This year…

This morning you sleep in my house. I will cook for you. And wash your clothes. There will be music. And conversation. And laughter.

Once, this was the stuff of our everyday. Ordinary.

Not any more.

Some years grow us more than others. Such has been this year. So much has changed. And all of us have had to grow into the new of it. Today I honor you, my son, and remember…

This year you got your first real job. The kind you go to everyday. You learned to handle some pretty stressful situations. You took pride in your work and made many new friends.

This year you accumulated a whole bevy of musical instruments. And the crazy thing is you can play all of them. Your curiosity and chutzpa know no bounds. I love that about you.

This year you have wrestled (are wrestling) with big decisions about your future and how it is that you want to spend your life. You have asked important questions and looked deep within.

This year you have said a great many goodbyes. I know goodbye is not your favorite. But I have seen you seek ways to stay connected with good friends. And, of course, you have added a great many new folks to your circle of friendship.

This year you fell in love. It has been beautiful to watch you grow into love with this precious young woman. To see your tenderness and kindness, your creativity and generosity, take precise aim. She is a lucky girl.

This year you moved away. I won’t pretend to write this without a catch in my throat. But I am so proud of how you have handled yourself. I knew you were ready. I knew you would love having friends just outside your door, and you do. I knew you would sit out on the grass and play your music into the night. I did not know you and some friends would buy hammocks and erect little hammock highrises for your moonlight forays. But I am not surprised.

For nineteen years I have had the privilege of watching you grow. Watching you discover all that it means to be Jake; find the hidden nooks and crannies of the self God created you to be. It is a process that will take the whole of your life. But this year you have made some giant strides. I have never been more proud of you.

Happy Birthday, Beloved! God grant you many, many, many, many, many years! (Is that enough “many”s? 😉 *inside joke*)