It cannot be true. I double-checked the calendar to make sure I’m not off a year and I’m dumbfounded to find I’m not.

You, my youngest, spunkiest, rascally-est child are six years old today.

I think I mention this each year but some things are just worth repeating – repeatedly.

I need to shoot straight with you and tell you that when I took that pregnancy test on the cold, November evening of a late night at work for your Daddy and an exhausting day with your then two year old sister and six month old brother, I was not overjoyed.

Don’t take it personally, love. I didn’t even know you.

But honey, I was already neck-deep in the land of babies and toddlers and when I saw that second pink line, I was convinced I wouldn’t survive another baby.

After I peeled myself off the ceiling, I realized that God would have something special planned for you. He has something special planned for each of you but I think yours will be particularly unique because that’s who you are – unique.

And for right now, little man, your purpose is to add spice to our family.

It’s true each of us fills a space in our family and each child makes our family, well . . .  our family.

But you, Spencer Jason . . . I can’t imagine our family without you.

Your belly laughs are contagious and your tears are heartbreaking. Your sentimental words about your love for your mama melt me because you are extremely sensitive and very in-touch with your emotions and what you say is typically Hallmark-worthy.

You are unapologetically who you are. You smell your food before you eat it, you only like what mom makes and no one else, and you have a repertoire of roughly ten foods you will eat. You have the loudest scream of any living being I have ever heard and you love back ticklies just as much as your Daddy. Apparently, that’s genetic.

There was once so much more of you to hug – even this time last year, your cheeks displayed more dimples and your tummy still had the pot-belly look of a baby.

However, sometime during this last year, you lost it. The chunky trunks of your legs are now long and lean. Your arms have lost the indentations around your wrists and the dimples on your elbows are gone. There’s far less of your cheeks to grab.

You’re looking more like a boy and less like a baby.

And I know this is how it’s supposed to go but again, Spencey J . . . you’re my baby.

You are playing flag football this fall because your beloved older (just by 15 months!) brother is playing, too. You start Kindergarten in less than a month. You are learning to read.

Daddy and I understand our job is to help you grow the wings that will one day fly you away from us.

But promise me you will keep some of this innocence, this intense happiness and joy you were born with, this sense of wonderment about the world and all that’s in it. Promise me you will still tell me how beautiful I am and crawl into my lap, plant a chocolate-scented kiss on my cheek, and snuggle. Promise me you will keep seeking Jesus with an intensity I’ve never seen in a six year old.

Promise me, buddy.

Because while I love who you are becoming, I love who you are now. Every last part of you.

So no matter how old you turn each year on this day and no matter how sullen of a teenager you may become or how far away you move from us  as an adult, just know this:

I love you, always, always.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

There is absolutely nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you.

And I love you with an intensity you can’t even fathom – but God loves you even more.

Happy Birthday, you big bad Kindergartener. You are dearly loved,

Mama (and Daddy)

smaller sweet spencer