you needed extra attention. You started going to see the speech therapist at school at the end of 1st grade, and I know you hate it. I know that because we had one of those everything-stands-still conversations about it. You asked me, with tears streaming down your cheeks, why you talk different than other kids. Why you try, but you can't make the right sounds. I swear I could hear my heart breaking as I swiped at my own tears. No mom ever wants to watch her child hurt, and if there were any kind of a magic fix, I would do it in a second for you. Keep working, baby. It will come.
Daddy and I have had the pleasure of teaching your 2nd grade Sunday School class. There's not much that is more exciting to me than watching you learn about the Bible and the truths that God put there for us. When we first started back in August, I was really surprised to find that you can quite easily navigate through the Bible. We are building on that skill, and I pray often that you will find verses and hear stories that touch your heart. You have great ideas about Jesus and the way that He wants us to live and treat other people. I love listening to you. He made you incredibly special, Baby boy.
I hope you are always happy. Even as I write this, you are following my directions to finish your homework. (Who gives a kid homework on his birthday, anyway?) You just passed me with your homework folder singing, "I get to do my math homework! I get to do my math homework! And it's my birthday!" May you always carry that same enthusiasm and zest for math homework--or whatever else your precious life may bring. Our God is so good, Baby. I know that life won't always be joyful, and you won't always get what you want. But the God who made you with such meticulous care certainly has good things in store for you. Your very existence is a testament to Him! On the night you were born, I held you in my arms and counted ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes. I clearly remember how you were so very calm. That was the moment that I KNEW the most clear definition of grace: God giving you something that you don't deserve. God gave me you. I certainly did not deserve you, and I still don't. But every morning when I pick up your covers off the floor and untangle you, I get my first glimpse of grace for the day. What an amazing gift you are, sweet son! An amazing gift. And I am so incredibly thankful.
Happy, happy birthday, Baby of mine.