On this, my 350th blog post, I think it is most appropriate that this one be just for Kenny, who was the reason the blog was created:
My Dearest Son,
Today we have the privilege of being with you as you reach another milestone...your tenth birthday! Your excitement and enthusiasm for this special day which you have only celebrated once before is contagious and over the past couple of days the entire family has felt a bit of anticipation along with you. Even yesterday as we were walking out of school Matthew said "I can't wait for tomorrow!" and I asked "Why?" wondering what I had not remembered that was on his schedule and he exclaimed "Its Kenny's Birthday, Mommy!".
You have also officially been with us a year and a half now, and I wonder what we ever did without you! You have added a spirit of dynamic optimism that is now ever-present, along with a work ethic that rivals your Dad's.
Much has been asked of a very young boy, you were uprooted from all that was familiar and transplanted into a new culture and a new life, one that you had no idea how to negotiate but somehow managed to do so in spectacular fashion. In case you can't tell, Kenny, my admiration for you knows no bounds.
It can not have been easy, and there must have been times when I was unaware of just how difficult it was. There are still moments that are extremely hard,for you are not a finished product. Neither am I :-) My compassion for your struggles and challenges had to be curbed, for although you have been showered with affection, with great BIG bear hugs and bedtime kisses (Ok...and good morning kisses...and "just because" kisses, you know us we are an affectionate family!), I have sensed all along that what you needed most from me was not an overdose of empathy and concern for your battles, but a vision of strength from which to draw on when the going got tough. You needed and continue to need to see the confidence Daddy and I both have in your abilities so you can trust that one day what once seemed monumental will begin to seem minuscule. As you progress rapidly through grades at school that you never were able to experience, I see that confidence slowly growing. We are enormously proud of you, Kenny.
What I love most is now that we are at the year and a half mark home, we find ourselves laughing at where you started at and at the lessons you learned. It is you who seem to get the biggest kick out of bringing up the time when you tried to fake being sick at school and Mommy felt "so bad" for you that you had to lay in bed ALL DAY instead of watch TV and play, which was what you thought you'd get out of tricking us! Hahahaha! It is you who is pointing out how you rarely lie anymore as you did quite a bit over silly things when you first came home. And it is you whose face lights up as you realize you have read an entire Dr. Seuss book with almost no help. Your delight in your progress and your insight into just how far you have come speaks to your growing maturity.
Kenny, you have quite a year ahead of you. I have a feeling you will be confronting many demons as we launch into what will be the first of many surgeries and as we have the incredible opportunity to travel overseas together to wrap our arms around two more equally courageous children. I wonder what emotions that might bring up for you, I wonder how you will view your former life as it contrasts with your new American family life. I also know you will be a role model of successful transition for your new sisters, and you will be able to offer them valuable insight and understanding as they find themselves walking in your shoes. I couldn't ask for anyone to be a better role model than you.
We love you so much Kenny. All of us are blessed with your presence in our family, and I often get the odd feeling that I am having the chance to view what it must have been like to raise your Daddy, as so many of your personality characteristics remind me of him!
:::We interrupt this love letter for the real thing, as you just bounced in, all dressed, your beloved blankie in your arms, with the biggest grin on your face in anticipation for the coming happy day. You snuggled with me, and pulled away, then snuggled back in for a bit longer, as if you could remain glued next to me all day long. Your openness to love and your willingness to express it so easily is one of my favorite things about you.:::
Happy Birthday, My Dear, Sweet Kenny-Kenny! May your day be as wonderful as you are imagining it to be, may it be perfect in every way for you. And may you always know how deeply you are loved, how God has watched over you from the day of your birth. I can't help but wonder what amazing things you will end up doing someday, for there is no doubt in my mind at all that you are destined for the extraordinary. Daddy and I will do our best to help you get there!!!
Forever Love, Hugs and Kisses,
Who hopes she doesn't land on her bottom while bowling!!!