To Max, on your 7th birthday,

How is it that you are 7 already?  I know that it seems to you as if each day lasts an eternity and that time sometimes stands still.  But from my angle? Your life has happened in a heartbeat.

Each one of you kids is a bona fide blessing and miracle – God’s greatest gift to us.  But you, my friend, you are especially so.  See, you weren’t really on our radar because Dad and I had foolishly made other plans without consulting the Holy Spirit about what we were supposed to be doing.  Then, God sent you, the most shocking and wonderful surprise we’ve ever experienced.

It was you who taught us how to love, how to trust, how to be what we had been created to be.  You taught us what sacrifice is, pointed out our selfishness and helped us relearn everything we thought we knew. We are so thankful for that.

And we are thankful, too, for your patience.  As the eldest, you bear the brunt of our ineptness.  You are a walking experiment, blazing a trail for us with each breath you take.  Sometimes you are frustrated by our lack of expertise and for that I apologize. But know that Dad and I pray every day for the grace to be the parents you need and we try our hardest.

Somehow, sneakily, you have gone from a baby to a kiddo to a boy.  You are stretching and growing in body and spirit.  We are constantly amazed by your wisdom and your desire for holiness.  That is a gift straight from Jesus, a grace that we hope you strengthen and use.  Can you believe that in 7 more years you will be 14? A teenager! And in 7 more you’ll be 21! We are praying now that by then you will know God’s call and be following it with the passion and zeal that is so very much you.

And know, that even then when you are 21, you will still be my baby, my son.

Happy 7th Birthday, buddy.