Oh, how I love your zest for life, son. I wish I could borrow even just 1/4 of it on most days.

You do nothing without gusto.

You are loud. Expressive. Strong. Hilarious. Adventurous. Loving. Cuddly when you want to be, usually when your friends in the ‘hood aren’t around.

You look life straight-on in the face every morning and say “Let’s go!”


This passion that walks you through the world, sweet son of mine, is strong. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch and incredibly exhausting to parent.

Because of this, it’s a daily concern of mine that I’m being too everything on you . . . Too hard on you. Too soft. Too inconsistent. Too consistent. Too grumpy. Too cheery.

It’s a study in contrasts but how fitting, my sweet boy. You are a study in contrasts, too – and this is a good thing.

As you get older, I fear you will discover the world likes to use labels. We label our clothes. Our cars. Our schools, our friends, our ailments. Those around us we don’t even know will get labels, too.

But when I think about how I would label you, I come up blank. And this, my beautiful boy, is well . . . beautiful.

I see you becoming such a godly young man. I witnessed the proof of this just this evening as I watched you encourage a little boy on your soccer team who was horribly mean to you just last week.  A boy who had you in tears after practice because of the hateful words he said.

It hurt you so deeply you didn’t even want to go back and play.


Because here’s the thing about you, Samuel . . . You are indeed really “tough.” You like to puff-out your little chest and show what you’re made of because you are ALL boy.

But then, the study of contrasts continues because you can also be one of the most caring, sensitive souls I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

God created you to be exactly who you are and you are His masterpiece. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You’re a warrior. A justice-seeker. A defender of the weak. A lover of animals. Not afraid to eat a live worm as you did in the back yard just this past fall after watching Survivorman with your father.

And even though there are indeed nights when I fall into bed and worry I’ve hurt you terribly with my lack of patience and feelings of being overwhelmed by parenting three passionate, justice-seeking children, I know God has entrusted me with guiding your little soul to hunger for Him.

This justice seeking, this leadership I see in you, this defender of the weak, this tough and sensitive soul I see . . . Oh, honey. God has big things planned for you.

I am honored to get to watch. I am so proud to be your mother I almost can’t even stand it. You challenge me in all the good ways and you’ve made me grow-up and face some not-so-pretty things about myself.


If I can be completely truthful with you, Samuel, raising sons terrifies me because I want so much for you but I don’t want the world to define who you will become and what you’ll do.

Sometimes the sun catches your dimples just so, the same dimples that had the nurses in the hospital spellbound when you were born, and I can hardly catch my breath. Those dimples in conjunction with the chocolate eyes and curly hair are swoon-worthy. I know I’ve got my work cut-out for me when you become a teen.

But my sweet boy . . . What is inside is even more swoon-worthy. The contrasting parts of you create a harmonious whole and suddenly, those contrasts aren’t contrasts anymore.

They’re you.

And you are just plain awesome.

Happy Birthday, Jammer. I love you more than you will ever know, my son,




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