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Big Dyl

Today I have a 5 year old. I’ve had a 5 year old before, but this makes my second 5 year old. Dylan Joel will celebrate his birthday with friends, of his choosing on Saturday. He’s having a monkey party if you believe it. Why a monkey party? Because he can make a great monkey face, of course! Geesh…

A few days ago someone was telling me how much Dylan loved her son, and how if Dylan ever sees him he drops what he’s holding and runs to him with arms open telling them hello in his own special way. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Dylan does that to everyone that he knows. He’s wonderfully shy in rooms of strangers, but get him around someone familiar and there is NO DOUBT that Dylan is their friend. It’s weird actually to have such a shy, hidden, and reclusive kid be such a clown. He makes his family laugh everyday, whether be it when he’s acting like the unfortunate man who gets kicked in the groin each week on America’s Funniest Videos, or making fart sounds at the most inopportune times. But ask him to do it again, and he clams up. Not an ounce of showmanship in him!

It’s perfectly demonstrated each week on the soccer field. Dylan is a great little soccer player, however it hasn’t exactly translated to the soccer games. We’ll play in the backyard and he gets the ball and dribbles and kicks it as good as any kid his age. He’ll go to practice and for the most part do the same thing, but dress him in his blue soccer jersey and take him to a game and he turns into a zombie. He’s still the biggest fan of his team, jumping up and down when someone else scores, and handing out high-fives every few minutes. He just forgets to actually kick the ball and play the game. Other parents have watched with fascination how he gets so lost when everyone is cheering and yelling his name; but watch him in the huddle, eating bananas at half-time, or running through the parent tunnel after the game and they, like me, see a kid that is 100% enjoying himself.

So last Saturday was a special time, because for the first time Dylan took the soccer ball and started dribbling towards the goal with all his 4 year old might… and kicked the ball… through the goal for a score! When he scored I couldn’t even get to the sideline to give him a high-five. The other parents beat me there, as well as grandparents, and his teammates on the sideline. They were all so thrilled for this happy little kid to score his first goal, that they almost tackled him on the sideline to congratulate him. It almost makes me cry thinking about it.

To be in Dylan’s presence and not be happy is to not be a human. He is an absolute delight to share life with, and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t feel the exact same way.
Happy Birthday Dyl!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.