Dear Jack,

Today you turn six and I am in awe of you. After last year's birthday, I am just so happy to spend this one with you. It is your golden birthday which makes an already special day a little more exciting.

The past year with you has been really fun. You are in Kindergarten now and that makes you seem so grown up to me. You insisted you were not going to go to Kindergarten and that you would not, under any circumstances, like it or learn but you were a total liar, liar pants on fire. You love school and have made a lot of new friends. You think your teacher is the greatest and are doing so well academically. Your Dad and I are so proud. You read and spell words by sounding them out all on your own and are kicking butt in math as well. I love watching you do your homework because I can see your brain working just looking at your eyes. You focus intently and are so proud of yourself when you get it right.

You are still taking swimming lessons and have been moving up and are even swimming in the deep end without your swim belt for part of your lesson. You are a fish in the water and swim better than I do at this point! You did a lot of new activities this year like t-ball, a sports class that focuses on basketball, flag football and soccer and are learning to ice-skate so you can start hockey. As always, you insisted you were not going to participate in any of these things because of the what if factor. What if you fall down on the ice, what if you can't shoot a basket, what if someone steals your flags in football. You always are asking what if. Your Dad and I are quick to answer all of your what if's with things like: you try harder, you practice, you won't always win but you should always have fun. You resist us, we gently but firmly push, and magically you end up loving it. You are really good at all the things you try but sometimes it takes you getting frustrated to the point of angry to push yourself to do better and not give up. You are going to play flag football and t-ball again in the spring and you'll continue with your swimming lessons.

One of the many things that I adore about you is how smart you are and the types of things you retain in that brain of yours. You are constantly, and randomly, telling me all sorts of facts about things like animals, the planets, bugs and dinosaurs. You are a sponge soaking it all in. I could not ask for a smarter kid.

With all that good, there has to be some bad and you are, after all, a six year old boy. It is still a struggle getting you to listen and to not have to repeat myself a dozen times to get you to do what I ask, but we're working on it. You have become so much more independent in the last year and you are showing signs of being a big kid by helping me out with things around the house. It may take some begging from me, but you are a great helper (when I can talk you into it!) I promise to try harder in keeping my patience and to be a better listener. I know you are often trying to get me to listen and I am sometimes so busy that I don't take the time to hear you out. I am sorry for that and I promise to work on it .

I always knew you were a sensitive kid and we really saw that when we had to put Zoe to sleep. You were crushed at the thought of losing your dog and still talk about her so often. Very rarely does a week go by where you don't remind us that you miss her. You still ask about Papa and Great-Grandma and you ask a lot of questions about Heaven. I am saddened by the thought that you have had to feel losses like these at just six. You are lucky that you have angels with you always.

You have really become a great friend to your brother, which I love to see. You and Joey do almost everything together and although you still fight with each other a lot, I know you are best friends and would be lost without each other. I am so happy you have one another because there is nothing more special than the bond of a sibling.

Your favorite things are sleeping over at Grandma's house, playing with your cousins in Wisconsin and going up-north to Grandpa's land to ride 4-wheelers, fish and swim. You talk about our week at the cottage months in advance and can't wait for our week together as a family. You want nothing more than to tackle and play football with your Dad and you guys play sports outside for hours.

I wish you a year of happiness, my Turkey. I want to see you continue to learn and grow and gain confidence in yourself. You are a brilliant boy and I couldn't love you more if I had a million hearts.

Happy Birthday, love. I wish you a hundred more.

I love you to the moon and back,
Mama xoxo

My sweet faced boy with eyes like the sky.