During the last week of our summer vacation in Texas, we celebrated the boys’ birthdays with a joint party at the park. When we asked Sam and Peter how they would like to celebrate, they both agreed that a water balloon fight would be the way to go. So we did, and I think Joe would tell you that his hands are still sore from filling up a few hundred balloons.
Despite the looming fear of thunderstorms and a pesky park ranger who had too much time on his hands, we had a great time. After stuffing themselves with pizza, fruit and cupcakes, the kids played to their hearts’ content and had a water balloon fight that our boys are still talking about. Just yesterday, Sam remarked, “Mom! I didn’t even see your aunt and uncle (who were definitely there) at our birthday party because I was having too much fun!”
What more could we have hoped for?
Three years ago today, around two o’clock in the afternoon, we were all making our last guesses as to whether or not we would soon be holding a little boy or girl in our arms . Many thought we would be having a daughter that day, but to our great delight, we had our Peter William. He was born quickly (comparatively to his brother’s birth) and his Daddy exclaimed, “It’s a BOY!” I’ll never forget how he felt in my arms that day or the shrill of his first squeal. He was making his presence known and has been making me laugh ever since.
I’ve never met a personality quite like my Peter’s. He marches to the beat of his own drum and I don’t just mean that figuratively, I mean it quite literally. He doesn’t walk. He marches. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he is taking the world by storm, leading the charge, still making his presence known. Though he be but small, he is fierce. Though he be but fierce, he is tenderhearted. A lover and a fighter. Bold and shy. Barefoot and wild. Silly and sweet. Adorable and a complete stinker. Feisty and utterly hilarious. We would not change a single thing about him.
There is no one else in the world quite like Peter and it is our great joy to celebrate him today on his third birthday. We love you, son, and we are so grateful to Jesus for the gift of your life.
How old are you? “Three”
Who made you? “Jesus”
Where do you live? “Papa and Sassy’s house”
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? “Play puzzles at home”
What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? “Play puzzles at home”
What is your favorite thing to do with Sam? “I don’t want to do anything with Sam”
Who is your best friend? “Mommy and Daddy”
What is your favorite book? “Curious George”
What character in a book do you like best? “George”
What Bible verse is your favorite? “Jesus loves me”
What is your favorite thing to build? “Sandcastles”
What is your favorite food to eat? “Pepperoni Pizza”
What is your favorite thing to play? “Puzzles”
Where do you love to visit? “Papa and Sassy’s”
What song do you like to sing the most? “Jesus loves me”
If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? “Books”
What is your favorite animal? “Giraffes”
If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? “Curious George book for Papa and Sassy”
What would you like to do when you grow up? “Be Jesus”
What do you enjoy doing outside? “Play with toys”
What holiday do you love celebrating? “Christmas”
What is your favorite restaurant? “Noodles and Company”
What is your favorite special treat? “Popsicles”
If you could be like anybody when you grow up, who would it be? “Jesus”
What do you love most about being a little brother? “I love Sam”
What do you want to do today on your birthday? “Look at penguins”
It was not that long ago, it seems, when we were holding him in our arms for the very first time. We tried not to blink, but despite our best efforts, here we are celebrating his fifth birthday!
As sweet as those first years were with our Sam, we don’t ever want to begrudge our children growing older. We want to love and delight in each season of their lives more than the one before. So that is what our hope is for today, not to wish this time away and pine for the baby days, but to celebrate the incredible little boy God is growing up right in front of our eyes.
So on your fifth birthday, our dear boy, here are five ways we see God’s gracious hand uniquely at work in your life, ways in which we are so thankful.
1.) You protect. Just in the last year or so, we’ve seen such a quick instinct to protect those around you. Whether it is ensuring that everyone you are with gets on the elevator safely before the doors shut or standing between your brother and the cars as we walk across the street. You are brave and you are quick to watch out for those around you, especially if you think they could get hurt. We love this about you, Sam. God is like this. He protects those he loves and keeps them from harm. We pray God only strengthens this trait in you.
2.) You are tenderhearted. One of our favorite settings to see you in is when you are around those younger than you, especially babies. You are thoughtful and caring and gentle and so adoring of little ones. When we babysit, you take charge. You entertain, anticipate needs, work hard, and are so tender with them. Already at five years old, we are getting a taste of the kind of father you will be one day and it makes us proud.
3.) Wherever you are, you’re all there. Whatever you do, you do it with all of your heart. You have a passionate, full-of-life personality. You are passionate about your family. Passionate about your friends. Passionate about stories, learning, and playing. Passionate about food. Passionate about life. Passionate about imagining. You teach us daily to live with all of our might.
4.) You are attentive. Nothing gets by you. You have a steel trap for a memory. Whether it be places we’ve been, songs we’ve sung, experiences we’ve shared, people you’ve met, conversations you’ve had, or things your parents have misplaced- you remember every detail and are quick to remind us if we forget. God is like this too, counting hairs on every head and never losing sight of even the smallest sparrow.
5.) You rise to the challenge. You love to lead. Even your preschool teacher told us that you are a leader with many followers! You love to direct and take charge and include everyone, whether it be in imaginary play or a game of baseball in the front yard, you want to make things happen. We pray God takes this good instinct that he fashioned in you and uses it to love people and lead them to his Son.
Happy 5th Birthday, Samuel Jonathan! Having a front row seat to your life these past five years has been one of the greatest honors of our lives. Our cup runneth over for you, sweet child.
An Interview with Sam on his Fifth Birthday:
What day is today, Sam?: “My birthday!”
How old are you? “Five.”
Who made you? “God”
Where do you live? “Minnesota”
What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? “Wrestle”
What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? “Make tortillas”
What is your favorite thing to do with Peter? “Play puzzles”
Who is your best friend? “Peter and Colin and Rylee and Carson and Coleman and Lily and JJ and Julia and Elizabeth and Hannah Kate and Micah and John Owen, but Peter is my best friend”
What is your favorite book? “Silver Chair, Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle”
What character in a book do you like best? “Edmund, Aslan, and Tirian”
What is your favorite Bible Story? “Jesus dying on the cross”
What is your favorite thing to build? “Block cities”
What is your favorite food to eat? “Mac and Cheese”
What is your favorite thing to play? “Baseball, except it’s really Tee-ball”
Where do you love to visit? “Texas”
What song do you like to sing the most? “Oo-de-lally” (Theme song for Robin Hood)
If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? “Toys”
What is your favorite animal? “Buffalos and Horses”
If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? “A piggy bank for Carson and Coleman”
What would you like to be when you grow up? “A house builder”
What do you enjoy doing outside? “Play at the playground and water balloon fights”
What holiday do you love celebrating? “Christmas”
What is your favorite work to do at school? “Math”
What is your favorite restaurant? “Chipotle”
What is your favorite special treat? “Donuts”
What do you love most about being a big brother? “I like to play with Peter”
What do you want to do today on your birthday? “Eat cupcakes”
What was your favorite thing about being four? “Going to Lily’s birthday party!”
What are you most excited about in turning five?! “Doing math at school!”
It doesn’t seem that long ago when the wardrobe doors opened for the first time and ushered our little Sam inside, eleven months to be exact.
Tonight, before Sam was tucked into bed, Joe read aloud the very last chapter of The Last Battle, a day that has been highly anticipated in our home in recent months.
It’s hard to measure or describe the shape our family has taken this past year because of these stories, but even more so because of the profound effect they’ve had on our son. After each book was read aloud by Joe, we would then let Sam listen to the audio version for a few weeks before moving on to the next book in the series. This proved to only deepen Sam’s fascination and love for the world of Narnia- a flame which we were happy to fan. Those closest to us know that if you want to reach in and open up Sam’s heart and mind (and mouth for hours on end), a sure way to do that is through his dear friends Peter and Edmund and Aslan and Lucy.
When a friend of ours asked Sam if he would be sad when the last Narnia book was done, Sam confidently said:
“Nope, because after the 7th book is the 8th!”
Could there be such a book? our friend wondered.
“Yep! The Adventures of Edmund! I’m writing it!”
Sam continued with an excited grin on his face …
“I’m pretending to be C.S. Lewis!”
So what will we do now that we’ve finished? Where will we go from here? It seems the only answer that will suffice is this:
It’s time to begin again…
If you are interested to see what we’ve read in years past…
“…I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…” John 11:25-26