Writing these birthday letters on your blog always makes me wonder what you will be like when you read them. And, who knows, maybe this is the year that you will. But, whether you read them here or find them tucked away in your box of memories, I hope you will take all of these words to heart. Whether you read them in 2014 or 2027. I want you to know how much you were loved in the year they written and how much you will still be loved in the year they were read.
Today, you will turn 8 years old. 8 doesn't quite seem the milestone that 5 was or that 10 will be. But, it is important in it's own right. This is the year you will start 3rd grade. You will also begin your 3rd year in piano lessons. It is the year that you will go away for your very first sleep over camp during the summer. It is the year that you say you will try soccer and basketball again. It's the year that you will have a new teacher and meet new friends. More than anything, I pray it is the year that you ask Jesus into your heart. Your mom and dad have been praying that God would move in your little life and you would recognize your need for a Savior. You have all the head knowledge but just not the heart tug. Prayerfully, this is the year.
It is hard to look ahead to 8 without thinking back to 7. You seemed so big and grown up when you turned 7. You broke two boards at your martial arts birthday party and then marched right in to being 7 years old like you knew exactly what to do.
7 was the age when you realized that girls were "a little not so fun" to hang out with. The same girls who had been your friends (and even girlfriend) in K3, VPK, Kindergarten and First grade were no longer your friends. You didn't dislike them but you certainly didn't find yourself hanging out with them. 2nd grade seemed to be the year that boys stuck to boys and girls stuck to girls. Although, there was this one girl this year. Her name was Sarah. You told us early in the year that "Sarah always tells me she likes my hair!" (Which, I might should add, if anyone ever tells a member of this family they like their hair, TAKE THAT COMPLIMENT! Because, son, we have some bad hair in this household!) And, speaking of girls, as long as the girl wasn't in your class and in that little group of friends, you were A-OK hanging out with them and spending time with them. It's an odd little dynamic.
And, at 7, you still love school. Your teacher, Mrs. Newman lives one street over from us and we still have to drive by her house every day just to see if she is in her yard so you can wave. You have loved your teachers every single year. You have loved school every single year. I'm so glad of that because it makes life easier on us that you love to go. School has been nothing but a positive experience for you. I hope that remains true with each passing grade. We are all a little anxious to find out who you will have as a 3rd grade teacher. I believe strongly that the good teachers you have had have been so much part of your positive experience. So, I'm ready to know who the one that will influence you, teach you and love you next year will be.
This was also the year that you realized you weren't as good at sports as your closest friends. I'll never forget the night you walked into the kitchen while your dad and I were sitting at the table and said "today I heard Brock tell the other guys to 'let Jonah get the ball' when we were playing football at Ha time." You told us that you never got the ball on your own. We talked with you about how we are all good at different things and that football may not be your thing and that was okay. But, the important thing was to realize what a good friend Brock was for doing that for you. He stuck up for his buddy and that was a huge life lesson for you. (and, maybe it made your mom cry a little bit because I was sad for you but so grateful for a friend who cares so much for you. And, maybe I text his mom to thank her for raising such a kind and considerate boy! But, I didn't tell you any of that because I'm sure it would embarrass you!)
At age 7, there is nothing you like more than having friends over for play dates. You would have a friend over every single day if I would let you. You talk about your friends all the time. But, there is no one who holds a candle to this man!
You are a daddy's boy through and through. And, I'm a little partial but I know that you lucked up in the daddy department. He was there from day one holding you, changing diapers, dressing you, singing to you and loving on you. He still puts you to bed every night that he is home. Sometimes when he comes home after a long and difficult day, all he wants to do is sit in his chair and not think about anything. But, when you say "do you want to play a game with me?" he gets up from that chair and even though you don't know he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, he plays with you as if that is the only thing in the world that is important. Even though you are only 8 years old now, I just KNOW that you will be a good daddy one day because you had the very best teacher.
They say in life, everyone is a hero to someone. I know that is especially true when I see you with Micah. That kid could not love anyone more than he loves you. I hear "I want my brover Jonah" at least 20 times a day. He adores you. You are so good to him. You are gentle and patient. (most of the time) You read books to him. You tell him stories. You teach him to play games. You encourage him to do his best. You cheer for him when he needs encouragement. You are a great big brother! You loved him from the minute you first laid eyes on him.
I wish I could see into the future for both of you. I wish I could know what colleges you will attend, what girls you will date, what homes you will buy, what jobs you have and what your families will look like. But, most of all, I wish I could see that you two were still close and love each other as much as you do now. A brother is a special gift. I will always encourage you to love Micah, to offer grace and forgiveness to him, to make time for him and to cultivate a relationship with him. The payoff will be so great for both of you. And, as time passes, I pray your love only grows stronger than it is now.
Oh, sweet Jonah! I could go on and on about how special you are. I could tell you so many stories of the ways God has used you to bring joy to the lives of others. I could tell you story after story of the sweet moments we have had with you. But, on this day, most of all, I want you to know how much God loves you and how much I love you. You are the one who made me a mommy.
Happy Birthday, sweet Jonah! You'll never know how much I love you! But, I'll spend all my days pointing you to the One who created us and gave us this special mother/son relationship.