Today was our third child turned 17! Even he said a few days ago he can't believe he's as old as he is. In fact, he wasn't sure he wanted to be 17, just because it means 18 is next! He was pretty content being 16, you know? I remember being 16. It was a long time ago, but it sure was a fun year!! :)
Of all of the years of Jacob growing and maturing, this year may have been one of the biggest. He has a small business with his cousin mowing lawns that is in its second year, he was recently elected to be FFA President, and made a big decision to quit football after playing for several years. That decision was thought out and based on several factors, all of which took lots of thought. It's been great to see his growth and maturity, even if it means he's getting closer and closer to adulthood. That's what he's supposed to do! That's what we want him to do!
Instead of the typical letter I usually write to each child, I thought I would write different things about Jacob that I remember from him growing up. Some day he will read this for himself.
1. Jacob, you were the "baby" for four years and maybe because you were smaller than the older siblings, and because of your very out-going and high spirited personality, I was more protective of you when you were young. And because I did "baby" you, Tyler has had to suffer being the youngest child! I saw the error of my ways and came down harder on him! Ha ha!!
2. You were so funny and still are. Thank you for making us laugh! We can't imagine not having you in our lives. You've got your dad's wit, but not yet his Laffy Taffy jokes! (Thankfully! :) )
3. You remember me talking to you about self control from age two until age 15. It was something we talked about often. I remember your dad saying, "Don't crush his spirit." He knew that I needed to be careful in how I talked to you. Thankfully your spirit wasn't crushed, but you learned to have self control - or rather God control - little by little, until you no longer needed those talks often.
4. I would tease you in Little League baseball that steam was sometimes coming out of your ears. That was the cue that you needed to practice what you had learned. Between those little reminders and a few evil eye glances, you were back in check in no time! I love that you remember those talks and still count them as invaluable lessons. They were special times we shared together.
5. In 3rd grade you decided to give up sugar. You thought it was bothering your attitude. I had heard of people having trouble with sugar, but honestly never thought about it because it didn't seem to bother me or any of you. But, because you were stopping it, I stopped it to. We were off totally for a while and you felt like it helped. I've always been amazed that you can tell when you need to stop it. Not many kids/young people would do that.
6. In Kindergarten you weren't too crazy about having to go to school all day long. You missed me. Sometimes you would go to the nurse not feeling well. They would call and I would pick you up. It didn't take long to realize all you needed was hot chocolate and to dance around in the kitchen to the Jungle Book's, "I Wanna Be Like You-ou-ou!" song! I love those memories!!!
7. You have a 3rd Child Syndrome. That's where the older two know what's going on and what's going to happen and the 3rd child has no idea what's going on or what's going to happen or what did happen. But we love you despite that syndrome! And, you're getting better, now that you're older (a wee bit better!)
8. You have developed into a hard worker. You've amazed us with your small lawn mowing business with your cousin, and we are proud of you for doing a great job! It's been fun watching you grown in this area because you're having fun while doing it!
9. I tease that you are the only one who will visit me in the nursing home. That's because of your hugging, loving, caring, compassionate personality. You've got a kind, servant heart. Don't ever change.
10. Thank you for your example as a young man striving to follow Jesus and be obedient to God's Word. You are a great example to those around you and don't follow the crowd. You know what's best for your life and your future. Thank you for making our job as parents easy. That's a blessing! You had good examples from your older siblings and you're being a good example for your younger sibling.
Your dad and I can't wait to see what God has planned for your future. We know that you're not positive of the direction your life will go right now because there are many, many possibilities, but we know who does know and He has it all planned for you. Trust Him to guide you. Listen to Him as you pray and read His Word. Always let Him direct your steps. And know that when things get off track, God is there and we are here. We will love you forever and always. We are thankful that God blessed us with you.
Happy birthday. We love you very much, Jacob!