Saturday, October 26, 2013

Four years old today!

October 26, 2013

Happy Birthday to my sweet Ben-boy!

You were born four years ago today, at 5:03 in the morning.  I remember when you arrived in this world, underwater, and Daddy lifted you up out of the pool and said, "It's another boy!"  We were so surprised, and so happy to have two boys in our family!  Now you love swimming underwater... maybe it stayed in you from your very beginning!

We named you "son of my right hand" and "one who seeks after God", after your Grandpa Tim.  We pray you know your special place in our family and in the world, and that you are one who seeks after God with your whole heart, just like your Grandpa Tim.

We've seen you grow so much this year.  You are still working on obeying, but every day you grow a little more and are able to control your temper and your body a little better.  You've been learning to pray for yourself, that Jesus would help you use self-control, and slowly you're beginning to understand that Jesus really does live in you, and He can help you.  You still struggle to submit your heart to Him and let him help you - we all struggle with that!  I pray you learn this lesson early on, and it will stand you in good stead the rest of your life.

We love having you in our family, Ben!  You are so perky and happy and full of life.  You are always looking for something new to climb on, to test your body on.  You have great balance and are always thinking up new tricks to do - like putting a 2x4 through the rope in our backyard and using it like a balance beam, or putting your whole body through the rope and zooming around in circles like an airplane.  You catapult yourself over and under and around furniture, people, buildings, trees - you love to be in motion!

And you have such an active imagination!  You are constantly making up stories and giving Will dialogue parts: "Ok, Will, you say: 'But I don't wanna leave!'
Will obliges, same inflection: "But I don't wanna leave!"
Ben: "Then I say, 'But you have to, Big Red.  You can always come back--' and then I drive away, and you follow me, ok?"
Will loves to act in your stories because they're so exciting.  (I remember doing the same thing with my sister when were little!)

You are also learning to love books.  When things get really quiet, I always go see what you're doing, and you're often completely absorbed turning the pages of a a book, usually a Richard Scarry one.  You love his pictures because they tell a story all by themselves.  And when you're coloring a picture or working on a puzzle, you are great at sitting still and concentrating - it just has to hold your whole attention.

One of the other things I love most about you, Ben, is how cuddly you are.  You've always been the one who loves to curl up on my lap for a cuddle, or have me crawl into bed next to you, or put your face as close to mine as you can, so we're breathing the same breath.  You usually have your thumb in your mouth, and you stop sucking long enough to grin at me and give a delighted chuckle, and then you snuggle even closer.  I love my cuddle-bug!  I hope you never think you're too big for me to hug (I will never think that!)

You have had a challenging fourth year of life, Ben.  Last birthday, you were in New Zealand, and you had just received a new baby sister, which rocked your world.  I was no longer available to spend much time with you, and we had left our home in Central Asia, which was all you knew.  You rejected NZ at first because nothing was the same - different house, different car, different people, different language... Eventually you grew to like it, but it took a while, and after Christmas we got ready to travel again, to America.  It was dizzying and tiring for you, and you expressed your frustration by acting out and trying to control the few things you could control.

But we did end up in Thailand for a few weeks in March, and there you learned to swim underwater all by yourself like a little blonde fish, with no floaties at all!  We were all so proud of you, Ben. Will (who would barely put his face in the water) went around saying, "My brother can swim all by himself, and he's only three!"

Then we came back home to this house, but we only had a couple months here before leaving again for Turkey, and then a trip to another city, and then another trip... we've been traveling pretty much this whole year, and I can tell your little heart is tired and very glad to be home again now in your own space, in your own bed.  This country really is home for you right now, and I pray as you grow up you understand why we're living here-- to tell people who have never heard about Jesus the good news that God loves them!

May you keep growing in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, Benjamin!  We love you so much!  Happy Birthday, my sweet son!



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