abcabcabc MJ Birthday Letter #7 — Mommy Manders

MJ Birthday Letter #7

This letter continues a special birthday ritual I began when MJ was a baby of writing letters to my children as an intentional gift of love. Read previous letters: Letter #6Birthday Letter #5Birthday Letter #4Birthday Letter #3Birthday Letter #2Birthday Letter #1Letter to new Baby MJ

(I started this letter on Sunday after sitting in church with you, and finished it on Wednesday evening on your birthday!)

My Dearest Little Sunshine Boy,

This morning I was sitting with you in church, and you rested your head in my lap with your body folded up on the pew beside me under the big shepherd stained glass window. As I stroked your messy cow-licked head, and you closed your eye lids with the beautiful long lashes, I couldn’t help thinking back to the first time I brought you to church at just 6 days old on Easter Sunday, and held you sleeping peacefully in my arms in a long white cotton gown with a blue bunny embroidered on it, and a little white hat under that same window. I was so proud of you, and just brimming with more love and beaming with more pride than I’d ever known! Today as I gazed down at you I marveled at how that little newborn body had physically grown into this long boy now, bruised and scratched up legs bent, worn out sneakers pushed against the end of the pew. What a miracle! But I also thought about that amazing growing brain of yours. I could have never known back then what a cool kid you would be – so full of creative, inventive, and independent ideas; so full of knowledge and curiosity about our world; but also full of love, kindness, and generosity for others, including your mother. I must admit that as I thought back, I shed a few Mommy -tears…you are just growing up too fast! You are growing up and away from me – not needing me nearly as much as you used to. You are growing in confidence and enjoying being a BIG kid whenever you get the chance – to ride your bike ahead of me to school, to explore Pine Cove with friends, to work in the kitchen, garage or backyard on a project all by yourself.  I thought about how much I want to hold you close in my lap like that for years to come! (Maybe you’l let me for another couple of years at least.) I wrote this “twitter” poem to sum up my thoughts because April is also poetry month!

Stroking sleepy head in lap, remembering baby blonde you.
Now legs stretch long, growing. Growing brain, growing up and out of mama’s arms.

You started Kindergarten this year, and you LOVE it! Of course, I am proud that you like learning at school, that you have done so well with homework and testing and reading and math, that you made it into REACH and are learning all about “Metacognition”, that you are sharing your gift of music in the children’s choir at FPC, but most of all, I’m proud of the way your teachers and friends like you so much. It is because along with your love for people, you carry with you this zest and passion for life and learning, and always have. You are such a positive, joyful person, and just FUN to be around. (Except sometimes with when you don’t get your way…you are still learning NOT to argue with grown-ups.) You know how to get under my skin, and sometimes I have to take some pretty deep breaths to keep my cool with you! This afternoon when  you were trying to argue your way out of some consequence, and I interrupted your “reasoning”, you said, “Mommy, how is it that you’ve been a Mommy for 7 years and still haven’t learned to listen to me?” (Deep breath.) You certainly aren’t afraid to speak your mind! You are clever, but you’re not always correct! You’ll learn….or you’ll be a great lawyer someday. (I’m thinking “debate team” might be in your future.) But I can tell you’ve matured a LOT this year, being more responsible and helpful with chores at home, more in control of your actions and body, loving and patient with your sometimes difficult sister, and understanding of disappointing situations. I am proud of you, and I LOVE being your Mommy!

This morning Ellie and I awakened you early pretending we were the “Birthday Bird” from the Dr. Seuss book whisper-shouting, “Wake up! For today is your day of all days!” I offered to take you out to breakfast – anywhere. But you chose the school cafeteria, so the 3 of us biked through the misty moisty early morning to LHE, and had biscuits and sausage while I read the Dr. Seuss “Happy Birthday” book to you.



Pondering how it feels to be 7 from the top of the monkey bars before school! “3 Cheers, I am I !”

I went back to join you for lunch, and we shared a picnic outside on the playground, where we did your “7-year-old Interview”. Here were your answers:

  • Favorite color: turquoise
  • Fave TV show: Treehouse Masters, Out on a Limb
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Treehouse builder/ animal scientist
  • Fave thing to do at home: invent things on my fort.
  • Fave thing to do with family: ride bikes.
  • Fave thing to do with Ellie: clean the fort
  • Fave thing to do with GareBear: play with his phone and swing
  • Fave thing to do with Beffa: sew
  • Fave thing to do at school: centers
  • Fave food: cakes I made (MJ, not Mommy)
  • Fave animal: angler fish and aardvark
  • Fave book: Perfect Time for Pandas (Magic Treehouse)
  • Fave friend: Mitchell
  • Proudest accomplishment for year #6: back-rolls (You did learn to read, too.)


After we played with your friends on the playground, you wanted to head home with me for a bit. You enjoyed making jewelry with your new rainbow loom that Ellie gave you while I read to you. And then you watched a “Nature” show about “What Plants Talk About”. Then we headed back to school and met your class outside where they sang “Happy Birthday” to you, and you served up the chocolate cake you’d made.

Ms. Ruth's great class of good friends!

Ms. Ruth’s great class of good friends!

This evening we met GareBear and Beffa, and Uncle Jake, Aunt Sarah and Poppy at your chosen restaurant: Jason’s Deli! When we came home, you talked to your other grandparents on the phone, and got a couple more gifts from me and Daddy. You are very excited about the rocket that Daddy got for you! When you are ready for bed, you and Ellie were cracking up listening to Daddy read “Sisters Eight” to you in the living room tonight.


Modeling his new transforming sphere toy!


Studying his new rocket!

Modeling your new "Be in a Tree" shirt from Pete Nelson's Treehouse Company!

Modeling your new “Be in a Tree” shirt from Pete Nelson’s Treehouse Company!

When I tucked you in and asked about your good things, you listed EVERYTHING! Your positive and grateful attitude is so contagious. I have no doubt you’ll have LOTS of “good things” to come in your 8th year, and I can’t wait to enjoy each day with you. You are such a light in my life, and in the life of so many! God Bless you, my little Sunshine Boy.

I love you to the moon and back!

Always, your Mommy



  1. Liza Lake says:

    So beautiful!! Happy Birthday MJ!

  2. Gary Minton says:

    He is an amazing, exasperating, brilliant little guy. You’ve mothered him well, Sweetheart.