Thursday, December 11, 2008

To Kiddo on his 5th birthday

Dear Kiddo,

I know you can't read yet, and you probably wouldn't be all that interested if I tried reading this letter to you, since there won't be references to Spiderman or LazyTown or Moxie. But I'm going to write it anyway, because I'm your dad and this is the kind of sappy thing parents do when their kids have birthdays. You'll understand someday.

Mommy and I try every day to tell you how much we love you and how proud we are of you. You're growing up into such a cool person--even if you weren't my son, you'd still be one of my favorite kids. You love to make people've always had a way of doing that. But you're caring and sensitive, too. You genuinely care about others, and are sensitive to their thoughts and feelings. I hope you continue to develop and nurture those two traits especially, because as you get older, other boys might not see them in the same positive light that your parents do. There will come a time in your life (maybe not too long from now) when being caring and sensitive hurts, and you'll be tempted to grow that same shell of cynicism and selfishness that so many other people have. It will protect you, yes, but it will come at a cost.

It will come at the cost of being able to feel anything--even joy, or love. And once it's grown, it's so hard to crack. And even harder to shed. Some people carry that shell around with them their entire lives, and its tremendous weight eventually distorts them almost beyond recognition. May you continue to remain caring and sensitive, even though that means being vulnerable and sometimes unprotected.

What an incredible big brother you are, too. Pumpkin is very lucky to have someone like you to watch out for her and who loves her the way you do. Already, Mommy and I can see that she's starting to look up to you, and that's only going to grow. The bond between siblings is a special one.

And your faith. My son, your faith in God is a sight to behold, and an inspiration to your dear old dad. I just love our conversations in the car to and from preschool--just yesterday, you told me that God must really like to joke, because he keeps fooling all the weather forecasters. You know that Jesus is your friend, and he's always the first thing you say you're thankful for, followed usually by your family and the world. As you get older, your questions will become more complicated, your thoughts will be more in-depth, your faith will be more mature. But your love for prayer is that your love for God and your assurance of God's love for you may be as strong as it is today.

Five years ago this morning, Mommy and I were checking into the labor and delivery floor of the hospital. Little did we know that we still had 14 hours to wait until we got to meet you (your birthday was ALMOST tomorrow!). It seems like so long ago, but yet not so much. Time flies...and it doesn't. All at the same time. I know that sounds weird, but that's the way things get when you become an adult. Someday you'll be feeling the same way.

I love you SO much, Kiddo. As you like to say, I love you all the way to heaven and back. And I'm so proud of you, and who you are becoming. You are an articulate, compassionate, funny, curious, confident, and intelligent young man. May God bless you on this special day, and on all the rest of the days to come.

You'll be getting plenty of gifts, but I want to leave you with two special gifts right now.

The first is a song. My mom--your grandmother--gave me a gift of a song many years ago. It wasn't her was originally written by Bob Dylan, in fact. But it may well could have been her song. I want to give you that song, too. It's called Forever Young, and is Mommy's and my prayer for you. Our favorite rendition is by Joan Baez:

And here's the lyrics:

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

My second gift is this: I know you like to look at pictures--here's a very small sampling of pictures of you from the last five years:




hereistand said...

Beautifully said. Beautifully written.

Ditto ... and ditto.

Anonymous said...

It was great seeing your whole family last weekend! Wish Kiddo a happy birthday for me, I'm sure he has had a great day!

Cousin Gail

Anonymous said...

Matt - you have beautiful children! What an awesome thing to give your son. You are a truly amazing and compassionate man and dad. Hope you and your family are well! Happy Birthday Kiddo!

And old friend,
Chad Melody

Anonymous said...

"God must like to joke because he's fooling all the weather forecasters."

Thanks, now I'm getting looks because I'm laughing out loud at Panera. :-)

That picture of you with the tie and him smiling is the cutest one I've seen of Kiddo yet. Happy birthday, Kiddo!

Rev Scott

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

you proud pappa! if only the world could be filled with fathers who had such love for their children and took the time to express it to them.... ah....