Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Letter to my Grandson, Henry Thomas Arbo, on the Occasion of his First Birthday


Today marks your first birthday. It is hard to believe that you have been in the family for 12 full months. I remember sitting at the kitchen table in your home in Parkville, Missouri when your mom announced that you were on the way. That was a special day. Your mom had a difficult pregnancy. She was sick with nausea almost every day up to the day of your arrival. She was quite the trooper.

I remember the first moment I laid my eyes on you. Your dad had you swaddled and he brought you to the doorway of the delivery room there at St.Luke's Hospital. From that moment forward you had your grandaddy wrapped around your little finger. 

You were born on April 1st which is technically the opening day of Major League Baseball. My favorite team is the Yankees and I have decided that their first game of the season played tonight will be in your honor.

You have been blessed with a rich heritage. Your dad is a brilliant and godly man with a tremendous work ethic. I admire his tenacity and willingness to dream big. The fact that he completed both a Masters and Doctorate at The University of Edinburgh still causes me to smile. He is fun and passionate about what he believes, is an outstanding professor with a tremendous future, and is passionately in love with your mom. What else could I ask for?

Your mom is our first born child. She was and is special in every way. She was always smart, goal driven, and full of energy. She is beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. Over the years she has been on multiple occasions a source of tremendous pride to your grandmother (Mimi) and myself. She means more to us than life itself. We were blessed with two wonderful daughters. I have said all of this to make a point. You have a tremendous root system of love and support. 

You have a unique personality that is all you. You are sweet, kind, loving, very smart, and strong-willed. We love seeing that twinkle in your eye. My prayer, and perhaps I should say our prayer for you, is that you grow to become everything God intended when He first created you inside your mom's tummy. You have tremendous gifts that we hope you will cultivate and develop, and use for the good of God and humanity. I want to challenge you to be diligent in your pursuit of God, character, wisdom and knowledge.

It has been a joy-filled year watching you grow and develop. Your first time to roll over, sit up, crawl, and walk (even though you still have to hold on), and eat at the table have been sources of joy and blessing to all of us. Mimi and I feel blessed to have been close to you this first year of your life.

In conclusion, I simply want you to know that you are loved incredibly and we will do everything possible by the grace of God to help you become the man God wants you to become. We are so very proud of you!

With much love and gratitude to God, 

Your Grandaddy

Dr. Jerry Sutton


  1. What a tremendous legacy this child has. I pray that he not only lives up to it but exceeds it.

    1. Thanks Vicki! Fern and I send our best to you and Malcolm.

  2. This is beautifully written and caused me to get all teary! Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life with the rest of us!

  3. Thank you Erin. Henry has been such a blessing to our family. I hope you get to meet him soon.