|Alec in Haiti, 3 weeks old|
|Alec in Chile, 4 years 11 months old|
As I always do on birthdays, I think back to the beginning of your life with us and all the years in between. You are so dear to us, because you were the son who almost never was. I like to tell you that Mommy and Daddy and Eva and Isabel and Owen were praying for one little boy, and God gave us two! That extra blessing was you.
I was looking at pictures from your time in Haiti, and the realization struck me that I have had the privilege of spending every one of your birthdays at your side. Your very first birthday was my second trip to Haiti (my first solo, overwhelming but precious visit.) We held a joint first birthday party for you and Ian. You could hardly rouse yourself to enjoy the celebration because you were getting sick. It was definitely out of character for you not to enjoy the yummy goodies that day!
By God's grace and mercy, you arrived home in time to celebrate your second birthday in Chile. As I recall, we had a very low-key celebration that year because frankly, we were still in the throes of major adjustment and transition! But you loved banana muffins, and those became your birthday "cake" that year. You didn't seem to mind! :)
Your third birthday was fun. That serious (aka, "grumpy old man") personality of yours was making an appearance and we were learning to appreciate those traits that make you uniquely you! It was the year of the scooter, which you continue to ride to this day.
By the time your fourth birthday rolled around, you were celebrating in your third country of residence. It was our family's furlough year in the United States and you, Ian, Owen and Daddy were spending some time with Grandma and Grandpa Garcia in Chicago. (Because your great-grandmother Meemie was very sick, Mommy and the girls were in Delaware helping to care for her.) They made sure you boys had a special time on your special day(s.)
But now ... it is your fifth birthday and I can hardly believe it. You are the second to last of the five same-age cousins to turn a new year older (first comes Nathaniel, then Ian, Sophia, you and finally Kendra.) Today you got to Skype with all of your cousins, both in Santiago and Pennsylvania. Though your birthday party is still a few days away, we lit a candle for you with a special breakfast treat and for lunch Mommy took you and Ian out to McDonald's. Afterwards we went to the mall for you to pick out the Max Steel action figure you've had your eye on for awhile (the underwater scuba diving Max!)
You made us laugh this morning before pre-school by asking, "How do you say this in Spanish: 'Why are you not saying Happy Birthday to me?'" You were ready to confront your classmates before they even had a chance. What a funny little goofball you are. Didn't I already mention your "grumpy old man" personality? :)
Alec, you are such a unique, deep thinking, smart little boy. It is a great privilege to be your parents and to guide you through your growing up years. Recently you have been talking about how you love God and want to go to Heaven. "When can I go there? I want to go there!" you have said more than once. We pray that God allows that seed of love and faith to grow and flourish and transform you into a man after His own heart. He has great plans for you!
All my love,