It's been a while since I've taken pictures of Jake when he's wearing a hat, and these pictures remind me of some pictures I took of this guy in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (that sounds weird--it was a beautiful, fall day and the cemetery just happened to be where Justin and I were walking when this impromptu photo shoot with our then-only son happened) when he was not yet a year old and we were still living in New York. In those pictures from years ago, he was wearing a sweater and a little hat that covered his ears just like this one. We have one of those pictures framed and hanging, so I look at it several times a day and now every detail. Right now, I'm looking at these pictures from today, and all I can see is my little baby Jacob. He was so, so cute. So beautiful. Such a gift. Such a joy.
And that hasn't changed one bit.
He's gotten big and tall. He's become so smart, so articulate, so funny. He's serious and thoughtful, yet always ready for a good joke, a good laugh.
Last night before bed, as Justin and I were saying goodnight to the kids, we were telling Jake how we couldn't believe this was the last time we were going to get to kiss a 5-year-old Jake goodnight. (He said, clever as ever, "Well, later in the night, after I'm asleep, you could just come in and kiss me again if you're feeling too sad about it, Mom." That's not the point, buddy! But it was clever, I appreciated the suggestions, and I in fact did sneak back in later on and give him another kiss.)
Kids' birthdays always have a bittersweet quality. Growth. Change. Maturity. I look at the boy that Jake is, and the young man that he is becoming, and I'm full of thanksgiving.
And I'm also just amazed that these years have passed. Wasn't it just yesterday that Justin and I were at Phelps in Sleepy Hollow, meeting our firstborn for the first time. In that moment, I remember being overwhelmed by the depth and power of the love that I felt for a person I had just met. Well now I've had six years to get to know this person, and I love everything about him.
One day, maybe years from now, you'll read this little note that I'm writing to you right now. You are so loved, my son. Daddy and I, we look at you and we're overwhelmed. You're an amazing person, a beautiful son, a wonderful big brother to Joshy and Ella. We are so thankful that God made you, and that He gave you to us.
On your birthday, we give you presents to celebrate the occasion. Daddy bought you a half-size skateboard that you'd been wanting and hoping for. You were SO excited when you opened it this morning. But the real gift of today is not a skateboard or new pencil crayons; the gift of today is you, is your life. You are so precious to us, Jacob Eby Galotti. We can't imagine life with you being a part of it.
You are so very loved. Happy Birthday!