Another year has passed. Today is your eighth birthday, Isaac. Last year I wrote you a letter about what I love about you. Here is another one with some photos to sum up your past 12 months.
Let’s start with the most important thing of all: your relationships with your brother and sister. I love how close you are to both Toby and Kara: a partner in crime to one, a protective big brother to the other.
Yes, there are times when you can be a bit too bossy and you’re not immune to sibling squabbles, but there’s no mistaking how much you care for them – and they for you.
You share a newly developed love with Kara of dancing along to Strictly on Saturday nights, although I’m at a loss to where your graceful movement comes from – certainly not from your leaden-footed father. And, of course, you and Toby have your love of cars and Top Gear in common.
You’ve always been an academic type and that has continued over the past year. Your mother and I are hugely proud of your achievements, and I think that has rubbed off on Toby a little too as he quietly strives to follow in your footsteps (not that he would ever admit that).
However, it has been equally gratifying to see you enjoy non-academic pursuits too. You’ve become quite the bike rider now and you definitely have the build and loping gait of a budding cross-country runner. (Again, that’s not something that has been passed down to you through my genes.)
A career as a professional footballer isn’t going to happen but I love the fact you’re physically active and that you want to learn and improve whenever you try something new.
You’re quite the busy chap outside of school, to the point where you have reluctantly decided to give up your martial arts classes. But you’re just in the process of transitioning from Beavers to Cubs and you’re currently learning not one but two musical instruments: the piano and the viola.
As you get older, the range of things we can do together continues to grow too. I love your inquisitive nature. You have an urge to understand how things work and, beneath your considerate demeanour, you’re fiercely competitive. That emerges most when you’re playing games – whether it is against your siblings or your parents, you really dislike losing. (Okay, now that’s something you get from me – and your mother too.)
Fundamentally, though, you’re a kind, sweet young man, and if your mum and I are sometimes a bit hard on you that’s only because we see so much potential in you.
You are a bookworm and a geek, a runner and a dancer, a brother and a son. And one day I have no doubt you will be a fine husband and a father too. Your future wife will be as lucky to have you as your mother and I have been for these past eight years and hopefully many more to come.
I love you very much, Isaac. Happy birthday!