You turn 6 today! If your memory capabilities hold true for the future, this letter will be mostly pointless because you will retain 97% more memories of your childhood than your dear mother.
Sometimes you ask about yourself. I tell you that you are a little like your dad, a little like me, and a great deal of just uniquely you. I heard you tell Alistair and Emerick in another room yesterday, "This is 100% not what we are trying to do here." That's me coming out of your mouth. It's a problem. (which is actually another thing I've heard you say...) You make up for it by being patient, kind, loving, and joyful.
At 6, I know who you pretty well. You need to know why for everything. You lead and manage and take charge of things. You love reading, building, and drawing. You are. not. shy. When people don't give you enough attention in public because their oogling like idiots over your brothers, you simply say, "Hi. I'm Thomas! I like to build Legos!" or something of the sort. You speak well when you want to. It still takes me aback. So does your whining. Let's quit that soon because it's really undermining the awesome I know of you.
You are very helpful. Sometimes, I say something I'm dealing with out loud. You often offer a solution or your help. When you said you would go into Target yesterday with a list of the things I needed so I didn't have to bring the the twins out in the cold, I had to turn you down. But a lot of times your suggestions are truly helpful and sometimes even very smart. Keep solving problems and adding value to people's lives. That's most of what is going to bring you success and joy as an adult.
Reading is really special to us. Two days ago you were finishing Diary of a Wimpy Kid. You read independently now and it's amazing. I was correcting a few of your words. You got miffed with me and said you would figure it out, not to help please. So I turned around on the couch so I could just listen to you. Shortly after, you told me, "No, Mom. It's okay. You can correct my words. I want you to tell me the right way to say these." On the one in a million chance you are reading this when you are older--hear me please. I'll give you space, but you can always call me back. I'm trying to raise you to be a man. To be tough and independent and to execute things well and to work hard. But it's ok to need people too. I'm giving you permission to be as wise as a 6 year old.
Ah. I almost forgot the two best words in the universe that you say. I ask you to do things all the time. A good portion of the time you respond with this very agreeable "yeah sure". Sometimes it's "yeah sure, Mom" or even, "yeah sure. I can do that for you." It's in the most pleasant tone of voice I've ever heard in my life. You say it and mean it and help me right away. When I hear those two words I feel as if I'm on the beach with a mixed drink, sun on my skin and a smile on my face. I love you unconditionally but I really love you for being so cool about so many things. In that regard, I want to be just like you.
You and I, we read about a lot of orphans who've parents have died. Likely, that won't happen to us. I'm a very selfish woman and God wants me ironing that out by wiping up spilled milk every day. But should something happen to me or you learn nothing in your stay here because it's too loud, here's what I want you to know.
1. Be humble. Humility is everything. You can't grow without it. You can't be your best self without it. You can't know God without it. You can't serve others well without it. If you can be humble, you can know joy. Don't be afraid of seeing both your strengths and weaknesses just exactly as they are every day. Knowing these things and walking in humility will set you free.
2. Accept responsibility. People fail. Great people makes things right. They let go, they forgive, and they don't just say they did wrong--they fix what's broken to the best of their ability. Take ownership even where you don't know how you'll carry it. You will find a way.
3. Work hard. We don't work hard just so we can have more money and more things. We work hard as a huge, heartfelt thank you for this day, this body, these gifts. Work hard every day because you can. Work hard every day because millions of men and women fought for your freedom to do so. Work hard every day because there is nothing better in this life than making the lives of other people better.
4. Seek God and love others. This takes vulnerability. This takes strength. This takes seeing people for their whole self and letting your respect reach beyond that outer layer into an understanding that we are much, much, much more than meets the eye. It's easier said than done, but it's worth it. Treat others how you want to be treated. Set your expectations high and surround yourself with people who have that mindset too. And know, oh Thomas please know, you are never ever alone. You are in a village. We are in this together.
I'm stopping here so I can make you pumpkin bread for breakfast. You and your brothers will attack it like the pack of wolves that you are. We'll put up decorations today and dance and I'll dream a little about this next year.
I hope you know how much you are loved. How capable you are. What a good person you are. How you are a bright light in our world.
Happy 6th, Thomas!
With All My Heart,