Nine

Last Thursday, my firstborn turned nine.

As usually happens whenever one of my children has a birthday, I tend to have a bit of emotional wrenching as my memory juxtapositions images of them in my arms on their very first day breathing air on the "big boy" faces that are now before me. However, the advantage of the now is that instead of holding a beautiful, mysterious ball of potential that was in all ways completely selfish and which I adored unconditionally anyway, I now get to see potential in various stages of realization. It is quite exciting, really.

So, to celebrate the start of one more spin around the sun for you, Jude, here are nine things I can see in you right now:

  1. You have a servant's heart. You love to help your dad and me, and you look for ways to serve your friends. I was recently thrilled to hear your teacher praising you in this area, and for you to sheepishly volunteer how you had been cleaning your friend's desk while he was away.
  2. You are so intelligent. You learn quickly, and your visual learning style allows you to excel in school. This strength is a blessing you will appreciate even more as the years go by.
  3. You love to learn. At home, you spend much of your free time researching strange facts or reading books about animals. I still hear phrases that begin with "Mom, did you know...?" fairly frequently. And you know what? Sometimes I didn't know! :-D
  4. You are so creative. You are always coming up with fun little projects to do, although you don't always finish them. However, most of the time you do (I know you'll get that papier machΓ© volcano done one of these days!) and it is so great to see you entertaining yourself and learning at the same time.
  5. You are learning to think--to analyze, check out what's going on, figure out the situation. Sometimes, I get frustrated that you don't do this as well as I'd like, but I need to remind myself that you are only a young boy, and don't have the life experience to always understand what certain things mean.
  6. You show love by spending time. Your dad and I have known this about you for years, but it still touches my heart that even if I only carve out a small part of my day to spend with you, it still means so much to you. You are really enjoying your morning rides to school with Daddy for this reason, too.
  7. You love to read. You went through all 28 "Magic Treehouse" books that I brought out in mid-August in less than two weeks. You love reading fiction and non-fiction alike. You are currently working on Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I recently read that "One cannot open a book without learning something." Keep it up, buddy. No wonder you are so smart!
  8. You love to organize. You regularly organize your room, and I have been thrilled to see that making your bed in the morning is becoming a habit. Just you wait--you'll be organizing your movies alphabetically and your shirts by colour before long, too! (Actually, I would just be happy if you started organizing your shirts at all! How come that part of the character trait hasn't kicked in, yet?)
  9. You can be a bit bossy. However, if you can channel that by learning how to use people skills, and in combination with your many other positive traits such as compassion, creativity, intelligence, and a heart of service, you will become a great leader someday. We all lead by example to someone--and I am so glad to know that you are already spreading an example that is worth following.
I just keep loving you more, little man. I can hardly wait to see what the next year will bring!