Shep is 6.

Shepherd boy, you turn 6 today.

Six.

In the last year, any shred of baby boyness has dissolved away leaving behind angles, sharp cheekbones, and an entire wardrobe you don’t fit anymore. You learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this year, and lost your first tooth not long ago. You are our first born, and conversations with you feel strangely adult-ish. It can become complicated, but also incredibly fun and fascinating. Your mind never stops analyzing, we can practically see the wheels turning as you process what you’re seeing, hearing, observing. You get a read on the situation and peg it for what it really is when we least expect it. You are an observer of your surroundings, but always manage to engage others along the way.

Shepherd. We love you more than words can describe. But on your birthday today, let us try to tell you how much.

This year I asked our family members to tell me 6 things they saw in Shep that they loved. I’ve documented the responses and we’ll read him different ones to Shepherd throughout the day. Getting back my family’s replies made me cry. They see the same treasures in Shep that I do. The big and little things that make him our sweet and complicated Shepherd boy who we all cherish.)

So sweet Shep, here is just a taste of some of the things we all adore about you.  Six is not a high enough number, so I’ve listed more than that here. The truth is, there are too many to count.

We love the little things about you, like how you laugh waaaay too hard, at your own jokes.

And the bigger things you do. How you care for Charlotte, or care for anyone really, even when no one is looking. God gifted you with a heart for hosting, for making others feel included and cared for. You are great at introductions and you love a good party.

Your dance moves. Good Lord, you love to dance as much as your momma! When you feel the beat there is NO stopping you. NO ONE has moves quite like you Shep. No one.

Your questions! You make me think too hard constantly. If you are interested in a topic, you are in deep. If you feel like something is off, you take notice and you ask. Your questions are thought provoking, curious, and frighteningly perceptive. We love conversations with you.

Your insatiable obsession of all things Halloween. It’s creepy and darling and we love it SO MUCH.

Your art work. We’re obsessed. It’s all over our house because you create the best drawings for any Holiday season.

Your creativity. The running play that goes on in your head is fun to watch. The sheer originality of the insults you throw at me in a fit of rage also deserve some merit. (Some day I will write them all down for you Boy and then give them to you your children so they can dazzle you with your own words as often as you have amused me…;) Seriously though, the imagination. Only you can entertain yourself with your own two hands, pretending one is a good guy and one is a bad guy, and create an entire story line out of it on a drive to Tulsa. It’s impressive.

Your honesty. In the middle of conflict you struggle with apologies because you’re not sure if you ACTUALLY feel bad for being rude or unkind. “I KNOW I should be sorry Mom,” you tell me through dramatic tears, “But I don’t FEEL sorry so I’m not sure if I really mean it! So… I can’t say it! I’m NOT sorry!” Annnnd then more tears. You and I are so related.  Ask your daddy how many times I actually feel sorry when I should probably just be asking for forgiveness…..There’s a SIGNIFIGANT time delay for when head and heart sync up.  But you’re honest about it up front Shep. You cannot lie kid… about anything, and I’m so grateful. #sorrynotsorry

Your fortitude. Born 8 weeks early, you took it like a champ. Exactly three and half years later you survived another devastating hit and thrived again when everyone told us otherwise. But you never come across as the tough kid,  and you’re quick to admit your own limitations or fears. You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for Son. You CAN do the hard things….you already have, when no else could do them for you.

The way you respond to music. You get embarrassed that a song can make you cry. But this is one of my very favorite things about you. It reveals your heart.

Your eyes. They come from Poppa T. They are captivating and soulful.

The way you love God, question Him but still trust Him encourages me to do the same. I pray this never leaves you.

Shep–Charlotte loves you because you build things for her and you’re her  best friend. Your cousin Grey likes you because you ALSO like Legos like him, Ves loves you because you’re so cool. Obviously.

You made me a momma and because of you Shepherd my greatest dream came true. I was made to love you. We share the same heartstrings but you have your daddy’s analytical mind and attention to detail. You have captured all our hearts in so many ways. Cheers to 6 little man. May it be your best year yet.

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