Say EIGHT. Say EIGHT | Jackson

 It seems little buddy isn't so little any more.
I mean, eight isn't a toddler.
And eight isn't preschool.
He's almost in high school folks.

And so, as is usually but not always tradition around here,
I'm going to take a minute to write a little Happy Birthday note
to Jackson.
From my heart to his.
And as a side note, he was chubby bunny when he was born.
Almost 10 pounds.
You owe me buddy. 
Big time.

Dear Buddy,
Just last week you were sick with the tummy flu
and I had you curl up in bed with me.
More for my convenience than anything else,
as I knew it was going to be an 'up-all-night-with-a-puking-child' kind of night.

And as you curled up beside me, you said in the sweetest little voice,
"Mommy, it's been a long time since I've slept with you."

I could eat you up!

They all said it would go quickly.
And they was all right.

How can you possibly be EIGHT already?

 [ And while we're on the topic of EIGHT ... If you've never seen
this clip of Brian Regan, it's a wonderful way to fit in one last belly laugh today.
Go ahead. Watch. Dare you not to laugh. ]

Back to Jackson.

Jackson, when I think of YOU, these are words that quickly come to mind:
easily excited

You love to laugh and you make it a priority to try to get others to laugh.

I think this year you have become more of a whistler than in previous years.
And while I admit that sometimes my ears get tired of whistles,
the overwhelming majority of the time I LOVE to hear your whistles.
I secretly catch myself grinning when I look over and see your happy little self whistling.
Whistling really equates to happy in my book.
You whistle very often and I love it.

You're a happy little boy who 
just wants others to be happy, too.

At eight, you still love puppies.
All animals really.
You're fascinated by sharks and whales and ocean life in general.
I think you'll be our scuba diving buddy one of these years.

You have a beautiful singing voice. 
I love hearing you sing,
especially praise music to Jesus.

Your love your friends.
You are Mr. Social and could spend HOURS after school at the playground.
And speaking of friends, 99% of your friends are girls.
Not that you don't like you guy friends,
but you've always been drawn to girls.
Oh boy.
I must immediately begin apologizing to the other parents in your class
because I know between now and 8th grade you'll probably break all of the girls' hearts.
Not on purpose of course.
But it seems inevitable.

We have to do some serious limiting of screen time,
 because if given the opportunity, you would screen it 24/7.
That's the tough part about parenting.
Striking the balance between giving your children what they want,
 but also being the parent and not letting them overload on things that,
if done too much, can lead to significant issues.
And so, you get to do some computer on the weekends and some videos on the weekends.
But that's about it.
And you're not always happy about that.
But I promise, it's for your good!

You are methodical and when concentrating, you take your time.
I have to remind myself to not hurry you up as I know that frustrates you.
I tend to be the opposite -- not methodical and NOT slow.
So this is a growth area for me. I don't want you to look back on
your childhood and think, "My mom was always rushing me."
So that's what I've secretly been working on.
 I want to let you be you -- who God wired you up to be!
I want to always be growing as a mommy, sensitive to your needs and Maddie's needs
and how those needs might be different from mine and from each others'.

Right now you are very into Legos and you're very good at them.
When a box says "9-16 year olds" and you put it together in a jiffy,
we just have to chuckle at how you're wired.
Amazing really.
So NOT how I'm wired.
Engineering might be in your future.
You're able to look at instructions and put things together.
And you stay very focused for hours when doing Legos.
Quite remarkable.

 You are a reader and I'm THRILLED about that.
If I did nothing else right in parenting, I was going to ensure that both my
children had a love of reading.
And they both do.
So now I shall sit back and quit parenting.
Because I have reached my goal.

Caught you curled up here yesterday morning, 
soaking up a Lego book.

Makes me SO happy.
Not because the Lego book is great literature.
Because it's not.
It is SO not.

BUT, when you choose to sneak away and read,
you're laying a foundation for a life of reading.
And THAT makes me happy.

You can't wait to get your bike off the garage ceiling.
It's been there all winter and you miss it.

You want JUSTICE. At all costs.
That's why when someone is mean to you or your friends
you take it VERY personally.
Some day you will stand up and fight for those that can't fight for themselves.
You will advocate for those that don't have a voice.
You'll be their voice.
This is a quality about you that moves me deeply.
You are an example to others on seeking justice and loving mercy.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that you have to be an adult to make a difference.
That's simply not true.
You're making a difference now.
And you're eight.

You care VERY deeply.
You feel VERY deeply.
So couple that with your passionate need for 

 Jackson buddy,
I'm so proud of WHO you are.
You have a big heart and you want to do the right thing.
You love people.
You want people to be treated fairly.
You are kind and compassionate.
You are tender and loving.

You love Jesus and I can't wait to see how your faith grows this year.

We pray every night that God would help you to have happy thoughts and happy dreams and
no bad thoughts or bad dreams.
And we pray that you'll dream about things like puppies and pizza and petunias and popcorn
and pumpkins and penguins.
And I hope when you're older and afraid that you'll turn to God and continue
to pray, asking Him to help with your fears.
I never tire of praying with you because my heart's cry is that
you will know, without a shadow of a doubt,
that God is there and you are NEVER alone and He does care about you
and every little {and big} need that you have. 

 Remember this verse buddy:
"I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, O God,
make me to dwell in safety."
Psalm 4:8

That verse carried me through 3 years of nightly fears in Indonesia
so my prayer is that it will carry you through your occasional fears, too.

Jackson, some day should you choose to get married and be a daddy,
then and only then will you begin to understand the depth of my love
for you, sweet boy.
Until then, you're just gonna have to trust that Mommy
loves you more than you could possibly imagine.

Now as you promised, you must not get another year older.
Eight is as old as you get.
I done spoke!

Love, Mommy

Oh, and one last thing Buddy Bud,
thank you for blowing kisses to me every morning when you get out of the car at school.
You have no idea how that makes my heart sing.
I know that some day you'll stop blowing kisses to me in public,
but for now, for these brief fleeting moments when you're eight years old,
and crazy about me,
I will snatch up those kisses and bury them deep in my heart.
 Your tender soul is a kindred spirit to mine.

And thank you for wanting me to tuck you in at night.
One last hug.
One last squeeze.

Oh, and by the way -- 
Happy EIGHTH birthday, 
Buddy Bud.


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