Happy Birthday Josiah! How is it possible that you are now 11 years old?! I can still remember driving home from Sioux Falls with you in the backseat. We got about 20 minutes from home and you started crying. I remember my gut turning and thinking, oh boy, here we go! I still get that feeling sometimes as we jump into something new with you and I try to figure my way as we go.
I asked you on your birthday what were some of your favorite things from this year. Your response was so indicative of who you are. You mentioned cleaning up concrete and metal on the acreage and building the garage. You really continue to love to do work outside and are such a help to your dad. You are thrilled that your dad lets you drive the pickup around the place, and though my heart quickens watching you, you do a very careful job of it.
Being on the acreage has given you an opportunity to work with animals and you seem to relish that added responsiblity. Most every morning, you check in on the food and water for Lily without being asked. When Lily broke her leg this spring, you checked in on her every night and morning and took the job of giving her meds, again without much for reminders. It's also been very interesting to watch you with the addition of chickens to our place. You always want to be the one to go get the eggs. You love to let them out in the morning and lock them in at night. And, very rarely do I have to ask you to do those things. You've also watched them and figured out their roosting pecking order. Another exciting opportunity for you this year has been helping our neighbor, Mr. Bonnema with his pigs. You've helped him just a few times when he has gotten a new load of piglets or had to move them around in the nursery. You didn't really complain about the smell, but were more fascinated by the process and learning about piglets. You also found it quite funny that you were required to strip in the mudroom before entering the house and still got a reaction of the smell when you came in! We hope that Mr. Bonnema will continue to use your help more and more and he has mentioned wanting to eventually train you in vaccinating pigs.
One of the other things that continues to be true of who you are is that you love to learn. I am so thankful for that and you are a lot like your dad in that manner. Although you've struggled with neatness and organization this year, your teachers are very vocal about how much they enjoy having you because you are so excited to learn whatever you are studying. You often come home with a new tidbit to share with me. A few weeks ago, I had to teach counsel time during Awana in just a few minutes notice. I ended up reading a modern take on a parable and had a few questions at the end for the kids. As I was talking with the group, I was struck by your eyes -- you were so engaged and it felt like you were really pondering the question that I had asked. I pray that desire to learn and engage will continue in your life as it is so wonderful. And, like your dad, it helps you be able to engage with a wide variety of people in many different circumstances because you always have something to share that you are learning or are intent on learning from what others are saying.
I love riding alone in the car with you because you always have something to say or ask. I love the grin you get on your face when you are trying to hide something when we are playing a game. I love playing piano with you while you practice cello. I love that you still want me to do things with you (although I can't always indulge in that). I am completely tired of legos all over your room and rubix cubes, but love the tenacity you show with them. Most of all, I love you, my firstborn son and pray that you will strive for the best that God has for you and follow Him wholeheartedly this coming year. Happy Birthday!