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Andrew's ninth birthday poem:

Andrew Is Nine

Happy birthday, my cool little guy
(well, not so little anymore - nearly shoulder high!)
And changing each day, taking on older ways
(and we're just trying to keep up with each new phase)

You're growing up fast and to me that's fine
But it's a whole new ballgame, now that you're nine
Adolescence is knock knock knockin' at the door
Take it from me, there's some cool things in store

You're in Third grade now, and school's old hat
The daily routine - you know all about that
All your grades are still peggin' the top of the charts
We've gotten used to 100s, and used to your smarts
Because you are a kid with a good head on your shoulders
(No pressure of course, my little school soldier)

In Sports you and your compadres continued to roll
Playing basketball with lots of heart and soul
The wins racked up - undefeated again
And in several games, you were the one to win
The coveted rebounds or steals award
You guys were awesome! We were just floored!

And in soccer you continued your winning ways
It just goes to show that hard work pays
And let me just say that I pity da ball
That tries to make it past my son "The Wall"

Flag football was fun, although success was rare
It's hard to really dominate - it just isn't fair
When you can't even touch your opponent, let alone
Knock him into the dirt and give him a quarter
to call "Dr. Pain" on the telephone

But things are a little bit different these days
Now it's OK to use that size - now it pays
To be big - Full pads with the Steelers, Now we're talkin'!
Andrew's prowlin' that line - defensive tackle's he's stalkin'

Yes - he's wearing the helmet and clearing the line
He's cool, he's tough, he's Andrew, and he's nine

And you also showed your artistic side
I think back to Toys and Treasures
with a great measure of Pride
You did so well on your pantomime
You gave it your all, like you always do
each and every time

And in music you're learning how to Rock
As you listen to Steven Curtis Chapman and DC Talk
Trying your hand at guitar, Strumming D and A
Keep at it, son, and you'll learn to play

Our trip to Dallas was a whole lot of fun
Especially since the Cowboys won!
Flying on a plane was a new one, too
It's been quite awhile since you flew one, you
Thought the view was cool and the Sprite was swell
Though the peanuts you didn't like so well

Six Flags was great - we had fun in that arcade joint
(well, let me add "up to a point")
There was my boy, all grown up with a wallet
"Uh Now where'd you last see it?"
"I put it over there on that whatchamacallit"
You were feeling good with plenty of cash
Till someone decided to swipe your stash
Though their face you wanted to pound
At least they turned in the wallet (less a sizeable tip)
To the lost and found.
That was kind, I guess, though we wanted to holler!
I hope they enjoyed your 36 dollars

And who needs an arcade anyway - they're so crude
You can have more fun at home, little Nintendo dude
It's fun playing cyber-hockey and baseball with you
Though I like everything else we do together, too

You see, you're one of my favorite little buddies
And, goodness sake, man
You're a great big brother
To my little guy - Blake-man
And your sisters - you love them
(well, most of the time)
Though sometimes I'm sure it seems like a bit of a crime
To have them around, crampin' your style
Don't sweat it, little guy, just give it awhile
I know being the first isn't always a breeze
Especially when your little sibs tattle and tease
But I know that Molly and Bethany really look up to you
And these years we have together, though they seem long,
Are really a just a few
So let's enjoy this time, it's a time of wonder
When we have our whole family happily under
The same roof - well I like that just fine
(and I still can't believe that you've turned nine!)

God Bless you, buddy - I want you to know
That I think you're the best and I love you so
I'm glad you're my son, and I'm praising the Lord
For you every single day, and now as we point you toward
The next stage of your life, Remember, as always
That God answers the prayers of a young man who prays
So keep looking to God, he'll guide you through
The next few years, straight and true
And we'll be right there beside you, your Mom and I
Cause you're our beloved son, and you will never have to try
to earn our love, you have it already - full measure,
each day and all ways, forever and ever
So say goodbye to awesome year Eight
Here comes Year Number Nine - It's gonna be great!

I Love You

Dad
September 15, 1998