Wow oh wow oh wow. On Sunday, at 4:01 p.m., my baby will be a decade old. TEN YEARS. We are still discovering you– finding out new things every day– and you are ten years old!?… wow.
You’ve grown up quite a bit in just this last year. Not only in height– all of your jeans and school trousers were (practically overnight) flood pants– but in giving us glimpses into what the Man version of Jack will be. Your imagination grew this year, too. Your stories about Vor and your descriptions of things you’ve seen or read are far more elaborate. Your anxiety grew, too– the dark side of having a good imagination.
A lot happened this year that I think you’ll remember. You started fourth grade so excited to FINALLY have a man teacher– the wonderful Mr. S. You and your buddies soaked up his sense of humor and loved the nicknames he gave each of you (Jack-a-roni). Just as you started getting into cool projects with the iPad and the school year felt settled-into everything went topsy-turvy. Mr. S left room 14 for a principal job in another district. It was hard to watch you and the other fourth graders process that– it was a loss and a blow. I was proud when, after you admitted how sad you were, you thought of him and how good of an opportunity it was for Mr. S to see his dreams come true (even when it meant your dreams got a bit derailed). Mrs. N had big shoes to fill– it took all of us– students and parents– a while to get used to a new gait. But you did. And when your grades dipped you listened to us and worked hard to get them back up to snuff again. This year with Mrs. B has started so beautifully– your grades are stellar and we’ve gotten rave reviews of how responsible and respectful you are in her class. (And your Mom’s heart just grew a few sizes…)
This was the year you sang a solo in the Christmas play– you were one of the Three Kings of Orient Are (were) and Daddy and I about burst to hear your voice rise up so clear and true. You’ve served the church as an acolyte this year. You take that role seriously and only complained a little when the bulk of the Sundays fell to you because you were the one that was usually there. You’ve read just about as much of the Bible as your Dad and I– which is wonderful and scary all at the same time for us. That amazing memory of yours has helped us several times when we are working on our Bible study– you’ve got the kings and chronology down cold.
Nine year old Jack had a lot of adventures, too. We celebrated your ninth year with a trip to Chicago and the venerable Field museum to see the dinosaurs and the case after case of animals. You had two seasons of soccer with Coach Aric where you’ve developed some mad goalie skills. There have been birthday parties and sleepovers (still can’t believe our plastered ceilings survived that last one!) and movie dates with AunT. You spent a weekend with Maddie and Keegan at their college townhouse and a weekend with the newlyweds in their first apartment. Over Spring Break we took a quick trip to the ROM in Toronto (more dinosaurs!) and to play at Niagara Falls. This summer it was just you and me– no Nanny McMaddie or Kat’s Boot Camp– so there was a lot of mornings where you went into the office armed with Legos, books, and DVDs. (Thank goodness for your iPad and Amazon Prime!)And there was a battery of camps– science and soccer and drama mixed in with your first full week at Wesley Woods and a week with the grandparents at the Lake.
We really saw how much you’ve grown the night we couldn’t find you at Family Camp. While Daddy, your cousins, a slew of friends, and I fanned out across the camp looking for our lost sheep– you were happily sitting at your buddy Reese’s camp fire with her family. When we finally had you in our arms you said, “But Mom– I didn’t know where you were so I made sure to stay with a grown up.”
You finally got a boy cousin this year in Tyler. He and Maddie chose you to be the Master of Rings at their wedding. You were ridiculously handsome in your tie and trousers that matched the groomsmen. You swallowed your nervousness about being in front of so many people when you finally understood that it wasn’t about you but about Maddie and Tyler. We saw that click in your head when you realized that you are so loved by them. (And nice touch, escorting AunT down the aisle with the light saber. You helped her with her nerves that day, too.)
You have a good set of friends. AJ & Brady, Colin & Gabe, and Max– there is no end to the fun in hearing the six of you chatter about Minecraft and school and sports and StarWars. You are starting to learn that there is a lot to be said about association– and you’ve chosen a group of friends that rallies around each other.
Best of all you are still our baby. You still snuggle up in our bed most mornings with the pups and your parents. This is when we hear a lot about what you’re thinking about or worrying on. You can beat us both on Wii MarioKart. You love a good game of Uno or Guess Who or Heads Up (we love when you pick ‘Accents’ for the category. Your Australian accent cracks us up every time). You love having guests for dinner (especially AunT) and are pathetically sad when the answer to your, “Is anyone coming over tonight?” is no.
I don’t know how we got to ten years without blinking. But these have been, without question, the very best ten years your Dad and I have ever known. You have made our world so wonderful (and wonder-filled). You’ve deepened our faith in God. You are an amazing kid.
A lot is planned in the next few days and weeks– a family dinner, a party with your friends, and a big birthday surprise for you. You are so, so loved.