So you're a big, bad first grader now and this is the first year you can actually read your birthday letter from me.
One of our pre-birthday traditions is that I interview you and your brother so I can compile a list of your favorite things and track how those things change over the years. Last night as I asked you the usual questions, I decided to ask you if you had a favorite memory verse. I wasn't sure if you would be able to come up with one on the spot but before I could even think you dropped Ephesians 6:10 on me:
Holy cow, Chase! Not only did you have that memory verse hidden in your soon-to-be-seven-year old heart, but it was also a verse I really needed to hear at the moment. God spoke through you, little man. But it's not the first time I've been reminded of how great God is as I've watched you grow up. Not by a long shot.
Seven years ago, we named you Chase because we wanted you to carry the constant reminder that nothing matters more than the pursuit after God. He is pursuing you and wants to spend forever with you. We want that too. Just think of all the games of H-O-R-S-E, kickball and Battleship we are going to play there...but even in Heaven, you're still NOT going to beat me.
You have always been a great helper around the house and rarely complain when it's time to do work. One of your favorite jobs has always been helping me make coffee (little dude, we were SO made for each other). Seriously, for whatever reason even at the age of 2, you would sit on the counter and help me scoop the coffee grounds into the filter so mom and I could be fully caffeinated. Well, the other day I was watching a football game and didn't want to get up. I decided it was time for you to go through a rite of passage toward manhood and I said, "Hey Chase, you want to make me some coffee...by yourself?" You would have thought I told you we were going to Disney World. You jumped at the chance and BOOM you made a great cup o' joe!
This year you and Jackson played coach pitch baseball for the first time and so we spent much of our time at the ball diamonds in Dresden and stopping at Dari Twist afterwards. Some of my favorite moments this year were watching the Mehaffey-to-Mehaffey web gem as Jackson would snag a grounder at second and zip the ball over to you at first base. The first time you guys did that I cheered louder than I did the last time the Yankees won the World Series. Imagine, if some day you guys did that while playing for the Yankees! A dad can dream, right?
You are a great big brother to Jackson as well. He wasn't quite as excited about going to all-day, every day Kindergarten as you were. All summer, he didn't even want to talk about it but because you kept mentioning all the fun he was going to have...he got there. "Thank you" for that.
Speaking of school, one night recently when we were snuggling you mentioned that you were a little sad because no one sat by you at lunch, and there was one kid who was making fun of you. I hate that you had to face that already. As I told you that night, there are people who don't like me either but we can't allow ourselves to play victim to people like that. All you need to focus on is living your life for God and pleasing Him, and part of that means even loving those who choose to be your enemy. Know this...God has such a great adventure in store for your life. And while on that adventure there will always be those who will watch you and just be dumbfounded by your life because they have settled for far less. They will use all kinds of ugliness to derail you. In those moments, I hope you will remember that verse from Ephesians 6:10 you had locked and loaded last night. Then say a prayer for your enemies as you see them getting smaller in your rearview mirror.
I love the adventure that our family is on. The big plan that God has for you is only beginning to unfold, Chase. And I am so glad that for the next eleven years we get to journey that road together. Here's to another great year, son.