I just realized that the next time I photograph you for this project, it will also be for your ninth birthday! Why is it that kids think, “I can’t believe I’m finally nine!”, and parents think, “I can’t believe you’re nine!”? You always want time to speed up and I always want to slow it down. You always want to swing higher and faster, and I always want you to swing lower and slower. It wasn’t too long ago that you wanted the same things that I wanted. If I liked something, then you liked it too. If I wanted to go somewhere, then so did you. It’s the way little kids learn and grow – they imitate those people around them that they love. It’s what Brooks still does to you and what Crosby will do to both of you!
But then comes the phase of independence; trying things out for yourself and forming your own ideas and opinions. I see it in you already. You don’t have to like the same things that I like or do things the way I do them. I want you to think and grow in your own way and to try new things and do things better than I would do them. But we do have to be respectful of each other. And so it goes in the real world outside the protection of our little family. Not everyone will agree with you. Not everyone will see it your way. Not everyone will like your ideas and opinions or even you sometimes. That’s OK. I know it’s not a great feeling when someone disagrees with you or doesn’t like the same things as you. Always try to please God first. What does he want you to do? Delight yourself in the Lord, and in pleasing him, you will find that you will please yourself. Consider God above anyone or anything else. He will help you know what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. These are the important things to consider and to practice.
I love the person that you are becoming! I know that you tend to use your brain, think about the consequences, and make good decisions. I also know that you don’t like to make mistakes, but you can always learn from them and do things better the next time. Daddy and I still do this! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or to say you are sorry, but don’t be afraid to try again.
I love you and want you to be you and not me!