Thirteen! I can't believe that many years have passed since little All-a-Boy joined the family. Here are thirteen awesome things about our All-a-Boy:
1. The thing I remember most about the day he was born is that he would not stop smiling. The doctor, the nurses, everyone noticed and commented on it. And it wasn't your typical newborn gas-induced smiles. This kid was just happy to be here!
2. From an early age, All-a-Boy has loved music. He would calm down almost immediately if I sang to him and his favorite song was Angel Lullaby. Even as he got older and I would go downstairs to sing to the kids at bedtime he would still request this song. He loves to have music playing in the house as he does homework or works on his chores. He will sing along to familiar tunes being played in grocery stores and even throw in a couple of wicked dance moves on occasion.
3. All-a-Boy is musically talented. He can play the piano (he especially prefers pieces by John Williams) and sing beautifully. He sang tenor in the Men's Choir at the high school last year and hopes to sing in a barbershop quartet someday.
4. If All-a-Boy could live in a tent in our backyard, I have no doubt that he would. I think he is more at home in the outdoors than he is in the house. Give him a fire, a stick, a gun and permission to get filthy dirty and he's in heaven.
5. When All-a-Boy decides he likes something, he likes it All The Way. There is no halfway in this kid's brain. As a little kid, he was fascinated with dinosaurs. He could tell you their popular names, their scientific names, their eating and migration habits and when they became extinct. He could not get enough dinosaurs in his life and even made up stories about he and his cousin Brandon as dinosaurs.
And then he discovered superheroes. Superman and Batman were his main obsessions, but mostly Superman because he had some really cool Superman pajamas and even a cape.
Most recently it's been Star Wars and Legos, and those don't seem like they're going anywhere anytime soon.
6. All-a-Boy is an amazing reader and super smart kid. Before my kids enter kindergarten I always make sure they know their colors, the alphabet and how to write their name. Well, with All-a-Boy I was lucky to get to the colors and his name. One day I got a call from his teacher who wanted to ask me about his reading. I thought, Oh boy, here it comes. I knew I should have taught him his alphabet. Then she asked what method I had used to teach him to read because he was the best reader in class. The kid taught himself to read in kindergarten! And he hasn't stopped devouring books since.
7. This boy's creativity knows no boundaries. In the first grade they had Pet Day at school. He came home and showed me the little flyer that talked all about it and I told him we could maybe ask a neighbor if we could borrow a pet. "No," he told me, "I want to bring Hubba in a dog costume. He can be my pet!" I have never seen a kid so excited for Pet Day! He was so proud to show everyone his cute little puppy brother.
One day (during his superhero phase) he made himself this mask to wear as he ate his lunch. He's always full of crazy surprises like that.
8. All-a-Boy is a great friend. His friends mean the world to him and he can't get enough of them.
His cousin Brandon was born just a couple of weeks after him and they grew up together. As they got older and Brandon's family moved out of state, the two stayed in touch and they always pick up right where they left off when they have the chance to be together again. In fact, All-a-Boy is at scout camp this week with his neighborhood friends and Brandon. I'm sure they are having the time of their lives.
9. And speaking of scouts, I have never known a kid more excited to become a scout than All-a-Boy. Ever since he turned 8 years old and became a Cub Scout he has loved every part of the scouting program and is always pushing Allen and I to help him work on merit badges and advancements.
10. All-a-Boy has a kind, caring heart. He loves to do nice things for others. I will never forget the year that he saved his own money and wanted to use it to buy flowers and a box of chocolates for one of his past teachers who meant a lot to him. He found her address in the phone book and had me drive him to her house so he could make the delivery in person, wearing his Sunday best.
He is also the first to remind us of the traditional breakfast in bed that is served to each family member on their birthday. One year no one woke up to make me breakfast so he did it himself, cooking up the only hot breakfast he knew how to make: boiled eggs and toast. What a thoughtful boy.
11. I think that if All-a-Boy had to choose someone that he looks up to the first person to come to mind would be his big brother, Coolister. They have a lot in common and I think it's because they have a mutual love and respect for each other. Of course, boys will be boys - they do get on each others' nerves more than I like to admit, but for the most part they have a great relationship. And I think that All-a-Boy has been as good for Coolister as Coolister has been for him.
12. Probably the word I have heard the most in describing All-a-Boy is precocious. It's a word that I love, as it describes most of my boys well. He has always had that... I don't know, that look. You know the one.
The one that says, I'm hatching a plan. The one that says... whatever this look says:
(He's the one down in the front. You may need to click on the picture to get a better look.)
Whatever it is, I love it.
13. All-a-Boy has a deeper understanding of the important things in life than most kids his age. In fact, probably more so than a lot of adults. It's like he has this old, wise soul trapped in his kid-sized body. I love it when he walks to the pulpit to share his testimony on Fast Sundays at church. He has no problem talking to others about what he knows is right. He has always been a great missionary who loves to tell others about our church. I know I have mentioned this story before, but I am still in awe to think of the influence my little boy had in simply sharing what he knows is true.
(If you haven't read the story of All-a-Boy and Walt, you can find it by clicking on the link above.)
I know it's over two months late, but it doesn't mean I love you any less, kid! Happy thirteenth year, All-a-Boy. You constantly amaze me with your awesomeness.