Dear Jude. 

Dear Jude,

You are now seven. How is that possible? It’s so unreal, time has gone by so fast. I will continue to say this each and every year but it feels like you were just a tiny (well, big) baby sleeping in my arms. I miss those days, man. I love to see you grow and change but I will always miss you sleeping on my chest as a newborn. I’ll miss watching you learn how to walk and run. I’ll miss your raspy little toddler voice and your never ending rants about cars and monster trucks. And your cuddles. Oh, your glorious, pudgy, snuggly cuddles. Every day after nap you’d come out of your room and say “Mama, do you want to cuddle?” I will miss those things for the rest of my days. 
But now you are seven. You are so tall. And your brain…your brain amazes me. You remember numbers and facts like nobody’s business (wonder where you got that from!). You are reading so well and you’re awesome at math. But man, there is so much more to you. One of the things that I love most about you is that you are a great friend. Jude, that is HUGE. I have watched you be so kind and sensitive and inclusive to all of your friends. Being a good friend is one of the most important things in life. It’s something I’ve wanted so badly for you to be, and also for you to have, and you’ve accomplished both. I am so very proud of you for that and you should be too. 

You love church. I can sense that you are proud of it and that is very cool. You suggested to Jim that we make invitations to give out to people so that they’ll come to church. So he did and you’ve given them to all of your closest friends. It’s been so cool to see you initiate that without any guidance from us! You were heartbroken when no one showed up that next Sunday. I told you to keep hoping and praying that they’ll come. So yesterday, on your birthday, Chase and Ben came and you were beyond thrilled! I was so happy to see you learn that your prayers were answered. 

Another thing I love about you is your integrity and discernment. You’ve always been a stickler for doing the right thing. Now, you don’t always do it, but you’ve always been concerned with it. You have a great inner sense of what the right thing is and you’re learning the importance of doing it, no matter what. You have the ability to sense when something may be wrong or inappropriate and you’re willing to ask for guidance. This is not something I’ve taught you, it’s built into your personality, and is just another thing that is so great about YOU. You are trustworthy, Jude, and that’s something that many people are not. 

You’ve done a lot of growing up this year. You feel your emotions hard and strong, as you always have, but you have learned the importance of apologizing and asking for forgiveness. It’s something that I’ve been waiting to see in you. When you were very young you struggled big time with saying you were sorry. It got to the point where I stopped forcing you to say it to cousins or friends because it was such a huge struggle for me to find a way to force you to say it and for you to spit it out. But finally…FINALLY…you’ve gotten to the point where there is no struggle. If you’ve been disrespectful or mean to me or Daddy you take a second to cool down and are able to come to us, completely on your own, and give us a legitimate apology. That’s one of the biggest areas of growth that I’ve seen in you lately and I’m so proud of you for this! Apologizing for bad choices or mistakes will help your relationships in life. So many people don’t know how to say they’re sorry and unfortunately their relationships aren’t as strong, so take this with you as you grow because it will be a great asset to you. 

So anyways, you are awesome, that’s all there is to it. You are so loving to me and Daddy and your sisters. Watching you with Lennon has been so cool. You are the best big brother to ever live! I tell you this a lot and I fully believe that God gave you all these little ladies in your life for a reason. I am actually watching you grow up to be such a unique, cool guy and I am so glad to call you MINE! I am so lucky to be your Mom. I love you!

Mom

Also, this was a special birthday because you got to go to the Patriots playoff game with Daddy and Papa and Uncle Peter. You have been obsessed with football and Tom Brady this year so it was perfect timing. You also got laser tag guns and we had a fun little party at church with a few of your closest friends. 

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