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My last is having his last. The last year of being single digits. It’s a bit of a watershed year in many ways for Micah as 9 will forever be remembered as the year he moved to Australia. I wonder how he will look back on this year when he is older? Will it be with fresh memories of the tears and homesickness that flares up from time to time? Will it be with nostalgia as he remembers old friends and new? I wonder if he will remember this as the year that he lost Bunny for good? (Or if Bunny will magically find his way back to us, even from halfway across a city.) What else will memories of being 9 bring? My prayer is that they will be memories he is glad to have – memories that contribute to building a young man who is like his verse-sake: Micah 6:8.

In the past year, Mr Micah has made some big leaps towards that, but he also struggles with his own sinfulness in ways that are wide out in the open for all to see. We jokingly (and often, not so jokingly) call him King Micah when the entitlement attitude comes out. Anger is still one of the emotions that can barrel out of his small frame with all the force of a speeding bullet. But, just as quickly die down too. His poor (not so poor!) ears have heard chastisement over and over – stop being so loud; think about others; don’t be so selfish; no hitting! But, there have been huge striding attempts towards putting into practise some of the advice he is given: today, choose to serve someone else, and not yourself; speak in a gentle, kind voice; ask how you can help. It’s a joy to catch him being gracious, kind, gentle and considerate. Sometimes, there’s a little bit of gentle side correction about pride and self-righteousness to go with the praise when we do catch him doing well.

This move to Oz has forced Micah out of many comfort zones. Some have been so hard and bring tears to my eyes remembering his own tears.  Talking with his grandparents on Skype is one of the hardest things – his face usually crumples up within seconds of seeing their image on the screen. Talking about Gracie the cat, still at home; or Johanna, our much-loved and much-missed housekeeper, has Micah dissolving into tears again. How this boy of mine wears his heart on his sleeve! Ever since very little and still to this day, Mr Micah’s emotions are out there. Angry? You’ll know in a second. Sad? Tears will rain. Grumpy? That curled up ball on the couch with his back so obviously to the world won’t take long to be teased into a tickle-fest. For, while he feels his big emotions strongly, he also doesn’t hold onto grudges. And that is one of the many things that we love about Micah – his ability to bounce back so easily from any mishap or frustration. They’re short-lived and soon enough he thinks that the same person who drove him nuts seconds ago is actually his best bud and deserves a few Micah hugs.

And boy – that is something that hasn’t changed one little bit over the years. Micah is a hugger! Most of us love that about him – except the non-huggers in our house! I pray that one day he marries a hugger too, so that he can speak the same love language with great joy. In the meantime, I’m grateful to be the recipient of most of his hugs and while I don’t always treasure them as I should (especially on the back of another frustrating Micah moment), I am glad for them.

I pray that they don’t diminish. Instead, I pray for changes that will be hard but beneficial. Already, I see glimpses. A far better attitude towards his school work. Still not his first love, but now with a growing sense of responsibility. A “catching” of himself before he launches into a King Micah moment and an “about turn” in his attempt to do/say the right thing instead. A better attitude towards playmates, especially now that he has had to start from scratch with friends – lots of reminders to be gracious and give kids a chance are slowly sinking in enough for him to take them on board, albeit tentatively. And … Less grumping and more doing of chores! Even today, as I took 5 minutes on the couch, he and Sam chose to hang laundry I had planned to do myself.

I love the joy he gets from doing good. I love the joy he gets from reading more and more – nowadays, he can be found reading for enjoyment and not just school. I wasn’t sure the day would ever come! I love how he throws himself into his plans and projects. Lately, he has decided to be a songwriter. Of course, he needs drums, piano and all the instruments required to complete the whole song. In the meantime, I get detailed demonstrations and scraps of paper are filled with his scribbled verses. Albeit, the same one over and over! But, hey, a message that includes “God, you rock!” is worthy of repetition!

Of course, Lego is still a firm favourite and his #1 pick on his birthday wishlist. He can’t wait for our cat to join us and he wishes he could have kept the carpet python we found in the garden of our rental house here in Brisbane! He loves every single minute of time spent playing with his dad – so much so that he’s swapped out his birthday mommy date with another daddy date instead! He rollerblades around like a crazy one and loves giving my heart failure with new tricks. And birthdays – he loves loves loves LOVES that it’s his birthday. For weeks and weeks, we’ve been reminded. I have reminders programmed by Mr Micah on my phone and alarms set to wake me up. His parting words to me as he went to bed on the eve of his 9th birthday were to remember to wake him at 7:30am with presents!  I know that his little body will be full of bounce and excitement all day long and I can’t wait to see him enjoy being (finally!) 9.

And, as 9 gradually moves towards 10, I will continue to pray that he will enjoy his days, but more so, enjoy Christ and love Him forever.

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