Oh my darling, you are seven! Finally! Being the youngest in your class means it seems like your wait is the longest even though everybody gets the same 365 day waiting period. 7! You made it!!
This has been a year of growing up! When we came back from summer vacation, all the parents and teachers talked about how much you’ve grown. It’s striking. You learned how to ride a bike without training wheels, and just got a brand new bigger one for your birthday. It’s green with hand brakes. You are a fast cyclist and can go for an hour. In fact, going on bike rides was one of your favorite activities this summer.
Another was reading. You began reading chapter books this spring. Your summer goal was to read 34 books, but you surpassed that by July. Your favorite book series are Puppy Place, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Bad Kitty and Chris Brown, Class Clown. You’ve also loved me reading the Little House on the Prairie series to you, and often refer to those characters in conversation. It has been a delight to share those books with you and Max. We went so crazy; sometimes we’d sit around and read 5 chapters at once! Taking a bike ride to the library is tops for you.
You continue to be an exceptionally bright child. You can do math in your mind quicker than Max and he’s really smart. You know some multiplication even though you haven’t been taught it. You like numbers and solving problems. That will serve you well. You got straight A-s all year, which means that you got an Archangel Honor Roll trophy at the awards assembly. You were so excited about that!
You have always loved animals, but this year your adoration of dogs went to a whole new level. You love all dogs, especially Betsy. You wish she would love you more than Daddy, but she does love you a lot. You put your face right next to hers for good morning and good night kisses everyday. I even let you put your plate on the floor to eat like a dog one night!
You are a huge football fan! You’re already an expert who can accurately call plays. You still remember the score from the football game you saw a year ago. (You also went to baseball and basketball games. Go Canes!) My favorite is watching you play football by yourself or with Daddy and Max. It’s hilarious, because you dodge imaginary players and are sometimes even sacked! It was hard for me not to give you the football helmet you desperately wanted for Christmas. I just knew you would ram your head into things with it, and I can’t let you hurt your brain. (Sorry, not sorry.)
You aren’t perfect. No child is. Right now you struggle with putting in the effort when things are hard. I think you feel intimidated if you can’t be perfect, so you occasionally shy away from trying your best. When I nudge you, you realize that you are capable. I want you to know that you are always capable, and that if you don’t know how to do something, it’s only because you haven’t learned it yet, not that you’re bad at it. I know mistakes are hard. They are hard for me too, but part of growing is learning that mistakes are also good. There are certain things in life that you can only learn by failing first.
Back to the good stuff!
This year you were on your first sport teams. First, you ran cross country where you earned three medals running the mile! In one race, you got 3rd place. It was a 1st and 2nd grade race. You were a 1st grader, although age-wise you should’ve been a kindergartner. Only two 2nd graders beat you. That’s fast!! You were also on your school’s soccer team, where you were really good and got right into the action. It made me happy to see you play because you had missed out the year before. At the Athletic Banquet, you earned your Letterman A and two pins for it.
But the biggest sports highlight was Little League! You played for the Marlins and won Rookie of the Year. You are great at batting, catching and throwing. Your coaches noticed how you had your head in the game. Brains matter in sports too, especially baseball, with so many shifting variables. There is nothing cuter than you in your baseball uniform. I died every time I saw you, slugger.
That’s it for your accomplishments, and as great as they are, that’s not what’s important in life. It’s who you are as a person that matters. Jack, you radiate a sunbeam I can’t get enough of. Your heart is pure, earnest and open for love. You make us laugh everyday with silly faces, funny voices and wild outfits. I love that you can take a joke and laugh at yourself sometimes. It took a while to get there. You have a lot of friends because you have such a vivacious personality. You inspire so much love.
But you have a tender heart. Not many people know that. It’s my job to protect it and to teach you how to strengthen it. What I wish the most is for you to understand what a miracle you are! You are a child of God! From the moment you were born, I knew that you had extraordinary gifts and an important purpose in life. You were given Daddy, Max and me to help you navigate this path, so you are never alone. You are always loved and cherished. The inherent goodness of your soul shines everyday. I wish you could see it as clearly as I do.
You are sunshine itself, my son.