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Sweet 16

I feel like we should still be celebrating birthday 12 or 13, but those have come and gone, and I made the mistake of blinking . . . now you are 16 years old, and I cannot believe we are here already. 16 years ago, we were bumbling along in this brand new stage of being parents, having hardly a clue of what we were doing or what we were getting into. You were only about 8 hours old, arriving just after midnight on the morning of Dec. 11th. You were born with the cord wrapped around your neck, and the nurses whisked you away to make sure you started breathing. Before long, that bluish color had turned to a nice pink, and you started your quiet cries (sweet relief to these brand new parents). And that cone head that came from being in the birth canal for so long rounded off, making you look less like a little alien baby, and more like a normal little human baby :)

You had sweet little almond shaped eyes (I lost track of how many people told us you looked like a Precious Moments baby with those eyes), and you had us head over heels in love with you as soon as you entered the world. In your first 2 years of life, you lived in 3 different states . . . Iowa, Florida, & Ohio. The moves didn't seem to bother you at all. As long as you could have our attention, pulling our finger to show us where you wanted us to go, you were good.

At the age of 3 1/2, you became a big brother to Ian, and you were such a big help. I think with the wider age gap, you didn't struggle with jealousy at all. You couldn't wait to teach him all the tricks you were learning.

You guys were best buds, and Ian wanted to try everything you would do. He has always looked up to you, and wanted to be just like you.

This is my all-time favorite video of you guys . . .

When Gavin came along (you were in Kindergarten), it was like we had 2 Coles in the house, 6 years apart. He looked a lot like you and acted just like you. Your personalities seemed to be almost identical . . .

Always the adventurer, you loved trying new tricks. Whether it was heading to the skate park, or riding your dirt bike (or tying something to your bike, and pulling Ian around on the sidewalks) . . . there were not many dull moments with you.

You have always loved helping out in the kitchen, and I know I can leave you in charge if I'm going to be gone over a meal time, and you'll come up with something.

You have always had a love for little kids, and you especially adore your younger cousins. You entertain them easily, and they look up to you so much . . .

It makes this momma just a little teary-eyed to look back through the years, and feel like there's no way you can be growing so fast, and turning into the young man that you are. That chubby middle school boy has stretched out, and passed me in height. And all of a sudden, you are this young man, flying through your high school years. I want to put the brakes on time, but I know that's not humanly possible.

So instead of trying to pause time, I want to really just soak it all in.

Watching you play a sport that you absolutely LOVE--even though you didn't start playing soccer until Junior High, it didn't take long at all to see you excel and thrive out there on the field. You absolutely cannot wait for the next soccer game or season to come, and in the meantime, you can often be found kicking a ball around in the basement or out in the backyard.

But the thing we are most proud of you for is the way you live your life on a day in/day out basis. You are not the loud one in the crowd, or the leader of the pack. But seeing the way God has wired you and gifted you, and seeing you live out His calling on your life . . . you loving Jesus and following Him, that is the biggest and best decision you could ever make. And in the end, that's the only thing that really matters.

Dad & I could not be more proud of you and the young man you are growing into. You're still human and far from perfect (welcome to the crowd). But keep pressing into Jesus, and He will lead you exactly where He wants you to be.

Happy 16th, Cole . . . we love you!

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