You are five today! And, it's also the one year anniversary of the start of our RTW trip. You are a trooper and are always up for an adventure! You have walked a million miles on your little legs, eaten and enjoyed an amazing array of exotic foods, slept in more new houses/beds than we can even count, navigated subway stations and other various forms of transportation, had your picture made with innumerable statues (and Asians!), tried out words and phrases in different languages, and made friends wherever you have been. And, you have done it all with an almost-constant smile your face. You are one of the happiest, easiest-to-get-along-with people I have ever known. And, you genuinely love to travel. (You even wanted a world birthday cake this year!) It has been so much fun experiencing the world with you, not only in the last year, but in the last five.
During this last year you have really gotten good at writing, and you often write special little notes for everyone in the family. You love more deeply than anyone I know, and nothing makes you happier than doing nice things for the people you care about. You are a giver, a sharer, and a helper. You are always thinking of others, and you never tire of giving hugs and kisses and other forms of affection. Recently, Dad took you out for some one-on-one time and offered to do anything you wanted to do. Your immediate response was to request to get a surprise for everyone else, which Dad had to agree to before you would pick anything for yourself. Selflessness is at your very core, and I truly believe you make the world a better place. I don't think I'll ever be the kind of kind, generous person you are, but you make me want to try.
You were eager to do school work this year, just like the other kids. You worked hard on writing, reading, math, history, and Chinese. You are a smart boy and have a fantastic memory. You impressed us the other day by writing the Chinese character for "four," without any prompting and after quite a long break in the regular study of the subject. Sometimes you do take your self-imposed school work a little too seriously, though, and Dad and I have to insist that you take a break to go play. You are really looking forward to being in Kindergarten this next school year and to participating with a CC class back in Texas.
At this point in your life, you are hoping to be "a cowboy in a rocket ship, shooting bows and arrows" when you grow up. It seems like a good goal. You have big plans for the design of your rocket, which include making sure there is a spot for every person in your immediate and extended family and a bucket of each person's favorite things, which you have detailed mental catalogs of. You also plan to have plenty of "weaponary," just in case we come across any bad guys. There's definitely something to be said for preparedness. I'm sure you learned everything you need to know about rocket ships from your friend Watta JJ, because she seems to know everything about everything, and she's always willing to share her knowledge. She's a good friend.
You got to ride a horse for the first time this year, and you had a blast. You also became quite a good little swimmer, and it won't be long before you can handle the pool without Dad or me being in the water. Throughout the year, you have had opportunities to play rugby, soccer, hockey, and a few other sports, but you have decided you'd like to play good ol' American baseball when we get back to the States. I bet you'll be the cutest baseball player to ever grace the field. (You know for sure that you DON'T want to play football. I suspect it's just too rough for your gentle tastes.)
Clay, I can't believe you're 5! I am so thankful for you and proud of you! I love your big heart and your big smile. You bring joy to every day and to every corner of the earth you touch. You are a blessing to me and to everyone who knows you. Happy Birthday, sweet boy! Have fun being a whole hand full!
Hugs and kisses and lots of love,
|My favorite five boy|
(who insisted on having his whole name on his cake,
and who requested Africa and Venice to be on top)