Jonah Wright, 1/1/11

Well, you’re nine-years old, my man.

Your mom always makes fun of me because in every story I tell about my childhood, I always say it happened when I was around nine or ten.

Maybe that’s why this birthday’s freaking me out a little bit. Nine is a big deal, dude. Apparently, it’s when every major event in my life ever occurred.

So, as you start your journey of being nine, here are some of my highlights from 2010.

This year, you fell in love with the ocean. Oh, sure, you thought the beach was awesome, but this year was different. Suddenly, you fell in love with sea creatures and plants and scuba diving and marine biology. It’s one of the things I love most about you, Jonah…you’re one of the most passionate, dedicated kids I’ve ever known. You want to know every fact and every answer. Who knows if you’ll follow this love of the ocean to actually be a marine biologist some day, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you don’t hold back when you love something. And I have to tell you that there aren’t near enough people who are like that.

This year, you were challenged. For a long time, you’ve been content to sit at school, blast through your work and then goof off the rest of the day. But now that you’re in home school, suddenly the work is hard! Mom keeps pushing you beyond your comfort level. It’s frustrating, I know, but this year, I’ve seen you make leaps and bounds as you’ve learned so much.

This year, your sister grew up. I know what you’re thinking: why is he talking about my sister? Here’s why. For the first time in her life, Finley is arguing with you, fighting for toys and trying to compete with you on a daily basis. You’ve been forced to choose between serving yourself and serving others and I’m proud of you for the hard work you’ve put in. I can guarantee you that all the stuff you’re learning now will make you into one amazing man. (Even grown ups can be selfish, you know!)

Eight was a great year, but nine is something special. You’re starting to turn into a young man and I pray that you’ll enjoy what lies ahead and that you’ll learn from it.

I love you, Jonah. Happy Birthday.

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