My first-born son, you are SEVEN now. For some reason, age with you always hits me a little harder because you are the first of them to hit that age. Seven feels like a big kid. Not even just “kid”… but “big kid”. I see it in the way your body is getting leaner and stronger and your hands are getting bigger. You look more and more like a big kid (except for when we got to your 1st/2nd grade basketball games and you’re most always the shortest one out there… sorry bud).
I see it in the way that you do your school work. The way that math just makes sense to you, practically without any help from me, and how you’re just about finished with your 1st grade math book already and will be soon jumping into your 2nd grade book. I see it in the way you are just reading with ease now and it makes me stop in the moment and go “wait! Who taught this kid how to read?! When did that happen?!” It’s in the way you’re using your brain to solve problems and how you have much more patience than you had with similar problems last year. You’re so much slower to get frustrated and give up and so much quicker to speak out loud, “ok, now let me just think about what I need to do here…”
I see it in the way that you take care of your siblings. You’ve always been helpful with them, but you are so helpful with them these days. You can change diapers, carry Alder around the house, can get him dressed, and will feed him in such a big responsible way. I see you really comprehending that we older ones must really care and nurture the younger ones. You’re really starting to get the responsibility and joy that comes in caring for someone else. You are always quick to run and help your sister when she squeals out needing someone to turn on the light or get her a toy down. You never hesitate to speak love over your sister and how beautiful she looks, how pretty her dress is, or how you like her hair done. As far as you and Asher – well, you two fight like brothers…. but shoot, you love like brothers. I’ve always prayed for my kids to have friendship and I’m so so thankful to see a friendship between you and Asher that reminds me so much of Dad and his younger brother Logan. Those two have been buddies for life and I see that for you guys, too. You’ll always have a fishing or hunting buddy, and a partner to shoot hoops with or wrestle with. You guys make each other laugh and laugh. So much that 98% of when I am asking you boys to settle and quiet down, it’s because you guys are rolling on the floor in hysterics, laughing with each other – not because you’re fighting and wrestling or the like. I always feel silly asking you to quiet down when I realize, “man, they’re just laughing hard about something. They’re just having a lot of fun!”
I see you turning into a Big Kid in the way that you are developing work ethic. We’ve had the chickens for going on a year now and you are still very much involved and responsible for them – just as you were on day one. The chickens are “yours” in a sense and you fully accept and are glad to care for them. You feed them every morning, check for eggs a couple times a day and help clean up their coop. You also have daily chores of unloading the dishwasher, making your bed, tidying your room, putting away your clean laundry, cleaning up the playroom and frequent chores of taking out garbage and recycling, washing windows, and picking weeds. You have grown so responsible that nearly every time that I ask you to go work on something, your response is “yes mom.” (Or, lately “yes ma’am.” I’m not totally sure why you started responding that way to me because I never have asked you to call me ma’am but I really love it! It sounds so respectful out of your mouth and respect is one of the traits I’m striving to drive home.)
Zeek, you are my sweet and thoughtful and smart big kid. You love laughing, you love company, you love playing and are all about fun. You are your daddy’s kid, through and through. While the same things that push my buttons about your daddy are the same buttons pushed by you, you also are all the things about your daddy that I adore and then some! You have your daddy’s fun and playful spirit, his love of laughing and adventuring, and his same brain when it comes to school work. It’s not the same brain as I have, so it does take a little more effort to understand at times but I am so thankful that I have your daddy here alongside me to teach me and guide me in how to best love and nurture you.
People have always talked to me about the love a son has for his mom and I see it more and more, especially from you. You love your mama like I never imagined. The way you care for me, the way you make me tea when you know I’m not feeling well, or cover me with a blanket, the way you are quick to make breakfast or food for any of us, the way you are quick to jump to my defense if you see me upset, the way you talk about how you would protect me if needed when daddy is away and you’re Man of the House. All I can do is think of how great of a man you are growing up to being. How you would be a great protector and loving husband and father some day.
I love you Zeek. You’re my first big kid and with you leading the pack, I’m not afraid of raising big kids and eventually teenagers. You have a good head on your shoulders and the way you lead your brothers and sister is encouraging. We have our struggles and our little battles with you that we are working out, but overall – you’re one really great kid, and we are so so thankful to get to be the ones you call Mom and Dad.
Happy Birthday, buddy. Can’t wait to see what age 7 looks like on you and what all you’ll do with your life this year.