How amazing it is that I am now writing you a letter and you are actually able to read it and comprehend every single word, even the big words! Today you turn eight and my fingers so badly want to type five because weren’t you just four? How can you be eight? Time flies by and on a large scale as Gavin would tell us, eight years isn’t very long when you plan to live until 100. Gavin plans to live until 101 so you two can live forever together. This makes sense seeing that you have spent your whole lives together thus far.
While we’ve only had these eight years together, each moment has been an eternity in the most cherished place I’ve ever been, a world in which you exist with me. For days, I’ve been trying to draft this letter to you, but every time that I have sat down to put my feelings into words, I was overcome with love, pure love, with no words attached. So the page before me sat blank.
It’s so hard to put Love into words, and even harder when you are a mother speaking of the love you feel for your child, It’s a depth of, which is enigmatic. As much as I try to raise you boys, you boys end up raising me as well. I see my window of influence closing and before too long, it will be time for you to stand strong and make your own footprints in this world. I’ve been preparing myself for that moment since the first day you took your first steps, in which on that third step, you ended up collapsing in my arms. It seems as if it was a symbol in our relationship. It was your first steps towards independence. But that mommy will always be there to catch you when you fall. I’ll never fail you in that I promise.
Your older brother grew from a toddler to a young man while I was blinking, so I am acutely aware of how ruthless time can be. It won’t wait until I’m ready, so with every hug I squeeze a little tighter and hold on a little longer. I try to memorize the way your small frame fits perfectly against mine. I try to savor each and every moment because I know too soon you will be too old for my hugs. When that day comes, just remember you promised you’d always let me hug you, even when you were 100, since I plan to live to be 124.
Keaton you are easy going. You’re my go-with-the-flow kid, and for a mom who is not so “go-with-the-flow”, and has two other kids who never go with the flow, you are a gulp of fresh air. You have brought me nothing but pure joy since that very first moment I saw you. Watching you grow, absorbing the world around you, inquisitive and delighted to learn, I’m reminded each day of the treasure you bring into my world.
One of your favorite pass times lately is to make inquiries about what you were like as a baby, or what you were like at two, or how did you act when you were Ollie’s age. You sit listening intensely to me tell you all about your likeness at a certain age. As I tell these tales one word fills my mind, angel. From the moment you took breath into your lungs in this life, you have been perfection. You are all the qualities I want to be. You have the heart I wish I had. You have so much love to give that I am so jealous of how freely you can give it away. You were born an old soul with compassion written into your story. So while you sometimes think you are ONLY the middle son in the Grotegut family, I want you to know you are so much more! I’ve never met a single person like you. The way that you love, the way that you live your life, it makes me a better person. You are eight years old and I can’t believe how beautiful your spirit is. You glow with how much goodness is within you Keaton.
I am just in awe of the person you are becoming, Keaton. You are exuberant. You wake up every day ready for whatever awaits you, and you are rarely in a bad mood. I know this may change as you enter your teen years (can you ease me into it at least?), but I hope you continue to approach life in a glass-half-full kind of way. It’s contagious. You’re a loving, kind boy, those qualities are so important, and I am so happy they belong to you. Nothing else matters in life Keaton, except being kind. Okay there is also keeping your word and admitting when you’re wrong (make sure you are really really wrong when you admit to this, there are no take backs). Those are skills that will take you a long way, all the way, in life. Well, that and a killer sense of humor. Actually, that might be the most important. A sense of humor can take you anywhere, well just look at me.
You’ve done a lot this year. You started second grade and you are off the charts smart. You now read thick chapter books and are learning multiplication. This year you started a production company, helped manage a facebook account for our cat Jefferson, and learned to tie your shoes. You grew what seems like a foot taller and if possible even more handsome. You finished another season of T-ball and another season of Lego Art. You’ve become more artistic and reserved, and so much wiser. You are so helpful with your brothers. Without you as my backup for Ollie I would be crying in a corner pulling my hair out. All of us are so lucky to have you. I think it would be a 4-way-tie on who was our favorite family member, we all just adore you.
I want you to know Keaton that you are the best decision I ever made. When I look at you and the legacy of your life I can see God’s hand holding yours. I see the miracle of who you are unfold in front of us as each puzzle piece is put in its place. I can’t imagine a world without you in it, Keaton, I love you more intensely than I could have ever dreamed. Thank you for all that you have brought to my life. Thank you for loving me and for making me a better person. Thank you for making our family better for having you in it. Happy Birthday!
With a heart simply overflowing with love,