You are the best son a mother could ever have. I mean that, and I know that. You such a kind, sweet, good-hearted boy. You deserve every single happiness that this world has, and more. And now you're nine years old.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's true - like always, I'm amazed that you're already nine. But you are not only such a tall boy, but such an amazingly good kid that it's hard for me to sometimes not imagine that you're a lot older.
Until I gaze upon that sweet smile of yours. You've always had it, and I pray you always will. It's a smile that lets me know that everything is going to be okay. I just wish I could assure you of the same.
You are sensitive beyond your years, and it's been an awfully tough time for you lately, and I hate that so much. I hope that when you look back at this birthday, the love and joy we surrounded you with all weekend is all that you remember.
You are the joy and strength of my life. That's a big load for a little boy to carry, isn't it? But luckily you were blessed with broad shoulders. You often wonder why God made you so big, and all I can do is try to assure you that you are destined for great things and it will all make sense to you someday.
You are about 5'2" tall now. Aunt Crystal and I took you and your sisters to Kings Island this weekend, and you really wanted to play a game. We were going to play the "Test Your Strength" game, and while I know you would have done awesome for a nine year old, we were watching big strong men lose at it, so I steered you towards another game: "Guess Your Age." The lady guessed you were 13. Thirteen! You were thrilled to death to win...and I think your delight at the stuffed lion you chose helped convince her that we weren't lying when we told her that you were eight, but would be nine today. Or the fact that you tried to choose a teddy bear holding a baby teddy bear for your sisters, so they would both have one, but they refused to accept your gift. You are such a sweet kid.
I'm so proud of the young man you're becoming. I'm proud of your spirit and attitude, and drive to succeed. I could not be more proud of you reading more books not only than anyone in your class, or the third grade even, but you were one of the top four readers in the whole school. That is an amazing achievement that you earned through hard work and dedication. That is awesome. YOU are awesome!
I can't help but think of the story that I refuse to read to you or your sisters anymore because I'm afraid that I'll scar you with my sobbing: "Love You Forever." But there's a refrain in the book that goes something like this, "As long as I live, my baby you'll be."
Always, little man, my baby you'll be. I will always be here for you, and I love you very, very much. Happy Birthday, little buddy, and here's to your best year ever!