Days like today are good for remembering. Remembering and giving thanks. Because I am always very thankful for you, my firstborn son. You were born with a sense of responsibility which is evident in this photo.
• Remember the pre-dawn in Grand Rapids when Dad took off for the airport to fly home? The weight of commitment you felt on your twelve year old shoulders to keep us together as we drove two thousand miles home was almost too much. I drove the car, but you navigated, took charge of your little brother, and encouraged me.
• I remember walking with you to school the first day of first grade. Your hair was slicked back, your face fresh, you looked preppy in the red and white striped knit shirt with a collar. I cried all the way home, wanting one more moment of the way things used to be. You and your brother cried yourselves to sleep after we told you we planned to homeschool six years later.
• I will never forget the afternoon you busted into the house after school with your long stride, jumped up for your ritual flick of the ceiling fan, and landed your size 13 feet 1/4 inch away from your baby brother’s face. God was merciful to our family that day. Your tender heart was broken at the possibility that you could have hurt/killed him. Remember our wailing brought Dad running wet and naked down the stairs to see what was wrong!!
• I am embarrassed to remember my pride in you as a baseball player. Ugh! I was an over-the-top mom and you were much more balanced about your abilities. You took me aside after one game and said, “Mom, you were yelling ‘Strike him out Chris! You’ve done it before, you can do it again!’ Mom, the batter and I both knew that I had never struck him out and your yelling gave him the mental advantage.” But I have fond memories of watching you pitch and catch, of our car time driving to and from games, running situations, reviewing plays and just talking. You taught me to love the game of baseball.
• Your love of being on time often clashed with my perceived need to get everything done before we left. This was a weekly seesaw we played getting to church. But it was especially a dispute before long trips when I stayed up through the previous night working on my desk and was just starting to pack when you were ready to get into the car. While I haven’t changed, I am theoretically on your side. Keep it up.
• Your father taught me to respect you in your growing manhood. Another blushing memory! I had the screamin’ meemies about your treatment of a warmup jacket. Without saying a word to me, your Dad turned and looked you in the eye. “Chris, you are 15 and we aren’t going to do much reminding anymore. You can treat your possessions the way you want to and live with the consequences. We won’t nag you; you are old enough to take care of yourself.” And you were.
• I remember when we two read through the Ralph Moody books simultaneously. When I got a chance to read, I’d have to hunt out your hiding place and snatch the book. When I finished I squirreled it in my own hiding spot and you’d have to search for it.
• Last one: I remember the car-crazy boy you and your brother were. I was desperate to drum into you the fact that cars depreciate and houses appreciate. When you were seventeen I sat you down and penciled out how you could use sweat equity to make money tax free. You were so receptive and wanted to start right in. You bought your starter home at 19 and have been making it wonderful for seven years. I admire the way you learn new skills with each new home project.
Happy 26th Birthday. You are my Psalm 1 man. I see God’s blessings in your life and rejoice.