A Letter to Jackson: On Your 4th Birthday

Photo Oct 17, 9 04 22 PMHappy birthday Jack Jack!!!

This is the birthday you have been longing for! Sixteen year olds can’t wait to get their drivers license. Twenty-five year olds look forward to their car insurance rates going down. You’ve been counting down the days until you were four so you could battle Darth Vader at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now you just have to wait a little bit longer until our December vacation.

There is so much about you that I love, it is impossible to convey it all in a blog post (or in a lifetime for that matter). I not only admire the uniqueness God has created in you but how you have embraced it at such an early age.

For instance, you are the most committed kid I’ve ever known. When you find something you like, you are ALL IN. Every year I interview you and Chase before your birthdays to find out what your favorite things are. With Chase I never know what he’s going to say cause he dabbles in lots of things but with you I know exactly what you are going to say.

You ALWAYS want to fight with lightsabers. (I’m warning you again Vader).

You ALWAYS want to play Disney Infinity.

You ALWAYS want a Coke Icee.

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You’re also committed to healthy foods which is really impressive! You are the only kid I know who goes to Subway and orders an adult salad with lettuce, cheese, extra tomatoes, cucumbers and NO DRESSING. You never want ketchup, you never want sauces of any kind — you have zero tolerance for dips…except for chips and salsa. In contrast your brother would dip YOU in ranch dressing if given the chance. Yesterday I took you and Chase on a daddy/sons dinner date to Buffalo Wild Wings and while Chase and I pounded down the chicken wings you were content with celery, mandarin oranges and french fries (I didn’t say that everything you eat is healthy… just most of it).

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Jackson, you bring joy to so many people. There is something so special about you that makes people smile when you walk into the room. This has been the case since we met you in Taiwan back when you were 7 months old, but the new thing is now you’ve started noticing it and I think you kind of like the attention.

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In my very first “Letter to Jackson” blog post I wrote, “You were born to be center stage.” I had no idea how prophetic those words were.

A few months ago at the Child Dedication Service at our church we had so many families who wanted to commit to raising their kids under God’s way we couldn’t fit everyone on stage. We ended up lining up in front of the stage on the main floor. As your mother and I held you and Chase during the service I could tell you were mad about something and then you said, “I’m mad cause I wanted to be on the stage!” 

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Well, last week you made your onstage debut. You came out dressed as Mr. Incredible and helped get the word out about the upcoming Fall Festival to our friends at the North Terrace Church. When I asked what you were going to do with the invitation in your hand you proceeded to melt every heart in the auditorium when you said, “I’m giving it to my friends who live next door…cause I love them.” Jack Jack that made me so proud. But seriously, can you please take off the Mr. Incredible costume? You’ve worn it for like two weeks straight and we still need it for Trick or Treating. (Remember what I said about you being ALL IN?)

DSC_2426Needless to say, little man,  you are going to be a four year old with a lot of flair. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I still can’t believe I get to be your daddy. Happy Birthday.

I love you, buddy.

Your Dad

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3 thoughts on “A Letter to Jackson: On Your 4th Birthday

  1. Matt, you should so write a book. Your words are eloquent and heartfelt and touch others in a way only a good author could; warming the heart all the while teaching/displaying good moral fiber. A good example of the Joys God blesses those that truely love him receive. A family full of love for one another. It’s hard to tell if God radiating through your sons is drawing you in to love them so much more or if God shining through you is drawing them in to love you so much more, but know this beautiful love is from God above and you are all truely blessed and a blessing to others by the examples you set and share through your words.
    Dude….write a book!

  2. Matt and Janie –
    Stop and take a step back. We’ve watched your lives unfold and blossom is so many unexpected ways. Ten years ago was it your plan to adopt your first son from Taiwan? Did the thought cross your minds that Chase would have a brother? Did you consider the possibility that Jackson would become part of your family? Ten years ago did you even know there was a Zanesville?
    As we follow your life journey, we can’t help but be encouraged. You guys are the best confirmation of the saying, “Where He reigns, He pours.”
    – Stan and Jeanie

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