Monday, March 2, 2015

To My Boy on His Sixth Birthday

Dear Matthew,

It seems like I start every letter the same. I can't believe you're... One. Two. Three. Four. Five. But now this. Now six. That's just so old. It's halfway to twelve. A decade to driving. A third of the way to being an adult. Impossible because you were just a tiny little baby. You were just giggling and sucking on your toes. Just learning to toddle on unstable feet.

Now you're running and jumping and kicking the soccer ball into the goal and tackling people and doing headstands. You are so athletic and physically fit. You can easily pick your brother up off the ground which means that you're capable of carrying around your own body weight because, at the moment, you only weigh about six pounds less than him. But you're capable of lifting much more than that because you've been known to wrap your arms around my legs and hoist me up off the ground. It's terribly dangerous because the center of gravity is way off and I usually go pitching straight into a wall, terrified that I'm going to crush you. So while I don't endorse this activity, it's been known to occur which means that you're probably the strongest six-year-old on the planet.

On your fifth birthday, you were the exact same height that your brother was on his fifth birthday. But, now you are over an inch taller than your brother was on his sixth birthday. So, it seems that you have the potential to tower over everyone in this family. If your extremely long tibias and fibulas have anything to say about it, you're going to be tall. You have to grow into those bones at some point, right?

You're reading level F books which is a full year ahead of where you need to be. You're so competitive about it and the fact that there is one other person in your class who is also on level F keeps you motivated. You can memorize like crazy. You know the Apostle's Creed, the books of the Old Testament (and you're on your way to knowing the New Testament books, too!), and entire movie scripts. With your quick mind, stunning good looks and ability to cry crocodile tears at the snap of a finger, I have no earthly idea why Hollywood hasn't picked up the phone and called us already.

We joke all the time that our family is a hilarious reality show just waiting to happen. You, Matthew, would clearly be the star and the rest of us would just be around as supporting characters. You are so hysterical. Some of the things you say leave us cracking up for days. Cameras could just follow you around for an hour or two and easily get enough footage to make for a half hour of solid television.

Another reality show pitch is Matt v. Food. Son, I have no idea how I'm going to keep you fed next year. Forget about the teenage years. Just thinking of them makes me break out in hives. I'm pretty sure we should open a separate savings account so that, in seven years, I have enough cash saved to keep you fed. In December, we went to Hodad's in San Diego. You devoured a gigantic burger and a plate full of onion rings. You demolished it like it was your last meal. You'll eat anything and everything with the exception of avocados and, on occasion, peas. You are always hungry. But, lucky for your health, your first choices are usually apples, bananas and carrots.

You love watching Ninja Turtles and Scooby-Doo. If these aren't on, you'll request things like Tom & Jerry and Garfield. You don't particularly care for newer (far more stupid) cartoons and, for that, I am very grateful. Over the summer, you caught reruns of The A-Team. Currently, you are sporting a frohawk and saying, "I pity the fool," to anyone who will listen. In keeping with this old television theme, you also love Bonanza which means you love to pretend you're part of the wild west. To this end, toy guns are among your most favorite of toys.

You are, hands down, the sweetest brother I've ever met. If Garrett is going to lose a privilege, you beg us on his behalf. If he can't go somewhere or do something, you don't want to either. If he's in trouble and sent to his bed, you'll climb on yours and wait out the punishment. If you earn a prize at school, you pick something your brother will like and you give it to him. For your birthday, you received two dum-dum lollipops from school. Lollipops are your favorite kind of candy and still you asked me if you could eat one and give the other one to Garrett. I told you that they were your suckers and you could do what you wanted to with them. You placed one of them on Garrett's seat in the car so that he would find it at the end of his school day. Usually, if he cries, you cry. It's an incredible thing to watch you love your brother.

It was also incredible to watch you love your sister. Though she was born straight into the arms of Jesus and never got to breathe our air or walk on our dirt, you loved her fierce. You were so excited about being a big brother, so thrilled to be able to pick out clothes for her, so pleased to tear a paper off our countdown chain, and so devastated to lose her. Your loud, mournful sobs were only further proof that you already loved her like you love Garrett. Big, authentic, all in.

You continue to be obsessed with costumes. For your birthday you requested a new Spiderman costume and a new Power Rangers costume. When you get home from school, you immediately hop into a costume. At dinnertime, we have to ask you to take them off so you don't spill and ruin them. Aside from Spidey and the Blue Power Ranger, you like to dress up as a cop and an army man. Often, you wear one of these four costumes while playing with the dog in the backyard and singing (at the top of your lungs), "We believe in God the Father. We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in the Holy Spirit..." for all the neighbors to hear.

You do believe those things. You've shared Jesus with your friends and you've made a YouTube video telling others about what He did for you. You know that He's gone to prepare a place for you and you talk about meeting Him in Heaven one day. I'm so proud of your faith and that you're unashamed and bold. I hope you never lose that joy.

Matthew, we are so thankful that we get to call you our son. We're so in love with you and so grateful to God and your mama for choosing us. We know that we are just a small portion of the story of what makes you who you are and we are blessed to get to experience life with you. We do not forget the sacrifice that was made that allows us the great privilege of raising you.

I love you so much.


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