Happy Birthday Caleb!
Today has been one of those utterly perfect days. When Caleb was turning 2 and 3, I planned big parties with too many people. Now, thank the Lord, I understand my eldest son much better. Those parties were not fun for him, truly not at all. He was overwhelmed and doesn’t like being the center of attention. So we’ve toned it down a lot and he is much happier for it.
Last year we celebrated Caleb’s birthday with snowsuits and hot cocoa but this year was the antithesis with warm sunshine, shorts and burgers on the grass at Seattle Center. For months Caleb has been talking about going up the Space Needle with his Nana. So that is what we did to start the day. Nana and Daddy took the three oldest kids up while Papa, DeeDee, Mama and the babies waited at the bottom.
Then we went to get burgers and took them outside to sit on the grass by the giant fountain in the heart of the city. We are all a bit pink but my goodness did we enjoy the sun on our faces. Tears rolled down my sunburned cheeks as I walked behind and watched my children and my oh-so-gorgeous-husband up ahead. I was overwhelmed with the gifts they each are. We laughed and smiled so much today that my face hurts. I thought of a song from high school that said “These are the days, to remember…”. Indeed they are. And I’m loving every moment as it comes…puking, dirty diapers and lack of sleep mixed in with the giggles, kind words and faces that melt my heart. I am well aware that this will quickly pass and they will only grow more indepedent from here on out.
Here is Caleb’s birthday letter (trying to do one for each birthday for each kid!):
My dear oldest son,
You are 5 years old today. I remember so well washing my car the day before your due date desperately hoping to go into labor, so ready to meet you. It didn’t help much but the Ukranian dinner I went to at church that night surely did. A few hours later, you were born. I was determined not to name you until I met you but it became so clear to me that God’s name for you was Caleb that by six months I finally resolved that no other name would suit you. I prayed then and still do, that you would be a truth teller even when it isn’t popular, that like the Caleb of the Bible you would have courage to do what is right. With great relief, I rejoiced that you were born full term after your sister had come so early and been so very sick.
Having grown up with sisters, I’ve sometimes felt like I didn’t really ‘get’ you. You are a boy after all. You are complex. You are strong. You are very bright like your Daddy. You feel deeply. You have provided me with great challenges and I have learned so much about life because of you. You changed my heart. You opened up a part of it I didn’t know about. Your smiles and hugs are of high value to you and I am always delighted when you share them with me.
You surprise me still with your understanding and comprehension of things. You bless me with your tenderness towards your siblings. I love laying in your bed at night telling you stories. I love watching you share your things with Kyler. I love watching you ride your bike, climb the rock wall, swing on the rope and tend to the fire. You thrive when you have a task to do. You are on your A-game when you are outside, with lots of wide open spaces and can roam free. Burning things is likely your favorite activity at present. You are very careful and responsible with the fire just like your Dad has taught you.
I love knowing you Caleb and am forever grateful for the ways you’ve changed who I am. Your beautiful blue eyes and long, floppy blond hair are one of my favorite things to look at in all the world.
Happy Birthday sweet boy-you are a treasure.
That is the sweetest letter, Karissa! So glad you guys had a blast downtown!! Gggrrrrr…..wish I could have been there, but we are so close to me never having to say that again!! I will be there for all the fun adventures so very soon 🙂 Love you.
Happy Birthday Caleb, it has been such a joy getting to know you. You are so kind, caring and coem up with some of the best plans. I look forward to knowing you more. Enjoy your birthday
What a SPECIAL day! It puts a smile on my face to think of you enjoying downtown Seattle with your loved ones in the sun. Last year was SO fun (and strange!) in the snow!! Your letter is just beautifully sweet and I can just imagine him reading it as an adult. I really need to start writing these to my kids, too. Missing you guys!!