Dear Mr. Brandon,
Happy seventh birthday big boy! This year has brought so many changes. You started school. You started to read. You went girl crazy, and you just seemed to grow up so much.
When I sat down to write this year's birthday letter, I decided that I would share my favorite memory I have with you this year. It's so special to me, and just in case you ever forget, I wanted to write it down for you.
One day on vacation, you and I decided to go kayaking while everyone else took a nap. Now, you may look back and think I was a fun and nice for taking you kayaking, but I did have other reasons for the adventure.
You have a lot energy....a lot, and when you don't use up your energy, you get destructive. Taking you out while everyone else napped was not just for fun but for survival.
As we started out on our kayaking adventure, we made a plan to go all the way across the lake to the playground, but I soon realized something was very wrong. Just a few minutes into our adventure, I learned I was the worst kayaker ever.
I don't know much about kayaking, but I believe the object is to go in a straight line from point A to point B, however I made giant circles all over the water.
It took a few minutes, but eventually you caught on to my lack of paddling skills. "Mom, why do we keep turning around the other way."
Finally after thirty minutes of paddling and only making it a third of the way to our goal, I told you, "Brandon, Mommy is not a very good kayaker. Why don't we just head back?"
You thought for a while, and then said, "Mom, Lankfords never quit! We have to get to the playground."
Now, "Lankfords never quit" is a line that your dad taught you, and in that moment, I really regretted Shad ever making that a family motto.
I tried to reason with you. "Well, sometimes Lankfords realize that there are some things we can't do, and we decide to stop trying. It's not necessarily quitting, but facing the facts." Unfortunately, you didn't buy it. In fact, you started chanting, "Lankfords never quit. Lankfords never quit!"
I've never been so frustrated at you and so proud of you all at the same time.
We kept at it with me rowing, you encouraging, and our kayak circling, creeping towards the playground.
At one point, we rowed past some fisherman. Unable to control the kayak, I went all over their fishing spot. I yelled out, "I'm so sorry. I'm the worst kayaker ever!!!" I have a feeling they already knew that, but I felt that it was important to let them know that I knew just how bad I was.
As we went past the fishermen, you chanted, "Lankfords never quit," when you weren't uncontrollably laughing at me.
When we finally made it to the playground, we jumped out and shouted like we had just won a big game, and it felt like we had. After just a few minutes at the playground, I realized we wouldn't be on the lake if your Dad came to look for us so we jumped into the kayak and headed back.
As we headed back, you looked for air bubbles because that's what Turtle Man looks for when he's hunting turtles.
Just as I thought, when we got back, your dad was standing on the shore and waiting for us. He got a little nervous because we had been gone so long. (You've got a good Dad.)
That kayak trip was a terrible, wonderful adventure. When you and I are on an adventure, that's when we both are at our best. You are so much like your dad in so very many ways, but one personality trait that you and I share is our love for adventure.
I don't think I have ever laughed with you as much as we laughed on that terrible kayak trip. With each time the kayak spun in a circle, you would burst out laughing, and I couldn't help but join you.
That's one of the things I love about you. Most people would have been angry at our slow progress, but you enjoyed the view and soaked up every minute on the lake.
Later in the week, we learned that the kayak had issues and maybe I wasn't the worst kayaker ever, but I wouldn't trade our terrible kayak trip for anything.
I can't believe you turn seven today. You've been an adventure since the moment I said, "I think I might be pregnant." I hope your life is filled with many, many more adventures, and I hope I'm right there beside you laughing and chanting, "Lankfords never quit!"
Your Fellow Adventurer
Note: You can find your fifth birthday letter here, and your sixth birthday letter here.