A decade ago, when Ben turned eight, I started the tradition of taking 8th birthday photos with their instrument. Gabriel is our first guitarist and he’s new at it– he’s playing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” in these photos.

I look back at those photos of Ben on the front porch with his violin and it seems like yesterday. I can remember his protests (much like Gabe’s) of “why do you need pictures of me?” and the sweet strains of Bach he played after consenting. And because I know how quickly those years between 8 and 18 pass, today is bittersweet.

making a friend

Last year I posted a Gabriel list and wondered what might change:

1. sleeps with Baby Bear–oh yes

2. takes Jedi Training very seriously– even more so

3. curls into my lap during family prayer–not every night, sadly

4. eats Frosted Mini Wheats every morning and carefully turns each square sugar-side up– well, some things are a life-long habit, right?

5. sings and dances with wild abandon– he’s a soul brother

6. refuses fruit unless under great coercion– at least he eats broccoli

7. insists on a chapter of Harry Potter every night– now he reads it on his own!

8. is still the sweetest person to cuddle with on a cold morning

Baby Bear came in the car, but neither Gabe nor I remembered to include him in the photos. Which might mean Gabriel is moving on. Soon will come the days when Baby Bear lies abandoned under the bed and Gabe grows too big for my lap.

But here’s my birthday promise to you sweet Gabriel: I’m not moving on. I promise to be as invested and involved with your years as I’ve been with your older brothers. I’m not going to burn out or get distracted. I’m enjoying the inestimable pleasure of being your mother.

January 14, 2010
January 19, 2010



  1. Michelle

    January 17, 2010

    Gorgeous. Love love love the last paragraph!

  2. Ken

    January 17, 2010

    Dear Gabe,
    You are so blessed to have such a loving, gifted and dedicated mother!
    Dear Michelle,
    This is a wonderful post. The years do pass quickly. Let’s celebrate each day as we “live in Thanksgiving daily”.
    I love you very much!

  3. Linn

    January 17, 2010

    Sweetest pictures and the sweetest post. Happy Birthday cute Gabe!

  4. Selwyn

    January 17, 2010


  5. Sue

    January 17, 2010

    Again I say…Boy, do you have a gift for photography! And writing…and, apparently, mothering…

    Yep. You are one impressive kinda woman.


  6. Christie

    January 17, 2010

    Gorgeous photos, my friend.

    But tell me – do you keep chickens?????

  7. Melissa

    January 17, 2010

    I adore your sweet family to pieces and Gabe always steals my heart.
    He is my favorite. (shhh, don’t tell the others!). Hee! 🙂

  8. Tracy

    January 17, 2010

    Love these photos. He is one handsome young man.

  9. Trainer Momma

    January 17, 2010

    WOW. What a beautiful tribute to your son. It was just what I needed to read tonight after having a really tough day with my eight year old. I’m not moving on either. Thanks for the eloquent reminder.

  10. Linkous

    January 17, 2010

    Oh my word!!! How he is growing up.
    Seems like just yesterday we were dashing in and out of childrens clothing stores, cathedrals and pastry chops when you came to visit us in France!
    We love you Gabe and your perfect angel face! Don’t forget to give snuggle time to your Mom, it is one of her lifelines! Love you guys! Kev

  11. Annie

    January 18, 2010

    Ah, such a tender tribute. Happy birthday Gabe!

  12. Claudia

    January 18, 2010

    What a beautiful boy!

    I love that he’s playing guitar. He and Joseph will have to have a jam session together with their guitars. Don’t you just love the simplicity and beauty of the instrument? A life long gift for sure.

  13. Leslie

    January 18, 2010

    I am holding back the tears! I have loved few of my children’s friends like I love Gabe. When I don’t see him for a few days I will tell Will to get Gabe and be sure to come back home. I love watching them play, listening to them talk, and seeing their sweet innocence. I too think the years will fly by so fast and I never want to forget this magical moment in time with these amazing boys! We love you Gabe! The Schofields

  14. Kira

    January 19, 2010

    Thank you for the lovely reminder that I need to cherish each moment…they grow up. Having an active 4 year old can sometimes be a challenge. YOU would know only too well. I love every moment though.
    Last week our neighbor across the street had her missionary son come home. She put bright helium balloons all over the yard to celebrate his homecoming. I sat on my stairs and cried. I could just imagine my joy at Keaton coming home. I knew in my heart at that moment it would all come too soon. Now this week I am in tears again thinking I cannot waste even one moment. All too soon he will be 8, then 12…then he will leave. Thank you for being a good example of cherishing those moments!

  15. angela michelle

    January 20, 2010

    beautiful pics. i have a boy who carefully turns each frosted mini wheat frosted side up. silly boys!

  16. Jan Russell

    January 22, 2010

    The puddle is just getting bigger.

  17. Jennk

    January 28, 2010

    I agree with Sue.

    Gabe is adorable and your words are a gift to him and to us!

Comments are closed.