To Jim on His 3rd Birthday

You probably ask me a hundred questions a day. That is not an exaggeration. But this is a good thing. It means you’re curious about the world around you and want to know how it works. I’ll admit that it sometimes gets annoying when you ask the same question eight times in a row, but, hey, you’re a toddler right now.

But there is a question that you do sometimes ask eight times in a row and probably a couple of dozen times every day: “Daddy, do you love me?” It is a question that I will never tire of answering.

Both your mom and I love you with our entire hearts. It is not something that you have to earn and it is not something that you will ever lose. But as you are turning three today, I want to write down a few things that I love about you at this time in your life.

I love the way that you are protective of your new little brother. When Liam cries, you’ll tell your mom that he is hungry. If you find a pacifier, you will bring it to us to give to him. The other day Liam started crying while we were in the car and you said, “It’s okay Liam. We’re almost there.” There is a ridiculous amount of joy in your voice when you see him and say, “Baby Liam.” You have only been a big brother for a little over eight weeks and you are already awesome at it.

I have loved seeing you go to preschool. I can’t believe that you have already finished your first year. It has been cool to hear your stories of school, to watch your teachers fall in love with you, and to see you make friends. Every single time we drive by your preschool, we ask you what it is and you almost always yell out, “It’s my CLASSroom!” 

I love it when you sing. Sometimes you’ll pop up with a song from school that I’ve never heard. Many times you will sing the silly VBS songs that I have sung to you. You don’t always get the words right. You have this knack for getting stuck on lines and repeating them over and over until you somehow find your way out. It’s pretty adorable. One day after church when you sang, “You make beautiful things out of the dust.” You sang that line about three or four times in a row and that was it. But it was probably one of my favorite times hearing you sing.

I love that you want to go into the sanctuary and “see colors” after church. When I pick you up from nursery, you always want to look at the big stained glass windows. You find the seeds in a window depicting the Parable of the Sower. In the window where John is baptizing Jesus, you have picked out favorite fish for you, me, your mom, and Liam. And recently you have liked looking at the picture of Baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph before we leave.

I could honestly go on and on. I love that you love books, watching you play outside, and the way that you sometimes toss your cape in the air and say “Ah-hoo!” I love it when you say, “Daddy, you and me are friends.” I love that you know who Superman, Batman, Flash, and Donatello all are. I love the mischievous grin that you get on your face. Your laugh is possibly my favorite sound in the world. And one of my favorite things ever is when I carry you and you throw your arms around my neck.

Your mom and I feel unbelievably blessed to have you in our lives. We would not trade you for anything in the world. Even on your worst days — when you throw huge tantrums, accidentally kick me in the face, have poops in your diaper that seem impossible for someone your size, and want to watch the same episode of Dinosaur Train non-stop all day — we are incredibly grateful that we get to be your parents.

You probably won’t ask me if I love you nearly as much as you get older. It’d be fairly hard to top the clip at which you ask it now. But know that if you ask me or your mom that question at any point of your life, the answer will always be the same. Yes, I love you with all of my heart. And I always will.

Happy 3rd Birthday Buddy.

Your Dad

A Modest Prayer for Oklahoma

An Imperfect Theology of Student Ministry