My sweet Andrew,
It is the evening of your 8th birthday. I am in the middle of preparing for your big party with your friends tomorrow, but I had to sit down and write your birthday letter before I forget how sweet you were today. How excited and happy you were to be turning eight years old.
Last night I couldn't wait to decorate the house so when you woke up this morning you would see everything. Before you went to bed you asked me if I was going to cry because you were growing up (I always like to pretend I'm really sad when you act so grown up!) So I obliged and pretended to cry. You took your sweet little hands and put them on my cheeks and said, "I'll always be your little boy..... but I can't WAIT to be eight!" And I never, ever want to forget that moment. How do you always know exactly how to tug at my heart??
I posted this on Facebook this week, in honor of your birthday. This has always been a favorite picture of you in your daddy's arms. That little grin on your face just melts me. I cannot even believe when I look at this precious picture and I see you today, that 8 years have passed. Where has the time gone??
Sometimes I wish that I could go back to eight years ago and tell my old self that you were going to be okay. It is so hard to look back and not remember the fear I had that day. I was thinking about it the other day and realized that my memories of your birth are not necessarily joyous ones, as most births tend to be. I was feeling guilty about that. The fact that I don’t remember that time, without remembering the pain. That miraculous night of your birth there was so much fear, anxiety and uncertainty.
But amidst all the darkness, there was definitely light, my sweet boy. That ray of hope that only God can provide. I can remember the wave of peace that came over me like a blanket as I was being wheeled quickly into the delivery room. Right then I knew you would survive. I just knew. And I want you to know someday that despite the fear and anxiety, our hearts were so full. The joy I felt when I heard your little cry for the first time is something I can’t explain in words. I will never forget that sound, or my first sight of you. I will always say that God knew I wouldn’t need a camera that night. (And most who know me, know that my camera and I just go together!) You know I am a lover of photography and my camera is as close to my BFF as anything could be. But that is one photo that is etched in my mind. It just as well be on paper because it is as vivid as any other snapshot in my collection. I will most certainly never forget that image of you, my amazing son.
And here we are, eight years later. I love your new toothless smile. Your zest for life. How inquisitive you are. You always ask questions. The nurse at your check up the other day said that you win the prize for being her favorite patient all day. You were so cute, asking her everything she was doing and making sure you weren't getting a shot. She asked me how you could be so cute. Ha! You just emulate joy, Andrew. You have since that very first day. I have always known how special you are, but each year as you grow, your gifts become more clear.
(Your instructor wanted you to move up to the "big kid" Taekwondo class, this has been a challenge for you, but you are taking it head-on! You are trying so hard and we are so proud of you! You are very talented and one of the best in your age range!)
You have such a big heart for others, and you have a sweet sensitive side, yet you are so tough. Nothing stops you from doing the things you want to do. You are determined, and you never give up. And I think that's been evident since day one. These are traits you've been born with, and God gave them to you because He knew you would need them. Use them wisely my boy, and always look to the One who created you.
Last night I couldn't wait for you to wake up. I love doing these things for you because I know how much you love and appreciate them. Nothing brings me more joy than to bring that million dollar smile to your face.
And there it is!
You were so sweet this morning. Telling me that you are going to be a big boy now and start sleeping in your own bed. Or at least that you would try it. Ha! You always make me laugh. I love that about you. Each year you remind me more and more of your Grandpa Bill. He loved to make people laugh too.
We went to Disney World this year and you were so grown up. You went on all the big rides with daddy. And you loved every minute. You are definitely a thrill seeker. That's something that has also been true about you since you were very small.
I absolutely loved this picture of you. When we went to Disney you assured all of us that there was no way you were standing by any princesses, yet here you are, hamming it up! The truth is that you would do anything for your little sister. You love her so, so much. And I am so proud of the amazing big brother that you are.
Andrew, you have had another amazing year. You are learning so much at school and are now in the top reading group in your class. We are so proud of your hard work and all of your success in 2nd grade! You have so many friends and your teacher says that everyone in your class just loves you. She also told me that you bring a smile to her face every day. And there is just nothing that a parent loves to hear more than that. You just make my heart melt, and you are the most precious little boy I could have ever imagined.
And you were so right... you will ALWAYS be my little boy.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7