Oh My stars, you're 11 years old today. It seems like you're 11-going-on-18, maybe more, as you are often the calmest one of Us. Placid and serene most of the time, though I catch your moments of anxiousness. You seem wise, probably because you tend to silence, but appearing wise is often as important as being wise, as you'll learn. If you haven't already.
You dipped a little in school, and I'm glad. Sustained excellence is great, but sustaining excellence for somebody else's reasons is a direct path to disappointment. What I'm hoping happens now is that you find your own reasons for pursuing excellence in school, as you have in basketball. You learned long ago to play to please yourself, not Me, and that's made a huge difference in the speed and breadth of your improvement.
If I have a clear memory of you this past year it was My wedding day. Shortly after noon, you and I went up to the house where the ceremony and reception would be held. We were discussing the chance for rain, as clouds collected above. We walked around the place, greeting the people who were working so hard to finish preparing everything. Suddenly, the clouds closed overhead and rain began to fall. All the tables were placed outdoors--Our original plan for a sunny day wedding--and as I walked to get the tables and chairs under cover, you started running. Somehow you grabbed two chairs and raced back, handing them to Me. You ran back and grabbed two more and turned to tell Me to hurry and get the table. And I stood there, smiling, to keep tears at bay.
You cared. On a day I was thinking might be uncomfortable for you, even bad, you cared. And you had fun. As so many people told Me that night and later, they were pleased to be around you, to talk to you, to listen and watch as you flit about the reception, being a boy and yet hinting at the man you'll become. You almost outshone Me that day. Pretty cool for "just" a kid, right?
You know I'm proud of you and you might even take it for granted. You've earned it and you earn it often, sometimes struggling to overcome a thorny school subject, but most of the time casually accepting things I could only dream about at your age. Like the times big kids, you know, 8th graders or older, who easily pass by with a "Hi, Kaleb." You nod, no big deal, you know who they are and they know you. You're one of the top students in your grade, a veritable bookworm type and yet you're popular. Not wildly so, but gently, as if knowing everybody and everybody knowing you is just the way Life is. It amuses Me as it awes Me, for I can tell you in no uncertain terms, Life was never like that for Me. Not even close.
We're growing older together, though somehow you might be maturing faster. It's a joy to spend time with you, to chat about whatever comes to mind and listen as you dissect basketball in ways I recognize as belonging to a thoughtful mind. And this birthday, you have a little sister who lights up when you come home from school, who thinks you're just the coolest and who'll love you more every time she learns something about you. Treasure your time with her for it will pass quickly, rushing by unless you take time to see and live it.
It's what I tell Myself almost every day, but not as often as I say "I love you." I do. And I can't wait to see what the next year brings Us.
Happy Birthday, Son. I love you.
The Jenius Has Spoken.