I sit here thinking of you, that your big day is tomorrow, the fact that the Amazon order I made last week with your EVERY present hasn’t even left the warehouse, the reality that I am sitting here writing you a letter when I should be at Toys R Us.........and, do you wonder, I don’t know where to start.
You are one year older, a few marks higher on the pantry door, and your personality, larger than ever. All of your pants are just at the “not quite right” length. Your limbs drank in the sun and water of the summer. You found your biceps the other day while goofing off with me on the couch-- and you really have them! So proud you were. Just like you are filling up your clothes, you fill our home with loud, boisterous boy-ness. I remember once you came home from a short trip with Daddy and the moment you came in the back door, all of YOU filled the house. In less than 30 seconds, Emily texted from upstairs, “B’s home!” Don’t ever think about thieving. You’d be terrible at it. It’s shockingly obvious when you are away from home and you are sorely missed.
You still have words to fill every minute of the day and can dish them out double time when you are excited about something. It’s awe inspiring. Just the other day, I strategically waited to tell you about Big Tex burning down at the state fair after all school work was complete and we were in the car with no other distractions. I don’t think live eye witnesses could have answered a fraction of your questions. A loss of words? If you don’t know the word you are looking for, you aren’t afraid to try to put one together-- or at least take a stab at it-- which have produced genuine chuckles from all of us. How I am wishing I had written them all down. The only one that is coming to mind at the moment is “The Limestones” for “The Flintstones”.
One of my favorite exchanges I heard between you and Julia a few months ago was this:
You: “I forgot what I was going to say.”
Julia: “That’s really sad, B.”
Surprised by her empathy, you looked at her with a question on your face.
Julia: “Well, for someone who likes to talk as much as you do, that must be awful.”
My favorite days are the ones, of course, when you and Julia can’t get enough of each other. Love is in the air and all is right with the world. I take a deep breath and enjoy every moment-- the hugs, the kisses, the “let me do that for you”, the breakfasts in bed, the gentlemanly manners, the shared spaces on the window seat, more hugs...more kisses.....And then, Julia reminds you of one responsibility and you have had your fill of her. During breakfast prep last week, I came in on you emphatically telling her, “Juila! Wait! I can’t do all that! I am NOT omnipresent!” The tone intensifies, tears may be shed, but then, it’s over as quickly as it started and the next thing I know you are wanting to buy her something with the money burning a hole, no, a crater in your pocket.
Still, your philosophy on money is simple. Spend it. And it seems not to matter on what. Just make an exchange at the store for any random junk that in two weeks, unbeknownst to you, will be buried in the depths of the trashcan and you will never even miss it. Saving, and we have cast a vision for that, is a blurry concept. WHAT you are saving FOR changes every time you want to spend and your spend envelope is empty. However, I must say, buying things for us brings you great joy. I love how you think of things or see things that make you say, “Mom!! I KNOW Julia would LOVE this!! Please. Can I buy it for her?” The only problem is you rarely have enough for what you want to purchase for us. I’m not worried about you, your future wife, mortgage etc. You’re smart. You’ll figure it out.
I can’t write to you without writing about your Dad. It’s hard to think of you very long without thinking of him. He LOVES to be with you and he invites you to be his sidekick every chance he gets. He PREFERS this because he loves you. Seeing the two of you having fun together almost makes my heart burst. He made the decision a long time ago to be a “present” dad, one that engages his kids’ hearts. Sometimes I wish I could hear the conversations you have together driving from here to there-- all that Jeff is tilling and planting in your heart. He understands you-- parts of you I can’t “get” -- so he’s able to coach me when it comes to you. You need to thank him one day because you and I are better together because of your Dad.
I love your hair--- again, I can’t write about you without writing about that wonderful mop that sits atop your head. After you begged me to cut it short, we did because of the epic dramas performed each morning before leaving the house were more than I could handle. For about 2 weeks, the epic dramas were reduced to a high school one act play. Your dad finally told me I couldn’t touch it anymore and you now are solely responsible to lay it all down. This task alone could prepare you for college. You are blazing your own trail with a brush and gel-- against your natural part. Only now can I consider the buzz and sleep at night.
But there is so much more to love about you. I love your smile. I love your shape. I love that you are competitive. I love that sales clerks or people behind a desk don’t intimidate you. I love the cards you make, the songs you play on the piano and the candy you leave for me on my desk. I love your Lego creations, the pictures you draw, and the way you arrange your stuffed animals. I love your passion, your affinity for food, and the prayers you pray. I love that you are sentimental, that you want to keep everything “forever”, and that you ask me to put on Bach when doing school. I love to watch you pitch. I love how you open presents. I love to watch you sleep and I love to watch you wake board. I love how you make eggs any chance you get. I love to watch you concentrating and trying your very best. I love how you laugh when I tickle you. I love to see you all tucked and combed in your school uniform and I love to see you after a game in your dirty baseball uniform. I love to see you read.
B, you keep me on my toes. You keep me crying out to God. You keep me humble knowing that we all need Jesus. I take great comfort in knowing that God is the keeper and shaper of your heart. With His love, He has wooed you to Him. You said yes two years ago. You are His. By His grace, God may use your Daddy and I to help shape you, but ultimately it’s up to Him. My prayer is that all your passion and intensity and urgency will be routed into one powerful river of glorifying God in your own unique way. I’ve learned more about grace parenting you than in any other season of my life. You ask for it quite often and so do I. We are both learning the extravagance of His grace and the comfort of being covered by it every moment. My prayer is that falling into His grace will be second nature to you-- never running from Him after your failures but running TO Him as fast you can. He’ll be waiting for you. Always.
I bet you’d really appreciate it if I stopped and made a run to Toys R Us to save your birthday from being a disappointing fiasco in the morning over pancakes. So I will, but not before I say, you, Brighton, are a BRIGHT light in our family and I am reminded of that every time you smile-- and every time you make someone else smile. I love you and I am proud to be your momma.
Goodbye eight, Hello nine!!