When Boys Become Men
The sky hangs blue in your eyes all year round, both windows framed with blond lashes and sparkling with melt-me diamonds. You use that against me sometimes.
You could ask me for anything, son.
I remember your birth because of the pain and the breaking, but I also remember my dad, your grandpa, bringing me flowers and telling me he’d never been more proud of me. Those words are huge from a man like him and you inherited some of that, some of the quiet strength and the ability to drop phrases like bombs.
You’ve always been stuck with the label – the Quiet One. It’s perfect that you came between two sisters because you bring balance and stability, with just the right dose of silliness. And when you speak we never quite know – will it be silly or profound or pig Latin or just blain packwords?
You were probably just 6 years old when we met the “Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites”… and the Pull-Up-Yer-Tights. It was a pitch black morning, the four of you barely awake and huddled around for Bible. And you pull that one out of thin air, all of us laughing and never forgetting. You really know how to liven up Exodus at 6 a.m.
I had so many emotions as I looked back through your pictures, but time and again you had me laughing!
There are layers of you that come out, deeper and deeper, and I love it. I love the silly, but I love your insight, too.
You want justice, and you want people to be treated fairly. I see you, upset when others are upset and anxious to protect the underdog. I know you’re just as ornery as the next kid but you have a big heart.
And you have buttons that get pushed.
I remember when you were a toddler and Shelby was a baby, how she grabbed your toy and your first instinct was to retrieve, but you pulled back. You looked at me and then at her and you let her have it (the toy, that is). You weighed it all out and put yourself last.
We have to always keep putting ourselves there, Jacob. It’s really the way of things in this Upside Down Kingdom, it’s how the last become first-in-line at His feet. And there’s never a need to worry about yourself, because He’s got your back.
You want to enjoy all that life has to offer but I pray you enjoy God most of all. Play with Legos, ride your bike, log with the neighbors and Just Dance. But most of all, above every other good and perfect gift He gives, enjoy Him. Know that He loves you and is pleased with you and has more for you than you have ever imagined.
You are thirteen today. That blows me away and scares me and blesses me all at once.
I’m blown away that thirteen years can go by so fast and all I see are these snapshots of you and your siblings on the carpet, surrounded by toys and sippy cups and cheerios. I see a cart full of kids at Walmart and one mischievous toddler tipping the whole thing over. I see birthday parties and tea parties and bald-faced hornets and long car trips.
And now, all of a sudden, you have biceps and can whoop me at arm wrestling.
I’m a little mama-scared because thirteen is only five away from “adulthood” and will you be ready, will I be ready? You said something funny about a Bar Mitzvah and manhood yesterday, and I can laugh because it doesn’t seem real, but it is, nonetheless. Time will march on and you will be leading someday.
I’m blessed more than anything, though, because of the young man you are. I am confident that, though we have made our share of parenting mistakes and will make more, God has begun a work in you and He is faithful and consistent.
I’m blessed to see you with your siblings and to see you giving them your time. I don’t think you really know yet just how valuable that is, and how they love to be with you. You are a big brother to them all, even your older sister. No pressure…but you play a HUGE role in their lives. You need them and they need you. I pray you cherish the moments together.
Jacob Daniel. May you lead in your generation, stand for truth and justice, and use your gifts for His glory.
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper. – Ps 1:1-3 NKJV