My sweet Jackson,
It’s your 4th birthday! Somehow you've up and turned 4 on us. Already it's hard to believe you're the same person as the little baby we see in your baby pictures. I can barely remember you being so helpless and small (but thank you for being the sweetest baby a mother could ask for - you were an absolute delight and went easy on me!)
My son, you have grown leaps and bounds this year. Physically, you shed your baby face, ditched diapers, and lost any last remnants of sweet baby rolls. You’ve shot up tall and most people think you are older than you really are. But the biggest growth this year has been inside yourself. This year we’ve watched you go from a crying toddler in the church nursery who clung to mom and dad, refusing to go to the front of the church for kid’s connection, to this confident little man who strolls up to the front and shoots the breeze with the pastor in front of the whole congregation (which actually terrifies me every time, wondering what embarrassing tidbit you might feel like sharing). You started School and AWANA this year and you have flourished. You’ve made friends and learned so much - from planes, trains, and automobiles, to the power of honesty, trust, and the fact that God is always with us.
I love discovering your personality and the unique person God has made you to be.
You are careful. You are so young, but I can completely trust that once I’ve explained why something is dangerous that you will not try to do it and you will watch out that your sister stays safe as well. I’ve been able to give you much more independence due to this. I never knew a four year old could be so trustworthy!
You are such an encourager. You are so generous with your praise and quick to say, “Wow! You look so beautiful, mommy!” “Addie, you did it all by yourself! Great job!” “You’re the best daddy in the whole wide world!”
You have the most amazing memory. You know every book we read to you by heart, and you’ve been doing this since you could talk! This made remembering your memory verses for AWANA a breeze for you. I think you’d memorized your entire book by the second month.
You started helping out around the house this year - emptying the dishwasher, putting the garbage bags in and taking the recycling out. We pay you for emptying the dishwasher (10 whole cents!) and a whole new world has opened up to you as you are learning to save your money, give your money, and spend your money. You pretty much always choose to buy the same thing - a box of Smarties.
You are a classic boy. To your daddy’s delight, you love motorcycles, cars and any big trucks. Now that you make a bit of money, you are determined to save up enough to buy a real motorcycle. Let’s just say, I’m thankful we pay you a pitifully low amount (and I may keep it that way as long as that’s what you desire to buy with your money).
You are sensitive. You cry quite easily, sometimes you don’t even know why. Watching you brings me back to my childhood sometimes - I remember feeling the same way at times. You are so alike me in some ways.
You can be quite shy. You tend to not like games in big groups or loud crowds. You just get quiet, sit on the side and watch, happy to be a spectator instead of entering in. You’ve been like this since you were a baby. I remember when you were about a year old your daddy tried to take you to a big fair for kids with bouncy castles and games for little ones and you had absolutely no interest. Now in AWANA during games time sometimes the leaders try to prod you, but you stand firm that you don’t want to. We’ve had a few people tell me that you’re too shy, but I don’t mind that you are shy. I am almost 30 years old and I’m still the same way. It’s just how you’re made, darling. It’s still hard for me as well sometimes, but I’ve learned I need to embrace that I’m made the way I am. You may not be the life of every party, but you sure bring fun and life to this house, and you will have so many other deep and great things to offer this world. Find what you do well, and do it with all your heart. Challenge yourself to grow where you are weak, but it’s okay that all things are not naturally comfortable to you. We will love you for exactly who you are.
We had your birthday party Saturday, although your official birthday is . At the end of it your dad played the video I’d made for your first birthday documenting your first year of life. I (and your Aunt Chantal and Papa) couldn’t hold back the tears. It seems so long ago now since you were that soft, tiny, helpless, sweet little baby. You’ve come so far since then. And the greatest thing I felt watching it, was how far I’ve come since then too. You made me a mommy, Jackson. You started this amazing, crazy, difficult, wonderful journey that has stretched me and changed me in ways I didn’t know existed. You taught me there is something far more fulfilling than living for myself. You helped me learn to lay down my wants and love another. It’s been a hard thing to do at times, and I certainly do not always do it well, but it’s getting easier each year that goes by. You’ve helped make me into a mom - one that is always learning, adapting, transforming - and for that I am forever grateful to God and to you. You are a delight and I am so very proud of you, my sweet boy. Happy birthday!