You turned 4 years old this summer. It doesn't seem like a "milestone" birthday, but it was for me.
I remember the night after you were born . . . you were about 30ish hours old. We had been moved to one of those tiny little nesting rooms in this hospital to wait out your 12 extra hours of observation. I was holding you and bouncing around in what little floor space there was in the room, trying one of the millions of techniques I had read about for soothing a baby.
As I was bouncing it hit me like a ton of bricks . . . I had read everything there was to read on caring for a baby. But I knew that someday you would be 4 years old. I don't know why I chose that age, but I did.
I stared at you and kept thinking that. "Someday, he'll be a four year old." It panicked me. I knew what to do for your first year, but after that I was clueless. For the next few years, I'd find myself in moments of panic thinking "I'm going to have a four year old someday. What on earth do I do then?"
But here you are . . . 4 years old. We made it. But now all I can think about is that you'll someday be a teenager.
We've had a good summer. You've matured a lot . . . for a four year old, that is. You listen in on our adult conversations and will bring them up at other times, wanting to talk about whatever it was we were discussing. This week, there was an earthquake in Virginia and you just caught a few seconds of it on the news. That night, you wanted to pray for the people who "had their house shaking." You can understand more than I sometimes give you credit for.
You've grown spiritually, too. I love the questions you ask and I love to hear you pray. They're not "little kid" prayers any more. You talk to God about what's on your mind, pray for people who you know are hurting or sick and thank God for everything he's given us. Last night, you even prayed for the person who stole my cell phone out of our van. I've heard you telling Ben that he needs to be thankful for what he has because some kids aren't lucky enough to have what you do.
Speaking of Ben . . . he loves you so much. Sure, you guys fight sometimes, but for the most part, he copies everything you do. It's funny to watch, and I know sometimes you get frustrated when he tries to do and say everything you do, but if you're asked, you'll say that Ben is your best friend. I love that about you guys.
From the time you found out we were having another baby, you were intent on having a baby sister. You got your wish! You're such a good brother and I know she'll be so grateful to have you.
You've loved hanging out with all of the counselors this summer, and as it's come to an end, I see a sadness. You built such solid relationships with them and I appreciate how much of an influence they have on you. It's just you, Ben, me and dad now . . . I know I'm not always enough, but I sure do try to be.
I don't always know how to handle you Jack. You're so smart and sometimes that intelligence leads to mischief beyond your years. I'm not always sure how to react when you laugh as I try to discipline you. I don't always know the best consequence for when you sneak a sucker from my desk drawer. I'm not always sure what to do when you disobey. I yell sometimes, because I don't know how else to get your attention . . . I'm sure that frustrates you, too.
I really do always try my best. I hope that some day, as you're chronicling the mistakes of your parents, you'll run across these letters and feel assured that though we're not perfect, we love you and are doing our very best to help you become a good person. A kind person. The kind of man God is calling you to be.
I love you!