Monday, September 21, 2009

little dog grows up

My youngest son, Caleb turned 18 today. Wow, where did the time go? I call him "little dog" because his name Caleb is from an Old Testament Hebrew word that can be translated in this way. Though he is anything but little (6'4"+ and 215 lbs.) it suits him really well. His spirit is that of a dog that keeps coming back for more. You just gotta love him.

When we came to Eastview, he was four. Went to preschool in the old school at the church that grew into Cornerstone Christian Academy. He and I have always connected. Once when he was five-ish we were sitting around a campfire with a bunch of students and the question was "what do you want people to say about you when you die?" I answered, "the greatest preacher ever" (I know that's stupid, but it would be my highest honor), but after some teens answered, they came to Caleb and he said, "the second greatest preacher ever". He and I were both warmed to preaching early and to this day that's what he is desiring to do with his life.

He has played a lot of sports...and we love the same teams (Cowboys - cried last night, Reds - cry all the time, Pacers - stopped crying long ago, don't care about hockey). He's fun to be with and he greets everyone with a hug. At a young age, someone told him he had a big head and he still to this day thinks he does. Honestly, he has a huge body, so his head is just perfect...but he won't listen to that. When he was young, we wrestled... a lot. Now we can't cause the old man's back won't hold up (but if I had too, I could still take him). We used to play basketball, but now we can't because he skunked me last time we played and I just can't submit to the humiliation again. Used to spend more time together...now we text and catch lunch together each week.

Used to pray for him many times a day...still do.
Used to watch him from a distance and swell with pride...still do.
Used to dream about what kind of preacher God will make him into...still do.
Used to take him out to his favorite restaurant for his birthday dinner...still do (tonight its' some sushi place in Champaign).
Used to sit and talk about things in his life...still do.
Used to wish that time could just stand still...still do.
Used to read the Bible and pray together...still do.
Used to give him advice on everything...still do (he just listens less).
He used to playfully punch me when I walked into the room...he still does.
Used to think that little dog was the perfect name...still do.

Happy Birthday Caleb
(note to those of you who know me...of course I'm crying right now)

7 comments:

Tami said...

What an amazing tribute! Thanks for sharing your father's heart. He truly is an amazing kid, or maybe I should say man now.

PS Some people already think you're the greatest preacher ever. I'm one of them.

Melissa Chambers said...

I was crying as well! That was awesome and encouraging to read!

Anonymous said...

i almost cried this morning when i was writing caster a bday message on fb. 18? how can that be? he makes fun of me and HATES it when i talk about the caleb we used to play "Guess Who" with after sunday dinners. i like to tease him about changing his diapers (though he quickly reminds me i never really did). he's a good boy. i guess now that he's 18, we're officially out of your will as back up "parents". but no matter how old he is or how far away he moves from us one day, we will always love him and care for him like one of our own!!
looking forward to watching him grow (spiritually - i'm not sure he can grow any taller!) and seeing all the Lord has planned for him...
lynnie

Kimberlie Henris said...

Mike,
I don't even know you well and I too was crying while reading this post. I do know you are a compassionate pastor.

I wasn't aware that Caleb and I shared the same birthday. I happened to read this last night on my b-day and I found it so touching that you've shared this with your readers as well as your son. It was the icing on the cake of a wonderful day for me!

Thanks!
Kim

Mike Baker said...

thanks all for sharing in my dad moment. I love you all.

Jeanette Y said...

What a wonderful post! and so encouraging! my boys are 5 and 4 now, so that is an amazing (and heartwrenching) place to look forward to.

Thanks for sharing, and happy belated birthday to Caleb!

ps. I also think you are a great preacher! :)

Audrey said...

So true! Craig and I hardly ever see Caleb, but every time we do he gives us a great big hug--I love it! I loved watching you and Sara interact with them throughout high school. I love you guys!
Audrey