Tuesday, December 01, 2015

to campbell, on your 4th birthday

Coincidentally, in my TimeHop today.
Dear Campbell,

Wow... welcome to 4 years old!  Your mom and I have said, on more than one occasion, "Can you believe this kid is about to be 4?!" and the response is always, "No, it's crazy!"

You know what 4 means, right? This means you aren't a baby anymore, and you are kind of sort of a toddler, but are actually becoming a kid... a kid who can do things, a kid who can talk, a kid who is smarter than you let on.

As I've written in a previous letter:  You were born [four] years ago on this date.  Yesterday, a year ago, I got a call from your mom that things were progressing quicker than we thought... And it was the next day, or today-one year-that you came to meet us... (it was a week later when we brought you home) 

Let's talk about the year, though... it's 2015, and my favorite films of the year so far have been a few action flicks, like "Mad Max Fury Road", "The Martian" and "Kingsman Secret Service", an animated new classic, "Inside Out", and a few comedies like "Pitch Perfect 2", along with "Spy" and of course, the super hero trend continues, with "Ant Man" being quite an unexpected hit this year.  "Avengers Age of Ultron" also came out, but just didnt pack the umph that the first one did.

Hopefully you have avoided "Fantastic Four" that came out this year, because it is a real turd bucket, let me tell you.

Your mom and I don't watch a lot of  television, other than HGTV (I like "Flip or Flop" -- don't tell your mom, but its mostly because of co-host Christina--and she likes "Property Brothers", which I assume has a little to do with Drew & Whatshisname Twin guy) and DVR'ed episodes of "Grey's Anatomy"... I do like "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" still.  Is that still on when you are reading this in 2019 or 2022?

And as far as music goes, can I tell you that I have actually not purchased any song from iTunes this year that is actually FROM this year, other than this little ditty called "Uptown Funk"?  If you haven't seen it, get on whatever version of YouTube you have, or go find my old iPod and listen.  It's a hoot.

Now... let's talk about you.  You are super smart, kid.  You really are. I've watched you be frustrated one day over a game on your iPad that you can't figure out, then watched you the next day play the same game and you are flying through it.  Your mom and I have a volume app on the iPad that regulates how loud you  turn it up... and dang you, if you don't figure out a way around it every single time, despite the fact it's got a password on the app.

I watch you in wonder as you watch the world in wonder... I smiled when we were at Disney World this November, and you watched the big Disney buses like they were the most interesting thing in the entire world... and to you, in those moments, I think they were.

You had this thing about sticking your hand in characters mouths and
noses.  We are hoping this tendency remains (and halts) with those who
have large fiberglass heads and not real people.
You are starting to really recognize things now... while in the Winnie the Pooh ride, we could tell that you knew who Tigger was.  And when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on, you know the songs--its funny to watch you stop what you are doing and stare at the TV during the Hot Dog song, sometimes jumping up and down, sometimes clapping and always smiling.   We could tell you also recognized Doc McStuffins and Jake from the Neverland Pirates, which was a treat to see.

Your fascination with opening and closing doors is also a wonder.  We watch as you love to turn locks and doorknobs, open doors, look out, then close them quickly.  Then do it again.  Whether its a door handle on a car (of which sometimes is not ours) or a door knob at school, at Pops & GG's house or the meeting house at the park, you love turning knobs.  It's hilarious.

We've watched you this year as you've learned new words too... your mom and I both have prayed many prayers over you, but one consistent prayer is that you would talk. And talk you have.  Words like "Apple", "Berry", "Turkey", "Bus", "Sock", "Up", "Outside", "Monkey" and many, many more are  things you say over and over.  You are learning names of those around you, like Mama and Dada (Mahmaamaa and Ga-Ga), which fills our hearts with joy that you know our names and who we are to you.

You and I play this game, a game that your mom can't get you to play with her and it drives her nuts... You'll say "Ga-Ga", and I'll say "Campbell". Then you say "Ga-Ga" again, and I'll look at you and say "Campbell".  And sometimes we do this three or four times, other times we do it off and on all night, and I can't get enough.

By now you have already known God has given you a few opportunities that He didn't give other kids (by the same token, they have things to deal with that you don't, so don't feel slighted).  You deal with Autism.  It's something that has kept you from learning as fast as other kids.  While your friend Carter and your friend (and perhaps lady-in-waiting, as she loves her some Campbell D) Clara are writing, having conversations with their parents, having imagination filled playtimes, you aren't there.  Well, not yet.

You can color some, and though we can converse with you, its very broken, few words and some body language needed.  Your imagination hasn't come yet--though we did watch you pick up bowls & cups and put them to your ears to hear the different sounds, which wasn't taught to you... that makes it pretty cool you figured that out.

I hate to use the word "different", but yes, there are some differences. And that's okay.  Our milestones with you are somewhat different than milestones some parents have... the day you started saying "Da-Da" and "Mama" on a regular basis was huge for us, just like the day that you learned how to jump up and down, or the day when you learned the hand motions for Itsy Bitsy Spider.

The last known picture of Campbell as a
three year old
These are the kind of things that you are learning at school, at Mitchell's Place, and it's not crazy to say that MP is changing your life, and ours.  Miss Whitton and Miss Iyanna and Miss Carrie are doing so much with you, one on one, every day, teaching you, helping you understand and learn and talk and... well, play.  We know you love to play.

But at Disney World, watching you on top of that hill where the slide was, watching you wait in line patiently and not jumping ahead of kids, watching you wait your turn before sliding... just the social interaction alone was so sweet to see.

But you have to understand something... you are SO LOVED.  Not just by us, your mom and dad.  Not just by Pops & GG and Granny Jan and Pawpaw Randy.  Not just by your aunts and uncles and cousins... but you have so many friends who have met you and love you.  Mrs Rachel was the one who gave you your iPad because she loved you, and there are countless people on social media, in your Dad's social communities and even just friends, who love you and love reading
about you and seeing your pictures and keeping up with you.  You are loved and cherished and prayed for, so don't ever forget that.

I know this has been a jumbled mess to read, Campbell, and I'm sorry for that.  I just have so much to say and want to get it all down on paper, and don't even know how to connect it, so I hope it reads well--at least well enough for you.  Your mom and I love you so much, but even more than that, Jesus Christ loves and died for you, and your mom and I both pray that you will find Him and accept Him and believe in Him.  And you know if you ever have any questions, we will be here.

You are a special kid, kid.  And you are now four years old.  And we are so proud of you, Campbell Isaiah.


My previous birthday letters... 
To Campbell on your 1st birthday
To Campbell on your 2nd birthday
To Campbell on your 3rd birthday


  1. What a lovely letter. I'm sure Campbell will enjoy reading them one day as much (or much more than) I did today. You are a great father and really nice man. Please add me to Campbell's list of admirers. - Pam Hanson

  2. What a lovely letter. I'm sure Campbell will enjoy reading them one day as much (or much more than) I did today. You are a great father and really nice man. Please add me to Campbell's list of admirers. - Pam Hanson

    1. Thanks Pam... thanks for all the kind words =)

  3. Awesome letter filled with love and care, Campbell is very lucky to have such a great parents... God will always with you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words =)


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