Dear Chase

Dear Chase,

Today you are eight years old. How is that possible? I feel like time seems to be slipping away from me. What has happened to my little boy? I can still picture you the first moment I saw you.

You were born on a cool, crisp September day in Seattle. The only one of my babies born remotely on-time. You came with one dimple and a set of blue eyes that are still deep and dreamy. To say that you were a happy baby would be true, but you also spent a good deal of your first year crying. Some call it colic. I've always felt it was simply a personality too big to be confined to such a small body. You have certainly grown into that personality (lately, right before our eyes). You are much more content with life than you were in those early months.

Right now you are in second grade and just seem to be thriving in school. Your obsessive personality is currently focused on all things war. You beg and plead every weekend for a "war" movie - savoring such classics as "Bridge on the River Kwai" and "Sands of Iwo Jima." Each time, your Dad and I wonder if they will go over your head, but you soak up every detail like a sponge and reiterate the plots to us for days afterward. You pour over your World War II books and fill our lives with random factoids that we've never heard before. You get positively giddy over old books just like your Opa, and cannot get enough of anything related to history. I think you'd be just as at-home in an antique store as you are on a playground.

You are so passionate about conservation. If someone "accidentally" throws a can in the garbage (usually me), you will rescue it for the recycling bin, then give us all a lecture on protecting the environment. You get upset and have come to tears when talking about the destruction of animal habitats. You worry so much about this little planet of ours. You care about all god's creatures, and have a tender spot reserved just for reptiles and amphibians.

You are so close to your brother. The two of you have become one entity; you have become simply "the boys." You are inseparable. You have interests as different as night and day, yet you are the best of friends. Your brother is, however, trying to come to terms with the fact that you are already as tall as him, and may shortly pass him up. I have no doubt that you will. I also have to laugh every time your father tries to take credit for it.

You are such a kind, sensitive little boy; yet there is a fierce independence inside that does not care what anyone thinks of you. You are confident in yourself and your decisions. You never second guess yourself. Times where I would melt with insecurity, you walk boldly in with your head held high.

You are so willing to give me hugs in public and light up when I come to help in your classroom at school. Occasionally, you even still reach for my hand in a parking lot. I treasure these times because I have no doubt they will fade, as has the rest of your former baby self.

You are my little artist. A few years ago, you would be so hard on yourself and get absolutely frustrated when a project didn't turn out the way you wanted it. Now you take such pride in your creations. You can turn a discarded pile of scraps into a masterpiece. You have the creative vision to see what things COULD be. An empty cardboard box is not trash; it is a blank canvas, full of possibilities.

You are a beautiful person, both inside and out. I love you, little guy. May this be your best year yet.