It sure has been a while since I’ve updated anything on here. Apparently I’m on a kick of only blogging on birthdays now. And this one’s not even written by me…Here’s a special blog from my favorite man to my favorite 4 year old!
I am about to be brutally honest here so extend me some grace as I am vulnerable in my journey as a still new and constantly learning parent.
4 years ago when I first saw my beautiful son, Ezekiel Robert Kneezle, enter this world 3 synchronized thoughts entered my mind in overwhelming harmony:
- I was so incredibly proud of my wife.
- God gave me a son and I was filled with joy and thanksgiving. The Kneezle name would live on!
- I was struck that my relationship with Avery would never be the same.
The first two thoughts while not lacking profound impact don’t require explanation, but the third is rather abstract and deserves a bit of further clarity.
You see when I saw Avery look into my eyes and then at Zeke for the first time, I ultimately realized that my relationship with Avery would never be the same, it was never going to be just her and me again. At the same time, I realized that what I experienced with Avery, I would never have with Zeke. It was like the splitting of an atom and I couldn’t understand what I was going to do. The question I continually ask myself and talk with Carla about at times is, “How can I give all that I want and need to give to more than one child?”.
The thing that God has shown me over time is that Zeke is not child number two, he is my second child. This may seem like common sense but it shows the purpose Zeke has in our family. In the same way, Zeke isn’t “the middle child”. God has placed him perfectly in our family as an anchor for his sisters and for our entire family. Carla and I often talk about how Zeke is a perfect middle child because he is the only boy, has such an easy going personality in the midst of his often emotionally expressive sisters, is incredibly reliable to be obedient and go out of his way to do the right thing, and looks for opportunities to serve his family.
The reality is that even though Zeke happens to be the perfect middle child, it is not by happenstance that it is the case. Zeke was and is created to live out the role he has been given with purpose. May sound like a lot to expect for a fresh 4-year-old…Thankfully I don’t expect it from him but what blesses me about watching my son is that I already see it, I can already see Christ’s character in him.
Just this last week we were able to do ministry together as a family at kids club in Masiphumele. In between the kids club and teens club there was some down time where we were able to casually talk and play (Cassidy danced ☺) with some of the children that showed up early for teens club. Zeke was able to spend time with an 11-year-old boy who tragically just lost his mother to a long, painful illness. He was able to listen to this boy’s story, watch me and our good friend Ntandazo try to process his current situation, lay hands on him and pray with him.
When we got in the car after club, I was stunned that Zeke was able to explain everything that our new friend shared about how he was feeling and his circumstance with the rest of our family. It was an overwhelming experience for him, processing a boy losing his mommy, but he was able to express thoughts about the boy’s grieving that proved him a very wise soon to be 4-year-old.
That night as we were tucking Zeke in he said, “we can’t forget to make that boy a card.”
I am very proud of my boy!
Here are some other things I love about him as we celebrate his birthday:
- I love that he is an absolute goofball and out of seemingly nowhere he comes up with the strangest, most creative things to make us laugh!
- I love that he is genuine.
- I love that he is a friend to everyone.
- I love that he is so tolerant and caring toward his younger sister who loves him more than life at times. Just the other night, out of nowhere, Cassidy yelled “I love Zekie!” while eating.
- I love that he admires his older sister. He is always prideful telling me how great Avery is at coloring, how smart she is, and how he “gets to” play with her and her friends at school.
- I love that his prayer is always filled with thanksgiving to God.
- I love that he is such a great listener.
- I love that he affirms his mommy, tells her she is pretty, and is a genuine helper to her.
- Ultimately, I love that I get to live this journey with him by my side. Selfishly, I am thankful that God is using Ezekiel to refine me, making me a better man.
Happy Birthday to our boy!
We love you Ezekiel