Your 6th birthday came and went with a little less fanfare than usual, sweet boy. I have often thought that “fate” was kind to me when he chose your birthday as the one to be a bit overlooked. You have been and continue to be our most flexible and resilient child–something I thank God for often. Our end of year moving plans fell through a few times and all my best laid plans (including buying and wrapping all Christmas gifts and your birthday gifts before Thanksgiving so we could drop them off at our WI house to wait for our December 19th arrival) to have everything ready to celebrate Christmas–and then on the heels of Christmas, your 6th birthday–were thwarted–and instead we threw in a two week trip to New Jersey while we waited for our house to be ready, while we waited to celebrate our family Christmas, and while we waited to celebrate your birthday. Of course there were all kinds of un-looked for blessings during that two week sojourn. I got to see my sister who I hadn’t seen for over a year. You boys got to play ALL DAY for two weeks with your cousins. Aunt Tara, Uncle David and their four boys showered us all with gifts and food and all the comforts of home. We were even welcomed into all their extended family holiday gatherings where we were showered with gifts again. And you had the promise of more gifts waiting to be unwrapped in our new home–if we ever got there =) It was one last party before we began the long process of settling into a new life. And in the middle of it all you turned 6. I love my kids’ birthdays. I love taking the time each year to think back over all the triumphs and changes and developments of the last 12 months. I like writing these letters–with every word I type out, I treasure you a little more. As I consider once again what good and perfect gifts you are from such a good and perfect Father, my heart just bubbles over with gratitude and I am filled with hope for your future.
Year 5-6 was a year of many firsts. You started reading this year. You’re a quick study and you never back down from a mental challenge. I dragged out my one and only set of Bob books and showed you how to sound out a few three letter words. Your quick mind devoured those principles and began applying them to other words, and within a few weeks you had mastered that little set of books and were ready for more of a challenge.
Challenges came in other areas though. We booked a flight to Florida to spend time with Uncle Joel, Aunt Shelley and David and there you finally figured out the swimming thing. You began the trip by cautiously climbing into the shallow side of the pool and you ended the trip with jumping into the deep end. You turned into a little swimmer right before our eyes.
You wore your first vest this year. Alright, that one’s not so noteworthy, but you looked rather dapper in it, so I couldn’t help myself.
You’re my only child who consistently falls asleep in the car. The others are wired a little too tightly to just nod under those circumstances. So, I just have to snap a picture each time it happens.
You started school this year. You have been asking to go ever since Asher started kindergarten two years before, and it was finally your turn. Here you’re pictured with dear Mrs. Hubbard. I was thrilled you got to be in her classroom, even if only for a semester.
First bus ride and field trip
It has truly been a good year for you. When your dad and I made the decision late summer to move back to Wisconsin, I was concerned for you. We knew that with the move we would be transferring into public school, and I didn’t know (still don’t) what your heart looks like. I saw a happy and chatty little boy who often disappeared into a world of numbers and story problems and what ifs, but I didn’t often see a little boy who would linger long over Bible stories or ask many questions about Jesus or want to pray before bed. You dutifully memorized your catechism and verses, but they didn’t seem to touch your heart. And many of our exhortations to love God and to love your neighbor were greeted with blank stares or an abrupt change in conversation. So I did what we parents do when fears and worries begin to crowd out the hope and faith in our hearts and I walked into the very throne room of God, fell to my knees, and began again to beg him to change your heart. I prayed with purpose. I told God that since we were putting you in public school, I wanted His spirit on your side. I wanted to see some evidences that God’s spirit was indeed working in your life. Daddy had the same burden, and not long after discussing these burdens one night, you stopped Dad as we were saying good night to ask a couple clarifying questions about the gospel. Since then I’ve seen an increased interest in what the Bible says. I peek at you while we’re praying and I’ll notice you seem to be listening, really listening. You started volunteering to pray. You started asking questions about those Bible stories. I don’t know yet what your hope is in or if there has been a birth of faith in your heart. But my faith and confidence in God grew in those months before we moved. He truly does incline His ear to our prayers.
Happy 6th birthday, Jude! We love you! May it be another year of many “firsts.”
Your birthday “cake.” You don’t like cake, and we all know how you feel about frosting, so with Aunt Tara’s recipes, tools, and ingredients this is what I came up with. Notice the large slice with no icing. Even our laid back child has his limits!