Friday, November 27, 2015

Dear Bo, Six...

I don’t know why it’s such a surprise to me each time I write this letter that you are another year older.  It is though.  So yet again, I find myself shaking my head saying, “I can’t believe you’re 6.”  Six.  The infant years are behind us.  The toddler years are behind us.  And now the preschool years are behind us.  We’ve entered the grade school years.  If I think of your life in seasons, I can almost hyperventilate thinking that only the middle school years and high school years separate us from the empty nest years.  What they say about time is true…it keeps marching on.

I was so anxious about the start of kindergarten.  The thought of you being with people who did not love you unconditionally, who did not give you the benefit of the doubt, who did not know your idiosyncrasies…it terrified me.  When I looked at a list of things you should know before kindergarten…well, many of them I was unsure about.  Ironically, it wasn’t the academic stuff that panicked me, but the things like “open your capri sun and lunchable by yourself” “button and unzip your pants by yourself” “wipe by yourself”.  These things kept me up at night!  Silly mommy.  You’ve done so well.  You love school.  You love not only learning, but all of it…recess, your friends.  And from what I can tell from feedback from your teachers…you’re kind and a good friend to your classmates.  That makes my heart soar.  You can be the best student in the world, the best athlete, the best everything…but ultimately I want you to be kind to others.  School (heck…life) can be a hard place…but it’s less so when people are kind to each other.   They also say you’re an enthusiastic learner…I’m so glad about that.  There’s a lot of learning to do (long beyond your school years); enthusiasm will help!

You have mostly passed through your love of trains phase and have crossed into Lego devotion.  You love to build.  You like to build with instructions, but mostly you like to make your own “inventions”.  You’re creative and persistent with your Legos.  You go to a Lego class and love it.

You are a great bike rider and also like riding your scooter.  You aren’t really into sports, but you do like to hit tennis balls with Daddy.  You like to draw and color (only since kinder started!).  You love to read, be read to, sing, and make up stories (and listen to other people make up stories!). 

You are a good big brother.  You and Kate warm my heart together.  Sure, you get frustrated with each other and argue and bicker sometimes.  But…when you’re on, you’re on.  You hug, and say kind things to each other, and play together well.  I worshipped my older brother and had such a sweet relationship with him when we lived at home, I love seeing that in you two. 

You have such a sweet spirit, Bo.  I pray that your heart stays soft.  You are eager to please, tender towards others’ feelings, and just so expressive with your love.  You can be hard headed and defiant, too…can’t we all?  But mostly, I would just describe you as enthusiastic, kind, full of joy, and loving.  Our nighttime routine is to sing “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart”, pray, tell a story, and sing “Jesus Loves Me”.  Every time you sing about the joy in your heart, I think how true that song is.  You are just joy personified.  As a momma who has struggled to embrace joy, it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

I love you, son.  I’m so glad that of all the little boys in the whole world, God gave me you.  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Katie Bug, It's your third birthday...

      I expected the changes that came with a second child when you entered this world three years ago today, but I never could have imagined how many twists and turns the last 3 years would take...death, cancer, career changes, moves, personal awakenings, the redemption of relationships.  In many ways, the mother that held you three years ago is a stranger to the mother chasing after you now.  Mercifully, what felt like a world being turned upside down, was really a world being turned right side up.  Some of these events merely coincided with your arrival; others were inspired by it.  When I look at you, I'll always be reminded of faithfulness, mercy, grace, and redemption. 

     You are sweet, with just the right amount of ornery.  You are curious and smart, loving, downright funny, full of spunk, and impossibly loved.  Mothering you is an outrageous blessing.

      You are right in the 50th percentile for height and weight.  You have a preference on what you wear, and if you don't want to wear something, you call it "scratchy".  You talk a lot.  Like, a lot, a lot.  You say the "fr" sound for "tr" (fruck for truck, free for tree), the "k" sounds for "t" (tate for Kate), and the "y" sound for "l" (yori for Lori).  I adore it.  You love to color and write (and can hold a pencil quite well!).  You love baby dolls and are getting into dress up (but are very selective about the dress up clothes you wear--can't be scratchy).  You want to play in my makeup and are just all around girly.  Your favorite color is pink (you are very interested in what everyone's favorite color is).  You get really obsessed with random stuff (lately it's been rocks and bars of soap and miniature anything).  Your favorite stuffed animal is a stuffed cat that Mimi bought you, aptly named Cat-Cat.  You love the Corolle doll I bought you for your first birthday.  It's "well loved" (i.e. filthy), and you call it "dirty baby".  I bought you a Corolle doll you can wash for Christmas.  It's clean so you call it "church baby" or "pretty baby". 

     You love Bo...most of the time.  You can really give him the business when you're not happy with him, but mostly you want to do just what he's doing.  This means you like legos, Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, ninja turtles, and rescue bots.  I'm interested to see what your taste is when he's not at home to influence it this fall when he goes to kindergarten.  You love your daddy.  You are so excited when he's home and just generally crawl up in his lap whenever you want.  You like to get him to play dress up with you and are super frustrated that he doesn't fit into a princess dress. 

     I'm pleased to say that you're really a momma's girl though.  You usually want me to put you down and give you a bath and almost always ask me to "snuggle with you" at bedtime. 

     You are such a firecracker, feisty girl of mine.  Words we often use to describe you are:  pistol, firecracker, spunky, hot mess, and "something else".  But you have this tender side that shines through at exactly the moment it needs to.  You are really the most illogical mix of tough and fact, the only person I have ever known like you is me.  It's a strange, redemptive blessing seeing me in you.  In discovering you and loving you, I've rediscovered and learned to love me.  The Lord is so creative and kind to teach me self love through you...He must have known it was the only way.  I pray we help you channel all that determination and independence into being just who you were created to be. 

     Katherine Morgan, you are a million blessings wrapped into 30 pounds.  Mothering you and your brother is a joyful, hair pulling, fun, crazy privilege.  You are absolutely adored.  Happy birthday.  I am so glad you arrived three years ago.  We'll never be the same.

{Your first week}

 {One year}

{Two years}

{Three years}


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Pop-Pop, Here I am again around my birthday...

Last time I felt the urge to write to you was a little over two years ago.  There's just something about your glory day and my birthday that impresses you so strongly on my heart.  I turned 37 on the 12th.  Your 29th glory day was on the 5th.  I've been thinking about you so much.

Last time I wrote, I was so bothered that you missed so much.  That you died when Daddy was so young (a few months shy of 37).  That there was so much of us you missed out on.  That there was so much of you we missed out on.  That your oldest grandchild was in the 7th grade.  That your youngest were just toddlers.  I've struggled a lot with that.

But when I wrote you last, I didn't know that that very spring, we'd find out Daddy had advanced prostate cancer.  That we'd use words like "probabilities"and "incurable".  That Daddy's oldest granddaughter would be in 6th grade.  That his youngest would be a baby.  That I would be 35 with a new baby and a 3 year old.  That I would arrange babysitters and drive to doctor's appointments and hop on flights to doctor's appointments.  That I would read thick books with lots of medical jargon.  That I would call anyone who could give me information.  That I would be bone tired from being up with a baby and muster the energy to read, to research, to pray.  I learned more about Daddy at 36 then.  That he loved you fiercely, which is how he soldiered on through your death while transitioning a business, farming, raising 4 young kids with Mother, taking care of Granny, and being a big brother to his siblings.  That staying busy was essential to survive heartache.  That pouring himself into business was a way to feel productive and in control when there was so much around him spinning wildly out of control that he could do little about.  (Oh?  Am I projecting?)

I learned that while there was a lot you have missed, your life was not cut short.  Your life was fulfilled.  In the early days of Daddy's diagnosis, I was in the rawest stage of denial.  I couldn't sleep.  I had one obsessive compulsive thought that would not stop..."This can't happen.  It's not real."  I spent many hours, days, weeks reading medical literature, contacting medical facilities, talking with doctors trying to find a "way out".  There was none.  And true to my nature, when I exhausted my abilities (as menial as they were) and satisfied my mind that I could not change it, I went into acceptance mode.  And strangely, I felt a weird peace that I'm so glad has continued.  It is this...Daddy has a great life.  He is married to a woman he adores, and she knows that.  His wife loves him like crazy in return, and he knows that.  He is living his dreams of owning land and cattle and running businesses with his two sons.  He has two daughters who dote on him, and now he even has six granddaughters to pick up where we leave off.  He has six grandsons, four who share his last name, 3 who live on his land.  He loves his community and works to make an impact there.  He loves his church and invests his time there.  He has strong, deep friendships.  He has hobbies that he actively participates in.  He is a blessed man.  And the best part?  He. Knows. It.  I heard him say to each doctor he met, "I have so much to live for."  He is not a man who has overlooked his blessings.  He's not a man who hasn't been told "thank you" "I'm sorry" "I love you" by his friends, his children, and his wife.  He's not a man who has untold "thank yous" "I'm sorrys" and "I love yous".  We all know.  And I couldn't (and can't) help but feel really peaceful that when he takes his last breath (be it in 10 days or 10 years), that the sum of his years will be a life fully lived, not a life cut short.  A life FULL.  A life FILLED.  A life fulfilled.

So I guess I want to say I'm sorry.  I rushed to judgment about your life cut short.  While I'll never stop selfishly wishing it was longer so I could have known you more, I'll spend less time dwelling on what it wasn't and instead be thankful for what it was...full and filled.  We can talk more about it on my glory day.  Until then, know that I love you and still think of you.