All nine of them.
Sam and Emily,
Your dad is my best friend. I've known him, literally, longer than I can remember. You know all of this.
Aaron is closer than to me than a brother. Outside of my own family, no one's happiness means more to me than his.
So, why am I writing to you instead of him? Because there is something that I want you to know about your father:
He's a lucky man.
I know the man you see, when you see him, is tired. He's worn out. He works hard, and he pays a price for it. Sometimes he's grumpy -- that's just a dad thing.
Sometimes he's loud -- that's an Aaron thing.
Raising kids is hard, the number doesn't matter. It's the most difficult thing we can do, but there is a great payoff for that kind of sacrifice -- unconditional love. And I have no doubt that you know that your father loves you unconditionally...what he does, he does for you.
But this isn't about him, this is about you.
What I want you to know is that your father is happy.
God gave me a gift a long time ago -- to look into people's faces, and to see their honest emotions -- and as I looked into the face of your father, as we took these pictures, in spite of the chaos...regardless of the awesome spectacle that is the Ball family, in nearly every setting...there was a happiness and a contentment on Aaron's face, that I think maybe even he wasn't aware of.
And, what I say of your father, I mean equally for your mother. Look at them together, and take note. As they look at you, they know the worth of the treasure before them.
Life and choice and experience write their greatest truths upon our countenances, and when I look into the face of my best friend, I see a lot of life and experience, but mostly I see a man who is happy.
And you are the reason.
So, tonight, Malia, Taylor, Alaina, Jacob, Dallin, Lincoln, Charlie, Sam and Emily, I'm thankful for you.