What a precious thought to wake up to this morning: my beloved son Eli is 4-years-old.

It’s hard to imagine that I have two 4-year-olds in the house now, but I couldn’t be any prouder than I am of these boys.  On Eli’s birthday, my heart is full of joy and my head is full of memories of all that God has done in and through him in his short life.

Eli, you are loved more than you could possibly know.  Not only by us, but you have been embraced by such a large extended family.  You were “uplifted” and yet you have done more uplifting of your own than most people have in their entire lives.

As you become the big boy age of 4 today, I wanted to give 4 perspectives of why 4 close people love you:

  1. Dad – You taught Dad how to smile.  There is no one in this world that knows how to capture the attention of a room like you.  Ever since I saw your smile, I haven’t been able to recover from mine.  You know how to make me laugh better than anyone.  You bring such joy to your father, and I am so very proud of everything about you.  You are adored by your father, and I am a better man because of you.
  2. Mom – You taught Mom unconditional love.  In the way she embraced you, in the way you embraced her, the two of you became inseparable.  When Mom would get ready in the morning, while Obadiah might watch a cartoon, you just wanted to be near her.  You love to help her, ask her a thousand questions, and remain engaged in all that she does throughout the day.  Ever since those first Goldfish she gave you in the airport, the two of you have been closer than anyone can truly imagine.
  3. Obadiah – You taught Obadiah how to laugh.  Ever since that first meeting of the two, you have been able to have your brother rolling on the floor in laughter.  You know just how to cheer him up, get him excited, and make his day brighter.  When I hear Obadiah start that unmistakeable laugh, I know you are probably behind it.  I love watching the two of you playing in the sand, hauling anything and everything, eating picnics, creating some innovative contraptions, and painting the most beautiful picture of brotherhood that a father could ever ask for.
  4. Gloria – You taught Gloria to be content.  You constantly beat Dad and Mom to the punch when Gloria is in distress.  Before we can get in the room, you have already got her pacifier in her mouth and have her cooing and smiling again.  You are the most helpful, loving, compassionate, selfless big brother she could ever ask for.  She loves you so much and is so blessed to be able to look up to you!

You are an Agnew through and through.  Your father, family, and friends don’t remember what life was like before you and we never want to go back!  Happy birthday, son.  I love you more than you could imagine.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.