The Birthday Letter - This is EIGHT
How are we even here?! Weren't you only starting Pre-K like a year ago?! Now you're officially a 1st grade graduate, all ready to start 2nd grade. Time is truly flying by, these days. The days are [still] long, but the years get shorter and shorter.
This was SUCH a busy year! You started 1st grade full speed ahead, and it never slowed down. You joined gymnastics and cub scouts this year; both of them you loved and looked forward to doing each week.
This was your first year with real homework, and I have to say, you were very persistent about getting it done right away! It made me happy to see, and I really hope you keep that trait instead of being a procrastinator like your mama!
You whizzed through your math homework with flying colors every night, but spelling and reading tested your patience [and mine], every night. Even though homework wasn't always easy for you, I'm proud to say you finished the year with all A's! Way to go dude!
Age 7 didn't disappoint! It was never dull, always interesting and mostly full of smiles from you!
I love taking the time to write these letters to you, even though with time going by so fast, it feels like I just wrote the exact same letter. My hope is that one day, you'll be really happy to have these as a reminder of what your childhood was like. Because so far, it's been pretty great.
One of your new loves this year was-
Your awesome go-cart at PaPaw's house. I think you've had it more than a year already but you really came to love it this year! PaPaw and Nana follow you around on the ranger and you absolutely LOVE to drive it through the pasture and find every mud puddle possible. For your age, you're actually a really great driver. I'm impressed by how you take control of it and how you have perfected doing donuts. I think we all enjoy watching you be 100% boy out there, as much as you love driving it.
A few months ago, you got it really stuck in the a huge mud pit, and since PaPaw isn't as strong as he used to be, you had to get it out all by yourself. You came back COVERED in mud. It was everywhere; in your ears, in your teeth, and even under your toenails. For whatever reason, that day made a lasting impression you. I think first, because you were afraid you'd get in trouble, secondly because you realized PaPaw wouldn't be able to help you, and lastly because after it was over, you were able to look back and see you powered through a "tough and scary" situation. You talk about it frequently, how it was the funnest but also scariest day of your life, so far. LOL. I know when you read this as an adult, you'll remember this memory and smile.
A few firsts this year were-
-You went camping with Poppy and the Cub Scouts. It was your first real camping trip and you so enjoyed your time with Poppy! Yall slept in a tent, cooked food outside and went on a hike to identify birds. I was so happy he was able to go with you on this trip, this was something your heaven dad was so looking forward to doing with you!
-You saw SNOW for your first time! Santa gifted you a fun snow trip with me and some friends. We drove to New Mexico and the day before we arrived, it snowed about 15 inches. It really was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, and you were in complete awe of it. You spent hours sledding down hills on lids and tubes. I loved seeing you enjoy it so much, and I hope it's another memory you will hold onto forever.
-You attended your first concert! For years, you have loved Aaron Watson's music and we were lucky enough to get invited to one of his concerts, in addition to getting back stage passes to meet him. You were absolutely on cloud nine. He shook your hand and signed your cowboy hat. A few days later you told me that was the best time of your life; I'm so glad we did that together!
-You took your first limo ride as part of a school fundraiser celebration
-You were in your first wedding as a tiny groomsman [and were THE MOST handsome, btw]
-You learned to ride without training wheels
-You started wearing deodorant per your request
This year you also learned some hard truths about the way your dad died. It was definitely the most challenging part of the year. I worried every single minute how you were handle it, how you would process it, and how you would get through it. You went to counseling [which you loved] and you and I had a lot of long talks and cries together. I shouldn't be so surprised that you came out on top, the way you did. I had never been so brokenhearted for you, but I also had never been more proud. I know there are more moments to come, but that's okay because you have made it this far. And you made it with your head held high.
You still love and hate all the same things as last year...what can I say, you're a creature of habit. You love to have a routine, you hate chaos.
You love to eat pizza, yet you hate cheese.
You love to have lazy days at home, but you love to be outside.
You love to pester Walter and he hates you for it.
You are a rule follower and a people pleaser. You see the good in everyone and find it hard to understand those that don't follow directions. Everyone is your friend. You still have a shy side. You love when someone puts you in charge and makes you feel important. Your wit gets better with age. You hate to get your hands dirty, just like your dad. You brows stay in a constant state of seriousness and worry. You love anything and everything that has a remote control. You are constantly thinking about numbers, trains, race cars and airplanes. You want everything to be in a "pattern." You still hate birthday cake and will pick donuts or cheesecake over every other dessert. You tried lasagna this year "because Garfield eats it" and you LOVE it now. You hate vegetables. You love fruit.
You are a mommas boy all day every day. You love to hug on me and rub my right arm, and you'd sleep with me every night if I let you. I try not to let it drive me crazy because one day, I know I'll miss it.
Kaleb, you are the absolute light of my life. I'm beyond proud of the kind and loving little man you have become. Every adult that meets you, tells me what a joy you are to be around. This year you were awarded the Citizenship Award at school for being the type of Christian that sets good examples everywhere they go. That award made me prouder than any other recognition could have. You might not be a rough and tough boy, you might not be the most athletic kid on the team and might not be the best speller...but you ARE the most KIND. The most LOVING. The most THOUGHTFUL. It's obvious that you carry Jesus with you and that's all a mom could ask for.
I love you more with each day. When I glance at you from the corner of my eye, I see the perfect mix of your dad and myself. You make the same faces that he did when he was concentrating; you have my eyes and his hands. You were made perfectly.
My prayer for you is that age EIGHT will bring just as many blessings as age seven. I pray that you will continue to grow into the person God has intended you to be and you can stay on His path, always. I pray that I can continue to see the good in things through your eyes, that I can continue to learn from your big heart and endless patience. I pray that you can learn from the lessons on the hard days, and can see all the blessings on the good days. I pray that you find confidence in your future but remain humble in your achievements. Above all, I pray you your heart remains kind and happy.
Happy 8th birthday, dude! You are my bestest friend; this life would be awfully dull without your light that shines so bright! I love you!