You are one of the great gifts of my life, the gift that made me a grand person. It will be many years before you know what that means because it is a secret reserved for grandparents alone. You may gather clues along the way that may help you imagine what it is like to love someone as much as your grandfather and I love you, and I will try to describe it now, on this, your tenth birthday.
When you were born and I first held you, I immediately realized that you were the one. The one that would fill a place in my arms and heart that had been specifically designed and reserved for you. You have filled that place with joy ever since. You captured me with your laugh and your smile, a smile that I’ve watched through many changes. I loved your baby smile that was all gum and then you got your tiny teeth. In a little while those baby teeth came loose and you put each one under your pillow and flashed a jack-o-lantern type grin. Now your face beams with metal covered teeth and multi-color bands, but no matter what’s going on with your teeth, your smile is the one that makes me know that all is well with the world.
When I hear your voice call my name and see you running up to give me a hug, I could explode with happiness. I love everything about you, just because you are you. I can see evidence of the man you are growing up to be and I can see God at work in you. He has given you good qualities and abilities, friends and family, challenges and opportunities.
You love athletics and you play hard and well. You want to win but seem to know that winning is not everything and that you can learn valuable lessons from losing. When your performance disappoints you, you sometimes show it, but you know how to shake it off. You enjoy playing with others but are happy to be alone. I love the worlds you make with your imagination. You allow others, like me, into your wonderful world of legos and superheros. You share your magical creations and you let me help. You are patient with me. We share stories and movies, games and music. I think that you really like music. Music seems to move effortlessly through your veins because the way you sing and dance is uniquely your own, reflecting your easy, soulful, carefree, elegant style.
You notice the people around you and you care about them. You are kind. You love your sister and are respectful to your parents. You have friends. When you argue with your sister or your friends you stick up for your beliefs. Sometimes you get angry but you are quick to say you are sorry. You forgive and move on. You do not hold a grudge. You are generous and you are grateful.
You are so smart. You have the gift of a dyslexic mind. You will continue to discover the brilliance of that mind. It took some special teachers and a lot of hard work on your part to learn to read, but wow, once you did, you can not put your books away. I don’t know of too many kids who read all 7 Harry Potter books before they were ten years old. I think you appreciate reading much more than most kids your age. My own theory is that the Dyslexic mind is so brilliant the rest of us couldn’t understand all that’s in it all at once, so it’s kind of locked up. It is a puzzle that will frustrate, entertain and amaze you all your life as you keep discovering what you have to offer the world. I am so very, very proud of you.
At grandparents day you asked me the question: “What advice do you want to give me?” I had to answer quickly.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, my answer remains the same, Always believe that you are as wonderful as your Pepper and Nee Nee think you are.
Happy birthday, Cole.