Today you turn 7, which is my favorite age for kids. You are old enough to know how to tie your shoes but young enough not to be ashamed to ask someone else to do it. Now that you are 7 you will begin to venture out on your own a little more, which is scary for any mom, but especially scary for me because you’re you. You don’t see the limits that others do and still struggle to communicate your thoughts and feelings. You have feelings that are too big for you to easily contain. The world is big and confusing for all of us, but for you it’s as vast as the universe, a spiderweb of constellations and black holes. Sometimes you are lost. Never are you alone.
My wish for you, not just for today, but for the rest of your life is that you will always find a guardian to guide you. You will need teachers, family, friends, and kind strangers to keep you smart, safe and loved. I pray for you to always be protected, especially when I can’t be with you now or when I am called to heaven someday.
When God blessed me with you, he knew you would require some extra angels and he has never failed us. Sometimes I know for sure they whooshed down directly from heaven like superheroes, rescuing you when you dashed out in front of a car or disappeared in a vast and busy public place. But there are everyday angels who have rescued you in seemingly small ways that matter more than they could ever know. Each one has played a different role in shaping you and guiding you.
There are teachers like Ms. Sandy who gave you the gift of speech. Or Ms. Michocki, who taught you how to read. They helped you find the words to open the sliding glass door that separates you from the world.
There are coaches Doug and Asha who have taught you to swim, an important life-saving skill for anyone, the power of which is magnified hundreds of times for someone like you. They are your life buoys.
There are parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who love you unconditionally even though we don’t always understand the way you think and act. We love you for your eccentricities and never want you to lose the things that make you Frank. We are your bubble wrap.
Everyone we meet who smiles instead of staring, everyone who accepts you without judging, and everyone who sees your brilliance rather than your obstinance is on your side. So many hands and hearts have brought you to your 7th birthday and there are many more we will encounter as you grow. I thank God every day for trusting me with you and for always surrounding us with angels.