|Gospel Choir outfit at ISSMA|
Wow - time has flown by. You have experienced a lot in your short life - been protected by God in amazing ways, moved several times, grown and changed so much. You were always the child that I figured would give me the most grey hair - you had no fear of results from your actions. You were not supposed to be able to walk normally let alone run as a result of a knee infection when you were just an infant. I remember putting you in your crib in that hospital room so I could say goodnight to your dad. Just as a nurse walked into the room you pulled up for the first time since you'd gotten sick. Her reaction was "he's not supposed to be able to do that". Later you used to love to jump into the deep end of the pool at the apartment complex even though you couldn't swim yet - you trusted me to catch you then would scramble out the shallow end and toddle as fast as you could back to the deep end to do it again. At about 2 years old after we'd moved into our house you fell off the edge of the car and bounced onto the concrete floor of the garage. That required stitches in the center of your forehead to close the hole from the corner of the car door. The "run to the er/doctor" falls stopped for awhile after that - until we moved from OK to IN. Then you fell off the play-set at a local seasonal eatery - this time that was an ambulance ride to the ER. You must have been 6 or 7. No stitches that time. Probably your biggest, most traumatic fall happened when you were in 7th grade - resulting in a PICU stay of several days and of course an ambulance ride. Amazingly you only ended up deaf in one ear as a result of that fall - it could have been so very much worse. As a high school freshman you were out running one afternoon and managed to get your foot run over by a car. Again that could have had such a different outcome - even though you still have occasional issues with that foot you can still run and play. God has clearly been protecting you.
You have experienced several moves - first at 3 weeks old moving from IL to OK. Then a move from our original apartment there to the house closer to where dad worked. Another major move to IN to get a fresh start and one more move to where we live now when I married again.
You have always had a strong determined personality. You wanted to go straight from being nursed to a sippy cup - at 6 months of age. Potty training was a trip - you refused until I bought you "big boy" unders - and wouldn't wear even training pants. However as soon as I allowed you to wear your "Thomas the train" unders you trained. You struggled with kindergarten but not academically - it was more dealing with your dad's illness and hospitalization. You were definitely a "mama's boy". You used to hate getting up in the morning - I remember walking to the bus early mornings carrying you because you didn't want to go - you meantime were hollering at the top of your lungs. When I finally got you your own alarm clock and made you responsible for getting up on your own you did fine. You wouldn't try new foods - at least not unless you had applesauce to dip it in. Applesauce and pizza, applesauce and corn-dogs, applesauce and fish sticks. You used it like other kids used ketchup.
Because of that strong personality discipline was a huge challenge for me - I believed in spanking and that was simply ineffective in your case. I remember Awowe telling me not to bother - it just made you more stubborn. I despaired of seeing you grow spiritually - you asked Jesus into your heart at a very young age while we were attending COTM. But growth seemed like a long time coming. I am so excited to see the spiritually strong young man you've become - you have a heart for God and a heart for others. I am looking forward to seeing how God will lead you and use you - in whatever area of the world you end up.
You have run for years - since you were in 3rd grade at least. The past couple of years have been difficult for you in this area - the coach did not approve of you doing two sports and the team just didn't feel like a team. However you stuck with it with a good attitude and learned from it and still managed to improve your times. What is important is that you do your personal best in all you do.
There is probably so much more to write about - but I probably need to stop for now. Will end with a quote from a book we used to read together - "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be". (From Love You Forever by Robert Munsch).
I love you!
PS You would far rather be behind the camera than in front of it...