Eight years ago today you came into this world and changed my life forever. You see, on the day you took your first breath, my mother’s heart began beating. Your tiny, little newborn self taught me how to love more deeply and selflessly than I had ever known.
(Nostalgic sigh.) Well, eight is big kid territory, and it makes your Mama a little nervous. But I’m excited for you. Excited for you to enter a new chapter in your kid life, the 8- to 12-year-old chapter. The chapter that will launch you into your teen years, which makes me more than a little nervous. But don’t get me wrong, Jack. You don’t make me nervous. It’s quite the opposite, actually, because I believe in you. I believe you are ready for this new chapter. Ready to step out of little kid land and take on new challenges. Ready to grow and change. Ready to be a leader.
In fact, you were born ready. You never wanted to be a baby. Baby food? No way. Crawling? Forget about it. You’ve always been years ahead of yourself. My begging and pleading to “Just stay little” always falls on deaf ears.
Your seventh year was a great one, full of happiness and abundant life. You thrived in 1st grade, grew two new front teeth, kicked butt in soccer, became an avid reader, rocked the pitcher’s mound in baseball and made Lego animation movies with your buddies.
And I adore watching you love on your baby sister, who thinks you hung the moon. She loves it when you play with her and read books to her. She calls your favorite book “Diarrhea of a Wimpy Kid” and you both laugh. Oh, that makes my mother’s heart happy.
One of the best quotes from our seven-year-old Jack was when Dad and I were going on a trip to New York City, leaving you and your sisters with Gram and Grampy for a few days. We dropped you off at their house, smothered you three kids with lots of hugs and kisses before walking out the front door, waving good-bye. And that’s when you said, with perfect timing and pitch, “They grow up so fast.” We nearly died laughing. Your quick wit is uncanny and your sense of humor is savvy. Never lose that, son.
So today we turn a page in the history of Jack William Stephens. Saying “so long” to the little kid years and “what’s up” to the big kid years. And as much as I want to hold onto my baby boy, this is all much bigger than me. I want more than anything for you to grow into the amazing young man you were created to be. The amazing young man God made you to be.
Today, on November 3rd, we celebrate you! The kind, intelligent, sensitive, artistic, witty, passionate and sometimes a little bit too intense boy we know and love. We are so proud of you and thankful for the gift you are to our family and to this world! May all your hopes and dreams come true!
I love you as big as the ocean, and all the way up to heaven!
Mom (Sadly, you don’t call me Mommy anymore. Big sigh.)