Ours, that is. Well before he was born, with our history of loss and preterm labor, living in the era of no phone coverage/power/running water/paved road/post office for hours in any direction . . . we had to cling to faith in the goodness of God without a guaranteed outcome. Our first flight out on the new airstrip was to get to Kijabe for what we thought was an imminent slightly preterm birth, only to wait until within 12 hours of his due date.
From the beginning he was adventurous and affectionate. He tuned into music. He loved airplanes and tech and guitars and computers. He was fierce when provoked, but could also be happy for hours alone.
(back at Kijabe exactly three years later for Jack's birth)
This child. Some serious life-threatening illnesses. Some evacuations. Some tragic injuries. Well before being deployed to Afghanistan, he brought stretching challenges into our life, time and time again. The juxtaposition of loving someone so much, and not being able to control the circumstances around him at all.
Friends and a dog and a sandpile and mango tree and soccer ball. That pretty much filled the days.
These two. What a bond of loyalty and understanding.
These two (note the progression to wear the bigger shirt . . I guess we didn't have many or always took photos in the nice shirts sent by grandparents), surviving the squeeze in the middle, very much alike in many ways.
These two. Bonding even more as they grow up, similarly strong and independent, after an epic backpacking adventure.
This kid. We proudly celebrated his graduation from the US Air Force Academy.
His commissioning as a 2nd Lt into the US Army.
And . . his successful completion of Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course and Ranger School.
This boy. Yes, he's been pushing us towards faith from the time he was in utero, right up to today. We are grateful to be the parents of such a young man, who quietly strides into the hardest path possible at every turn it seems. He cares deeply for his friends and family, he strives intently to become a leader of integrity and skill, he works to build strength and wisdom, he never complains. In the course of building our faith, he's developed his own, and for that we are even more grateful.
We wish him Happy Birthday on the 28th, and a clear sense of God's mercy and grace in a hard place.