Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dear Bo, Your fourth birthday letter...

Happy 4th birthday, my little preschooler.  I can’t believe you aren’t a toddler anymore.  I have loved your toddler years.  I’m so excited to see what this year will bring though; so many people have said “4” is a fun year! 

Your language just amazes me.  You have come so far.  You say the funniest things, too.  If I described you in just a few words, they would be funny, happy, and loving.  You are the most loving little boy.  You constantly hug us, kiss us (and rub it in!), want to sit in our laps, and say “I love you” and “I missed you” when we return from work.

Your transition to primer at St. Andrew’s has been wonderful.  You were headstrong the first several weeks about getting in line and keeping your hands to yourself, but then you fell in step.  You have lots of friends, and the teachers are fond of you (and you are of them, too!). 

You love your sister and are such a good big brother.  You have taken this whole big brother thing in stride.  You refer to her as “baby sister”  “baby Kate” or just “my sister”.  It’s so sweet.  You’ve gotten frustrated as she’s gotten more mobile and into your things, but mostly, I think you’ve enjoyed a playmate.

You adore Jeanne and her family, and you love going to the farm.  You love going to church and seeing Mrs. Amy and going to children’s church.  Your favorite friends are Jack, Simon and Evie (from school), Beau and Jayleigh (from church), Caleb, and Claire.  You’re a social little guy (like your daddy). 

You get really frustrated when you can’t do something or something doesn’t go your way immediately.  You growl, cross your arms over your chest and pout.  We’re working on this.

You have gone through a lot of phases of things you love this year.  Your devotion to Thomas remains, but it has lessened.  You transitioned to a Team Umizoomi obsession, were quite into all things Cars, and now are into Planes. 

Your birthday party was so bittersweet this year.  You have such a neat circle of people who love you—the Vanderpools and the Tomlinsons especially.  There are so many families with littles your age that I took for granted that I’d raise you with…the Roberts, McPhersons, Bensons, Browns.  To see them all in the same place celebrating you for the last time was a sweet moment.  You have been loved so well here, Bo.  So well. 

You bring me indescribable joy.  Your blue eyes, thick head of hair, precious hands, belly laugh, easy affection, loving words, and strong spirit slay me.  If I made a list of all the qualities I wish my son had, I could never have listed all that you are.  You are beyond my imagination.  That you are mine is a gift I’ll never stop thanking Him for.

I can’t wait to see what 4 will bring.  1, 2, and 3 brought more than I knew to hope for.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Dear Kate, Your first birthday letter...

One year ago today, you introduced our family to pink, and we'll never be the same.

Maybe it was your temperament, or maybe it was me being a more relaxed second time momma, or maybe it was a result of flat out necessity (I suspect it's a little of all 3), but you transitioned into our family with such ease (please understand that's not to say it was easy).  Your brother was accepting of you from the start.  He surprised me by vascillating between indifference and adoration.  Occasionally, he'd ask us to put you down or insist on sitting on the boppy while I nursed you, but mostly, he didn't miss a beat when you joined us.  Hearing him call you Baby Sister/Baby Kate and say, "Awww....she's so cute!" are among some of my favorite memories this year. 

Those first few weeks are so precious to me.  We had lots of help from Mimi and Lori and her girls.  Of your first 6 weeks, I think we got to see Mimi and Pop each one.  They were and are over the moon for you, their "little caboose".  You will no doubt be spoiled rotten since you are the youngest grandbaby on each side.  Your older cousins are so sweet with you and fuss over you. 

You were such an easy nurser, and I nursed you for 11 months so we spent lots of 1 on 1 time together, especially in the wee hours of the morning.  I tried to soak it in, as you may be my last baby.  I hope I don't soon forget the sweet little sounds you made nursing or your hands up over your eyes and face.

I spent a lot less time documenting this year than I hoped.  But I tried not to beat myself up because I was truly enjoying it.  I rocked a little longer in the evening instead of obsessing over organizing pictures or blogging.  And sometimes just collapsed from the tiredness that comes from having a 3 year old, infant, and full time job.

Your first year was full of transitions.  We said good-bye to sweet Mary, had career changes, had some personal awakenings that changed our course and some harsh reminders that mortality is many distractions that I sometimes worry your infancy year was overshadowed by grief, worries, and decision making.  But I know so many of the changes/awakenings will result in a stronger family for us so I try not to dwell on it.  You have been a bright light amid it all.  A reminder that He makes all things new, that the circle of life is beautiful, even if brutal.  There is nothing that can bring a smile and perspective like a sweet smelling, smiling baby girl.

Your brother made me a momma, but you have made me a girl momma.  I have enjoyed so much monogramming bloomers, shopping for smocked clothes and pinafores, buying mary janes and tights, and finding matching bows.  There is such a sweetness and tenderness baby girls bring, and you have brought that to our home.  It is God's grace to me that I now see baby dolls intertwined with trains and trucks.

You make me want to be a better woman, a better role model to you and your peers.  You've made me rethink body shapes and self image and women's roles.  You've made me think hard on issues I've never really much cared about.  I want so many good things for you and want so much to shape you with a healthy self image so that you can avoid so many of the struggles I've wrestled with .  I'm realizing that teaching you to be kind to yourself means I need to start being kinder to myself.

Thank you for so softly landing in our family.  Thank you for sharing us with your big brother.  Thank you for being a snuggler and loving to rock; it was my best therapy many days.  Thank you for being drawn to Pop and giving him smiles and kisses when he needed them.  Thank you for being drawn to baby dolls and reminding me of so many fun days playing dolls with Aunt Lori.  Thank you for giving sugar readily, for grinning so wide, for singing after we've stopped, for bouncing when you're happy, and for shaking your head wildly when you're simpled out.  Thank you for inspiring me to be better and kinder.  Thank you for reminding me that even when it feels like things are spinning out of control, that they're just things and relationships are what really matter.

I shook my head in disbelief when God graced me with Bo, and that He's doubled my graces by entrusting me with you will always amaze me.  I lathered you in Baby Magic last night, rocked you to sleep, inhaled your sweet scent and watched you rub your silky blanket, and thought, "My goodness.  I have a daughter."  I did the same thing countless times the first week you came home.  May I never stop being mindful and grateful of the blessing of mothering you.

Happy birthday, Katherine Morgan.  I love you so much.

{1 week}

{1 year}