Oh man, kid. I started writing these letters to you just days after you were born, the idea of you some day reading them a far off dream, eons away. And now, kiddo. The little sack of cheeks and cranky that you were as a baby grew up into a little man of muscle, curiosity, tenderness, and compassion when I wasn’t looking. Seriously, I feel like I looked away for a single millisecond, and you suddenly shot up to be my shoulder height. I tell you all the time that I love you, Judeabug, and I hope you feel that down to your bones. There’s something else I want to make sure you know though, because it’s deeply true. I like you. In fact, the older you get, the more I like you. You are truly fun to be around, you’re so quietly and unassumingly thoughtful, and when you lay your head on my shoulder and scoot close, all is right in my world. I’m amazed by your sense of self and sense of confidence. You carry with you such a sense of being comfortable with who you are and how God made you. It’s inspiring, my sweet boy. And you’re funny. You don’t clamor for attention in your sense of humor, you just see the world through eyes of amusement and wonder, and you give me such a great gift in allowing me to see that, too.
You know what happened just the other day that actually perfectly illustrates your humor and self-confidence? I was picking you up from school, and as is usually the case in our daily life right now, all three of you were jumping, bouncing, and chatting like little Tasmanian devils around me. You stopped jumping for a second and said, “Mommy?”
Jude, you get this look in your eyes that I love. Your pearly blue eyes twinkle and start to crinkle up, and you slightly smile sideways, barely able to hold in the amusement you’re sharing. My world stops for a second when you do that, holding its breath to hear whatever curiosity awaits. You continued, “Do you know something that I thought only happens in cartoons, but actually happened to me? In real life?!” You proceeded to tell me that when you were at recess that day, you bent down to get something and the seam of your pants went, “riiiiiip!” My eyes widened for a second, fearful of how embarrassed you must have been. Of what the other kids said. Of how you went through the rest of the day with a giant hole in your pants. And do you know what you said? You said, with gleaming eyes and a giant, toothy grin, “It was the most hilarious thing to happen to me EVER! It’s like I was in a cartoon, I told everyone about it!” Jude, you seriously thought you were the luckiest kid alive to have experienced something so singularly hilarious in your school day. And you know, because you thought it was so hilarious, you circumvented any teasing that might have happened. I can just picture you telling the story to the other kids, your infectious laughter and joy convincing them that you were, indeed, quite lucky to have ripped your pants with so many friends around to witness the hilarity.
My favorite part of motherhood is watching you come alive in your gifts and who God made you to be. I expect that I’ll always love seeing how His plans and purposes for you unfold, what an honor I have to walk with you in those discoveries. This past year I have been seeing blooms of creativity sprouting up in you. You have no less than five journals at any given time (and dude, you leave them everywhere), and we regularly find you hunched over one of them with pencil in hand, writing and drawing the world around you. I see you making sense of things, ordering your ideas and thoughts, and expressing your feelings, fears, and dreams through your creativity. More and more, you’re asking if you could have some time by yourself. Time to read, to write, to dream, to tinker, to draw. When people see you, they tend to see your mind first. You’re smart, you’re highly verbal, you’re logical, and your curiosity about the world around you drives you to have an insatiable thirst for all things scientific. But there’s an emerging side of you with which I see you experimenting. I see that you’re sensitive – you deeply feel the hurts, worries, and pain of others. I see that you’re creative – you express yourself with a unique and interesting perspective through writing and drawing. I see that your heart is tender, that you’re loyal, and that you would do just about anything to fix the injustices of the world.
You’re eight years old, buddy. God is doing big things in your life, and He is preparing you even now for His purpose. I like you, Jude. I like you, I love you, and I’m so proud of who you are.