Dear Philippe,

You’re seven now. SEVEN! I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it. I mean really, how did that happen?

My wish for you, bud, is that you have 12 times as many years ahead of you, each better than the last. And I hope, too, that at the end of those days you will still remember the week you turned 7.

I hope you will recall how you requested eight months before the day to receive your first confession on your birthday and how you asked to have Fr. Christensen administer the sacrament becauses he baptized you. I hope you never forget that we drove to Timberlake to make it happen and then stayed the night with Father and enjoyed his pool table and a Mardi Gras party. I pray you never forget the joy you felt at being reconciled to God and being old enough to make that step on your own.

I hope you will remember going to Chuck E. Cheese on the real, actual day of the anniversary of your birth. Yes, Chuck E. Cheese! May you never forget the MacGyver party (though it gave me much grief) and the bomb cake dad and I made. And never, ever forget the feeling you had upon receiving your very first one hundred dollar bill.

I hope you forget the nasty coughing sickness you came down with, but it will be hard consideering you felt like poo the day of your first pine wood Derby race. I do hope you will remember making your car with dad and watching the race. Never forget the wonder and excitement and surprise you felt at receiving a second place trophy.

Your birthday week was such a full one. I hope this year can compare to those special seven days that marked your magnificent seven years.

We love you, kiddo.