Asher said it best when he observed, “Jude always has a laugh in his voice.” That you do, little man. I think the word “cheerful” best sums up that little personality of yours. It seems to encompass your lightheartedness, generosity, optimism, affection, enthusiasm, absent-mindedness, klutziness, and your indomitable good humor. From the moment your eyes first open until the time they are at last heavy with sleep (on your back with arms up by your head, no less. Asher says you even fall asleep mid-sentence) you are full of mirth and cheer and chattiness and a sweet desire to please and help. Your dad and I just laugh and laugh at how you simply never run out of questions to ask or observations to make or silly things to say. ever. never-ever. never-ever, ever.
Here’s just a sampling of what 5 minutes with you is like:
“Mom, let’s go to the Christmas tree shop, how about? Mom, there was somebody on that roof, but I didn’t see a ladder. How did he get up there? Mom, there was a staircase that leads to nowhere. Why is it there? Why were there three foods on that sign? What are those straight-line things in the sky? Is 4 plus 4 8? When are we going to go to the beach again? When will it snow? I saw three green arrows and a blue person. Why? What does that sign say? What day is it? What are we having for dinner? Will I like it? Can I have a doughnut? When will we eat crazy bread again? Let’s have it for Christmas, how about? Can we have that soup that we had last night again? Does Asher know that I’m in the car right now? Is Asher eating lunch yet? If I saved a sticker (from Trader Joes) for Asher, would that be nice? Is oatmeal like ice cream? Does it melt? Because my oatmeal was really runny. Haven, why are you crying? Is it because you want ice cream? Mom! Haven wants ice cream! Haven, do you not want to eat your apples? Mom! Haven doesn’t want to eat her apples! Mom, can you read to me? Or can we play memory, how about? Doggies don’t have to wear seat belts, right? I want some hot chocolate with marshmallows. Can I have some now? When will Asher be home? When will daddy be home? Can you tickle me? Can I wash Haven’s chair for you? Look, I can fold this rag. Somebody at church taught me how. I don’t like going to church. Could God swallow the earth? Can I help you make something? Ok, suitcase. Ha ha, I called you a suitcase, fruitcase! Hey, does fruitcase rhyme with suitcase?”
And on and on it goes…
One thing we find especially endearing about you is your generosity with your siblings. More often than not, you want to please them and make them happy. Countless times I’ve seen you hand over the last bite of your dessert to your brother who had finished his quickly and wanted more. Countless times I’ve seen you offer up the toy you were playing with because Asher or Haven wanted it. More than once I’ve seen surprise flash across the face of an adult who was offering you candy or a toy accompanied by the exhortation to “share it with your brother,” when you readily say, “OK, I will!” If you’re happy, Jude, you want the rest of us to be as well.
Another trait we find refreshing, if a little frustrating, is your continual optimism. You are a foil to your pessimistic brother in this way. I remember one particular discussion between you two on the way home from an errand when you were both in trouble for disobeying at the store and the threat of discipline was hanging over your heads. Asher was gloomy and depressed but you just talked the ride away. Asher reminded you that you were both in trouble, but you said ever so confidently (and ever so irrationally), “we don’t KNOW that yet. Let’s just wait and see.”
You hold out hope that we’ll get to McDonalds play land, the park, the beach, Jungle Java’s or some other exciting place even when we’ve made it clear we won’t be indulging that day. You say with your sparkling eyes and cheerful countenance, “I think we will. You might change your mind.” All this optimism is a little puzzling to us, especially considering how hard we work to make our yea’s “yea” and no’s “no.” But that spirit of yours is indomitable. So indomitable and so catching that it’s often hard to discipline you—first because you are so resilient it’s hard to make you consider the seriousness of your disobedience. (we call this your “unreachable place”) and secondly because we do so hate to see you cry.
Some days I want a little reprieve from all the question asking, observation making and chitter chatter, but on those few days when you wake up less than cheery and you’re strangely quiet, I find myself doing whatever it takes to get you talking again and to make that sparkle in your eyes return. You’re a current of good humor running through this house and it draws us all in.
God designed this sweet disposition of yours, and we are very grateful for it. We want you always to retain that cheerful part while at the same time understanding there are times to be serious, and there are times to be quiet. As your mother, I can imagine what these traits—optimism, generosity, cheerfulness—can grow into when they’ve been set free from that cursed sinful nature and lovingly molded by the very God who designed them. I pray that optimistic spirit of yours translates into a confident hope in our loving and trustworthy God. I pray that generosity of yours becomes a lifelong habit that is unconditionally motivated by a genuine love for God and his people. And I pray that your overall cheerful disposition will be an encouragement to many who don’t understand the hope inside you. We love you, Jude the Cheerful. Happy 4th Birthday!
oh no! Where’s cheerful Jude?
Ah, back again! Five Guys dispels the post-sledding gloom.
And again–the happy high king with his Narnia cake. Thank you, Jennifer Owen! It was a hit.