Dear Joshua,

We almost missed you, you know. For a while, dad and I thought maybe two kids were enough. We even started selling some of the baby gear. But then this feeling started growing in my heart. That someone was missing. Not everyone was here, yet. The decision was never about having a third child. It was about having you. The moment I held you in my arms, I knew our family was complete.

Just think of all we would have missed, if we had missed you, my love…..

Curiosity

All of life is one great explore for you. When we travel, it takes you only a few minutes to scope out the hotel room and find out where all the drawers are and what is in them. When we hike, you run on ahead. Or shinny up rocks and trees so you can take in the view. You take things apart. You experiment. You play. And our world is bigger because of you.

Celebration

I sometimes wish you could have had one of those mommies who make every occasion grand. That would be so fun for you. Instead, you are the one who transforms our porch for Halloween. You are the one who insists we put out all the nativity sets, and Santas, and angels…. You are the one who wraps our staircase in lights and garland. I thought I was crazy about Christmas til I met you. You have me beat. 🙂 Thank you for making life a party. For knowing that memories are a lacing together of one extraordinary moment after another.

Creativity

The most modest of meals becomes a feast when you put your hand to it. From the candles and flowers to the artful plating, you understand that a meal should delight ALL the senses. You bring this same creativity to your acting, your singing and your writing. I love watching you when an idea is forming itself in your head. I love how words tumble over one another as it bubbles out of you. Most recently, I have seen this creativity in your songwriting. Deep, poignant lyrics that pierce my heart. I look forward to watching you cultivate this gift in years to come. Thank you for a life sprinkled–yay verily, doused–with beauty.

Courage

I hardly think anyone can miss how much you have grown this year. Six or seven inches of vertical gain are difficult to overlook. And a man face now houses the eyes that used to belong to my little boy. But I think the most significant growth has been less obvious. Because it has happened inside.

Time after time this year you have put yourself out there, stepping into new situations–new school, new sport, new friendships, etc…. You acknowledge your fear, then plunge right into it. I can not tell you how proud I am of you. When you record your original songs and put them out there for your friends (and total strangers, for that matter) to see, I wonder what happened to that little boy with the practiced “shy look” who did not want to be noticed. When you dream audacious dreams, the mom in me wants to protect you and bid you set your sights a little more humbly. But you are teaching me with your courage. You make me want to be as brave as you.

Charity

Your kindness, your generosity, your intuition, your uninhibited displays of affection; these are gifts to everyone who knows you. They have been gift to me. I have loved watching you with your little niece this year. She adores you. I’m not surprised. 😉 I know you would give her the world if you could. Instead, you give her stuffed animals, dolls, clothes, books, toys… More importantly, you give her yourself. Your time. Your undivided attention. Your joy. This she loves about you. This I love about you. I know so much more about what it means to give myself away because of you. Thank you for that.

Dear son of mine, when I looked into your precious face for the first time fifteen years ago, I could not imagine how much richer, how much bigger, how much more fun my world was about to become. Thank you for being you. And thank you for letting me be your mommy.

Happy Birthday, Joshua!!

I love you!

God grant you many, many years!

*Photo at the top of the post: Josh with his cousins Anna and Ethan. (Thanks, Uncle Monty!)
**Photo at the bottom: Josh with his beautiful (inside and out) friends Gatlin and Jessie (Thank you, ladies!)