Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

You are an incredibly passionate, tenderhearted child. I love you and appreciate you very, very much! Watching you grow up, mature, and develop so many interests is truly a privilege.

Seeing you devote yourself to your sister and brother, enjoying their company as you do, I understand precisely why God chose you to be our oldest. You have so much heart! So much compassion! Thank you for being such a wonderful brother. Your siblings are blessed to have you in their lives. And Mommy and Daddy are too!

Many things interest you, but you are truly wild about wildlife, especially insects and frogs. In many ways, you are just like your Daddy. He, too, spent hours catching insects as a child. The two of you both love the outdoors, and often spend an hour or more a day catching things to feed to your beloved "pets" (praying mantises, tree frogs, green frogs, toads, tadpoles, grasshoppers, leaf hoppers, crickets, beetles, various caterpillars, butterflies, blue gill fish, etc.). I've lost track of everything we've had over the past two years. Often in the summer and fall, you are busy feeding five creatures at one time. All of this just makes you so happy. And daddy too. When a creature won't eat for you, you and Daddy let it go, which always breaks both your hearts. I know your Daddy really enjoys this special time with you. The little boy in him delights in the little boy in you. It's a sight to see, my Love.

You and your Daddy also really love to eat! Neither of you are picky, which makes you very well-rounded nutritionally. You're a lean boy, so it always amazes me how much food you can put away, at just a few months shy of seven years old. Many days, you eat more than I do! You and I share a favorite food - berries, especially strawberries. We can really put them away!

Not surprisingly, you love to help in the kitchen! Daddy does as much cooking as Mommy, so you have no trouble seeing yourself as a chef someday. You and Timmy even talk about being bakers together as adults. You tell us about all the tasty things you'll have in your bakery. I don't sense that you'll ever want to live very far from your beloved brother, and vice versa. You're a pair. I am praying for sweet, loving wives for both of you, who can be friends with each other as well.

Mommy is teaching you language arts and math, and Daddy is teaching you science and social studies. We do the rest jointly. You're a very eager student, with many interests and a quick intellect, although you don't like to draw or form lower-case letters or numbers. It frustrates you so much, even though you've made wonderful progress. I sense a natural writing ability, and when you get more proficient with the lower-case letters, I know we'll be seeing a lot more of your thoughts on paper. Your current favorite journal topics include talking about your wildlife, and about your siblings.

People fascinate you as well as wildlife. You are shy, like Mommy, but you are also socially oriented. Being with people energizes you, as it does Daddy. This is another way the two of you are alike. Timmy and Mommy enjoy people, but we feel drained afterward. This can be hard for you, at times. Sometimes you and Daddy have trouble understanding why Timmy and Mommy need time to ourselves.

You have a teacher's heart. I see a lot of patience in your ability to instruct. Emily Rose is smitten with you! You help her color, make things with Playdoh, bounce and kick balls, use sand toys, water the garden, etc. Timmy is your main social outlet, and a wonderful playmate for you, but when he is wanting to be alone, you become a sweet, gentle teacher for Emily. She just beams at the attention. You even miss her when she's sleeping, and ask frequently when she'll wake up. When she's on the potty, you delight in entertaining her, and always have lavish praise when she produces something! lol

Earlier I mentioned what a passionate child you are. You experience quite a range of emotions every day. When you are happy, you are ecstatic. When you are sad, you are extremely downtrodden. When you are scared, you are very scared. When you are thankful, you are falling at our feet. You are our feeling child. Our emotional child. You are full of life, my Love. That's the best way to describe it. Full of life, indeed.

From an early age (three, I think) you've had a heart for God. Pleasing and praising him are important to you. He speaks to your heart through his creations, especially. I'm sure of that. You always remember to thank him, when you see something on a hike or at a park or in our yard, that especially delights you.

A few weeks back, you were eating and staring out at the backyard, and spontaneously blurted out that Jesus was the most important thing in the world. You asked for confirmation of this. I gave you an emphatic yes. You asked Timmy if he loved Jesus more than anything, and he said no, that he loved chocolate milk more than anything. And guess what you told him, rather irately, after checking with me that chocolate is indeed made from cocoa beans?

Daniel: "Well, Timmy, who do you think gave us the cocoa beans and the cows, to make the chocolate milk?"

Timmy: "The farmers did."

Daniel: "No, it was Jesus! He gives us everything, Timmy!"

You've got your brother's spiritual back, that's for sure. He is blossoming lately, in his relationship with God. I think you've had something to do with that. My little evangelist. Thank you!

I love you, precious Daniel. I am so very proud of you! Thank you for being such a wonderful son!

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