Last weekend we attended a birthday party for a little girl who is a classmate of Owen's. When it came time for the birthday cake to be served, all the other children were distracted and the music was so loud half of the guests didn't realize what was happening! But as for you, the minute the cake with the lighted candles appeared on the scene you began to sing "Happy Birthday." Your version was loud and a little off key, but sung with such excitement that I couldn't help but smile and rejoice in your sweet enthusiasm.
I am so thankful that during your first two years in Haiti, God allowed a wonderful woman named Lawanna to volunteer with the children and eventually to become your nanny. Among her many admirable traits was her commitment to provide a birthday cake and celebration to each of the children at the orphan village. Those parties were a bright memory in the midst of sobering circumstances, and it is thanks to her that you know the joy of a birthday celebration.
Seeing your eyes light up with expectation at other birthday parties we have attended this year made me look forward with anticipation to the day we could offer you your very own special day. However we wanted to be careful not to do something so extravagant that it might backfire and result in overtiredness and emotional meltdowns. So we decided to just invite a few of your special friends for a piece of cake and a birthday "saludo" at midday today. Everyone we asked was delighted to come!
"Aunt" Kim, our missionary colleague, and your two MK "cousins" Kristi and Kylie came. Owen's classmate Felipe, with his mom and baby sister Sophia, came. So did his classmate Lucas. Tia Debora and her daughter Deborita came, too. By the time everyone arrived you were buzzing around the house like a little bumblebee (you even looked like one with your bright yellow shirt!)
The "party" wasn't long, but it was friendly and fun and you enjoyed every bite, every gift, and every greeting. Your eyes sparkled and you talked up a storm and you even shared some of your brand-new toys with Alec. (Mommy made sure to buy him a gift, too, as I knew this occasion might be hard for him to understand.)
After your guests left, our family headed to McDonald's for lunch - a special treat to celebrate your special day! I think your older sisters and brothers were even more excited that you, but nonetheless we all enjoyed lunch outdoors in the summer sunshine and some time for family relaxation before Daddy headed back to work at church.
As we were in the car with Daddy driving and the five kids in the back seat, with smiles all around and a sense of celebration in the air, I felt so thankful to be alive and blessed with the wonderful family God has given me. I felt so thankful for you, and the privilege to have you home and to be able to celebrate your birthday together. Even your brothers and sister treated you with extra affection and appreciation today and I am so glad your day was a delight to you, just as you are to us.
We love you, Ian David.
We love you, Ian David.