A Letter to Jackson: On Your 6th Birthday

Jackson Cooper Mehaffey,

Happy Birthday! 

You are such a special young man and I count it a blessing every day that I get to be your daddy.  You have such a rare heart and sensitivity for the needs of others. One of our family values is to "Treat others better than yourself" and you do this so often it doesn't even surprise me anymore. And at times you even remind me. When we were at the Cavs game last season and I booed Dion Waiters for his poor shot selection, you shot me a look of disappointment and told me not to boo him because, "He's a person too, Dad."

On the baseball diamond you are quick to encourage a teammate or even tell an opposing player, "Nice hit" when he reaches first base.  When I join you and your brother in playing Minecraft, you make sure I'm fully equipped with a pickaxe, food, armor and other items you have stored up in your inventory. When it was your brother's birthday you loved celebrating him nearly as much as Chase loved being celebrated.  

It made perfect sense when during your "birthday interview" I asked you what your favorite Bible verse was and you said, "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in." (Matthew 25:35) I guess Jesus could have added, "I was a noob on Minecraft and you taught me how to play."

You also have a heart for God. During our family devotions your insight into Scripture is far beyond your years and it's like I can see the Word of God being planted in your heart. Several times this year you have told your mom and me you think you are ready to be baptized and typically I don't think five-year-olds are ready and don't understand what this decision means. But son, I really think you are getting close. 

Flowers for mom.

Flowers for mom.

Jackson, you are such a gentleman. As a matter of fact, you are making me step up my game! When you tell your mommy how pretty she looks and I see the look of joy on her face, it reminds me how much your mom's love language is words and how I need to do better at telling her how much she means to me. You are very good at that.  

Last night, you and I drove up to Cleveland for another Cavs game and as we entered the first outer doors of the Quicken Loans Arena I had my head in my phone cause I was pulling up our tickets. When I looked up, you weren't next me and I quickly turned around to see where you were. I found you back at the door, holding it open for a group of ladies and at least ten other groups of people as well. The ladies oooooh'd and ahhhhh'd over you while I watched beaming as person after person looked down at you smiling and saying, "Thank you, sir!" The fact that this has become an instinct of yours is so awesome, Jackson. Then on the way home we stopped at Starbucks in Canton so I could get a shot of caffeine for the drive back to Zanesville and the baristas were charmed by you as well.

Please use powers for good, Jackson. Please. 

I love you so much, Jackson. Thanks for being you! Happy birthday, buddy.