Friday, August 14, 2009

Real Love Letters

Dear Sir O,

Life has been busy since you discovered your agency. You are the type of kid who needs to know exactly where the boundaries are at all times, and the only way to know is to test them. I wish I had as much energy to enforce the boundaries as you have to test them. But God has designed kids to have more energy than their parents, so there must be wisdom in that.

I have loved watching you define and create your relationship with your new brother these last few months. I was so worried that you would decide not to like him; but you have developed a sense of ownership over him that I think I love. (Except when you tell me to go away, because he's your brother). You're an instinctively good about sharing toys with him, and you are forever wanting to be the one to take care of him, whether you're capable or not. You seem to be developing a capacity for empathy, which excites me. The one thing I was most anxious about when you were born was that you'd grow up to be kind. And while you aren't always kind, especially to me, you have the instinct to be; so I'm hopeful.

I have to be careful how I teach and handle you, because you've started using all of my own tactics back at me, with rapid fire. Sometimes it feels like an ugly fun-house mirror. When you yell "no", or slap my hand.... yikes.

I thank my lucky stars that your spiky temper has a short memory. I've yet to see you hold a grudge for more than five minutes. You are still cuddly at this age, though significantly more-so when you're tired. You've also kept your funny habit of playing with your ears when you're tired; it gives you away every time.

I am going to have my hands full teaching you all I should. First and foremost we have to figure out some impulse control; that seems to be your weak link. We're usually fine until you get an irrational impulse; then BAM.

I love watching you get excited over things you will soon enough be too "old" for. I wish and hope I could teach you to overcome peer pressure and never suppress excitement, but I know my power is limited. You are so good about saying thank-you without provocation, and you're making headway with "please."

I love when we go for walks and you want to pick everything up, as though you could hold the whole of outdoors in your hands.

I kind of love how you consistently wipe your nose on your sleeve, only I also kind of hate it. Same with wiping your hands on your shirt while you eat.

I love how you have started to sing along to everything, whether you know the words or not. And you always expect me to join you.

I think it's cute how you remind me to exercise when you're stalling before your afternoon nap. It's even cuter watching you march along with me. (Although dog-pile on mom in the middle of her pushups is a little unwelcome).

I love your lean little body that can never hold still. I love how you streak around the house after your bath, though I don't understand your towel-aversion.

I love how you love storytime at night, and it's fun to watch you develop favorites - especially when they were once my favorites. I love how you will ask me to sing the same song over and over again while you wave your arm (or a glow stick) and conduct me.

I love it when you pray; even though you haven't learned to love it yet. Your little independent spirit kneeling in prayer makes my heart light.

I hope I have a long while yet to do right by you. I hope someday you will know how hard I tried.

My Dear Captain,

If you are only being sweet and easy now so that you can terrorize me later, I need you to reconsider. But if you are being sweet and easy now because it's just who you are, then I think we can make this work.

I worry a lot about the many ways I inadvertently neglect you because your older brother is a bit of a squeaky wheel. Thanks for not minding too much. I promise I am trying.

I'm doing much better at remembering to feed you regularly. Thanks for putting on weight splendidly despite my previous failings. Thanks too, I suppose, for not fussing when you were mildly hungry, and waiting until you were famished to speak up. I am working on that. I'm also banking on that helping you sleep longer.

Which reminds me. When are you going to knock it off with this light-sleeper thing? You still wake up every two-to-three hours at night, only long enough to require me to be awake, then you slide back into sleep. It's a cruel trick kid, and I'm so over it.

If it has anything to do with your perpetual anxiety about being sat-upon, kicked, smothered, picked up, or smushed by your brother.... I'm sorry. I'm doing my best. At least he likes you! I promise he's not doing it out of spite, he just gets these confounded impulses.....

Thank you for thinking I'm the coolest thing ever. Thank you for watching my every move with interest. Thanks even for fussing when I leave the room, even though it's inconvenient. I'm glad that you like me that much, it makes it easier to give you all my energy and to give up my sleep.

Your eyelashes finally fleshed out into thick, dark, adorableness. You were born with blondie eyelashes that were hard to see at all. Your blonde hair is like a miracle to me, having been a gorilla baby myself. I touch it a lot, to make sure it's real.

You think so much of the world is delightful, and your laugh is sublime. I'm trying to remember to share your perspective. I wish I could spend more time pondering the world from your perspective, right along with you. I also wish I could nibble at your neck more. We've got to figure out how to get the house to clean itself....

Your little rollie-poly body is delectable, my dear. I love holding you and squishing your dimpley legs.

Thanks for being patient with all of us. Thanks for loving all of us, even your brother who scares you a little. When he makes you laugh I think I am in heaven.

Love love love you,


Devon said...

Oh, these letters are priceless! You have such a way with words!

Leith said...

Thanks for making me cry.

Amanda said...

What a gift you have with words. You made me cry and wish I was a better mom. Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom.

aLi said...

I loved the details. What a good mom you are. Someday I'd like to copy your idea.

hairyshoefairy said...

Beautiful. You made me cry. I think I need to go write my babies some letters now. You're such an inspiration, Em.

Katie May said...

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite posts. Thanks for sharing it!

Carolanne said...

Those letters are sweet. Thanks for sharing.

The Hodges Family said...

I TOTALLY cried...those are such awesome letters. I really feel the part where you hope that someday Oliver knows how hard you tried. I hope Kaylee knows the same too. Being a mother has been the hardest thing Ive ever done...and I can only hope for the best relationship with her as she grows. Love you Em. You are a great mom!

K-Krew said...

Beautifully written. Last pic is a cute one of the boys.

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