Monday, April 23, 2012


James, today you are eight.
Tonight while we all sat together at dinner, enjoying your favorite dinner of bean burritos and guacamole made from our very own avocados, Daddy asked me, "did you ever imagine all this, eight years ago?"
I didn't.
I never could have imagined how wonderful it would be.
That I would have 5 beautiful babies.
That my house and my heart would be so full.
And you, my darling firstborn, started it all.

This has been a big year for you.
You got another brother.
And with him you got all the new responsibility that a new baby brings.
You have risen to the challenge, James.
In fact, you've risen above it.
I remember that morning, shortly after Davy was born, and everyone was clamoring for breakfast.
For what seemed like the hundredth time, I explained I had to feed Baby Davy before I could make breakfast for everyone else.
"I can make breakfast," you said.
And you did.
And so you have continued to do so for all these months since.
In fact, your brother and sister like the way you make them breakfast better than I do now.
You know how to make their toast just right.

James, with each passing year I watch you grow into a more caring and loving boy.
Just the other day, as I was finally stepping into the shower at lunch time, and asking you to keep Davy company while he was in his play pen, you said to me, "just have a relaxing shower, Mommy.  I'll take care of everyone's needs."
Oh James, you are going to be the best husband!
Sometimes I feel like you carry too much of the weight of responsibility.
But I suppose that is the way of the first born.
You bear it well, and try all day long to be my helper.
I love that about you, James, and I appreciate it so very much.

I have seen you be brave this year, James.
And I have seen you face adversity and stand up under it.
For the first time in your little life, you have faced rejection.
You have known what it is to be last, to be discounted.
But you have persevered.
You have not given up, but have chosen to work hard, to get better, and to prove to others, and especially to yourself, that you are able.
I know it's been hard.
I know it's been scary.
You could have quit.
We wouldn't have minded one bit.
But you didn't, James.
And we are so proud of you.
I hope you'll always remember the way it felt yesterday, when you hit that ball so hard, on the very first swing, and then did it again, the next time you were up to bat.
You've learned something about yourself that will serve you your whole life.
No matter what anyone else says or does, when you set your mind to something, you can do it, and do it well.

Tonight, when we sat around the table, telling you the things we all love and admire about you, each of us revealed a different part of you.
Daddy said he admired the way you've been so brave this year.
I told you how much I appreciate your helpers heart.
Lilly said she likes when you get Grenade (Gatorade) at baseball games and share it with her.
William said he likes how you are a great baseball player and artist.
I like your art, too, James.
You are pushing yourself in that arena too.
Trying to draw in new ways, experimenting with shadowing and perspective, and drawing new things.
I love to see your imagination at work.
It's one of the greatest gifts God has given you.
While we were enjoying another birthday treat tonight, watching Ponyo, I loved seeing your face light up with pure delight at the magic of the movie.
That make-believe world, the beautiful drawings, they spoke to you.
I wonder often what you'll become, James.
With your love of stories and words, the way you dream things up, machines, robots, and fantastic vehicles, it is sure to be interesting.
You love adventure, exploring and a good cake.
I love that you are such an interesting and interested boy James.
I loved you at seven, and I know I will love you even more at eight.
Happy Birthday, my darling boy!
Love from,

*If you have never written a birthday letter to your child, I cannot encourage you enough to do so.
I have been writing them to my kids for years.  
They are the gifts that will long out last the Legos and new outfits that they get each year.  
You don't have to put them on a blog, put them in a notebook.
And if you don't consider yourself a writer, remember, your kids won't do a word count.
Even a short note, celebrating the year's accomplishments and telling him of the things you love about him, will be so dear to your child in later years.
It's one of my most favorite birthday traditions.
You can read some of my birthday posts here, here, here and here.


hennymats said...

Happy birthday James! Such a wonderful letter, Greta. So inspiring. Wishing you a wonderful week!

Lisa said...

Beautiful Greta...

meg + andy said...

This is so precious. Thank you for the encouragement to write to our kids. These little things get forgotten and unsaid so easily.

Lillian Wujek said...

These stories of your family life bring your father and I such joy. We thank the Father for your gift.

hannah singer said...

beautiful. i have written a few letters to elijah, i want to write more!

your james sure is a darling! xo