My boy, you turn four today.
And it might not seem like a huge milestone of a birthday. But as I stare at you–my firstborn boy who gave me my Mama name, it is. Four is a big deal to you. And it is to me, too. Because today I look back on 4 years.
I look back on 208 weeks. 208 pennies invested.
1,461 days that I call blessed because you were a part of them. A big part.
And as I look back on all of those days that are gifts because with each one I have gotten to know you more–I delight in the things I have come to love about you.
I love that you exhaust your coloring books and that one of your favorite pastimes is solving mazes.
I love that when I sat down to teach your little brother his colors, he already knew them, because you had beaten me to the task.
I love to watch how your mind works. Like the other day when you brought me a sticker. It was blue and green, but you kept insisting there was white on it, too. “No Honey, it’s only blue and green,” I kept correcting you. But you were persistent.
Then I watched as you tilted the sticker, adhered to the tip of your finger, back and forth, observing as the sunlight pouring through the window glinted off of the shiny surface.
“You’re right Baby! The sunshine makes the sticker white. It’s a reflection, just like when you look in the mirror and see a reflection of yourself.”
“No Mama….” Your mouth broke into full grin as you began to laugh that enchanting laughter of yours “I’m not a sticker!”
I love the way that you always want a heart tattoo on your wrist to match Mommy and Daddy’s.
I love the way you remind me that you “Love to run and jump and climb trees and swim and play…and talk!”
I love your enthusiasm for life. And for both blue skies and torrential downpours.
I love the way you make friends everywhere you go. And not just “Hi you are now my friend.” friends, but actual friends.
You endear others to yourself, no matter their age, color, or background—you embrace them for who they are. You share without reserves. I love watching other kids simply enjoy being around you. I pray you never relinquish that kindness in your spirit.
I love how your little boy prayers always reveal to me your heart. How you always thank Jesus for the strawberry patch, the train station, the kids at the park, and cookies from Grandma.
I love the concentration etched across your brow as you conquer new tasks, and how you ball your hands into fists and pump them back and forth as you run while yelling, “Look! I’m running so fast!” All. The. Time.
And you do run fast, my boy.
I love your courage to attempt new challenges, and the persistence you show in conquering them.
I love your sensitivity as you pick up on when you might have hurt someone’s feelings, and that you are quick to apologize and make things right.
I love that I rarely ever have to solicit a Please or Thank You from you because politeness is ingrained in who you are.
I love that you could play outside all day, every day. And I love my time with you whenever we sit in the dirt and play together because, “The trucks have jobs to do!” So we’d better get to it.
I love that shy and contended smile that creeps across your face when I tell you that I am proud of you. And although I know you don’t quite understand the meaning of “proud” yet, I also know that you kind of do. Because whenever I say it to you, you reply with, “Oh, I make you happy?”
Yes, little man. You make me very happy.
Today you are four, and you are big, and you are brave, and you are strong.
But there is something I need you to know about that big boy strength, especially as it carries you on towards manhood.
I penned it in that little journal I began when I saw those two pink lines and learned you were on the way, the journal I’ll hand over to you when all of our 936 pennies are invested and you head off on your own, I pray it over you again today:
“I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Ezekiel, hold true to your name’s meaning; may the Lord always be your strength.