Tuesday, June 3, 2014

4 Years

Dear (not so) Little Landon,
In just a few weeks we will be celebrating your 4th birthday. I can't believe 4 whole years have passed since I gave birth to you in 2010. We are both 4 years older from that day and we have shared 4 years of growth, stories, love and life and laughter together. 
Last night I put you to sleep, after reading you bedtime story after story, as we usually do. Every time we finished the final page of a book you would look at me with your playful eyes and smile and say "again!" For the first time ever, I got Blair to go down before you, and I enjoyed our old bedtime ritual, just the two of us together, without simultaneously nursing Blair or hearing her cry for me from the other room and cutting you short. Instead of rushing half-heartedly through your books as I have been doing for the past 6 months, I sat there with you. Patiently, lovingly, present. And we sat there and we read books together. Book after book after book. When we were done, I tucked you in under your blankets, and we said our nightly prayers together. We always start off with "Now I lay me down to sleep..." and then you thanked God for all the people in your life. Before you were done, you finished your prayer by asking God to help "all the babies in Africa" and then you threw in a final, "and please help me grow big and strong. A-men." I stroked your hair and looked at your little face in my hand sweetly smiling at me and it hit me like a ton of bricks. You are no longer my baby. You are no longer even a toddler. You are a full fledged kid now. And it somehow happened in the blink of an eye. I told you I loved you, kissed you goodnight, and I walked out of your room thinking how cool - how powerful, how scary, how huge a concept - that all the things your father and I say and do with you on a daily basis are shaping your person and becoming your own thoughts and voice. All of a sudden, you have turned into this child that we have been unconsciously shaping you to be for the past 4 years.
I got into my own bed next to Blair and just as I was dozing off into unconsciousness, I heard my bedroom door open and your little footsteps walk over to me. "Mommy? Can you snuggle me?" And I realized, I'm really not sure if this might be the last time you ever want to snuggle with your mom to sleep. I pulled you up in my bed and under the blankets with me and we snuggled. I didn’t browse the internet on my phone and I didn’t go through my text log getting back to anyone from the day. I just held you in my arms and we stayed there like that until you fell soundly asleep. I laid in bed with my two most prized possessions in the world for the first time since your sister was born. I took in the quiet and realized how rare it is for you both to be sound asleep while I am awake. And instead of starting a mad dash for my own freedom or personal space, I just laid there with you and listened to you breathing, holding you in my arms while you slept. I took in that moment and thought about our lives these past 4 years.
I know that not every day is easy. There are many days you push me way past the edge of my patience. Days that I have to give myself a 'time out' in a separate room to take a deep breath before I completely lose it in a fit of rage and exhaustion. There are days I have cried in defeat and desperation and there have been times you have physically brought me to my knees. Because being a full time mom is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. 
When we first found out that we were pregnant with you, it was a big shock for your father and I. The two of us, absolutely in love with each other, but suddenly realizing the stark reality was that things were not going to go as I had planned. I remember wondering how I was going to actually do this and how things were going to change. I didn't think I was ready for you, for parenthood. I wasn’t sure what this new path for me looked like, going through my pregnancy and giving birth to you thousands of miles away from my parents and all my family and friends. I was terrified. We hadn't a place to live yet. We weren't married yet. I had just been sworn into the bar and had just started looking and applying for jobs. I never doubted your father and I together, but I doubted myself. Fear and anxiety had a strong grip on me during those 9 months I carried you in my belly and I was always questioning myself and my mind was a crazy place.
But the day you were born and I held you in my arms, I knew. I was sure of myself and I understood it all. You weren't something that I needed to be ready for. You have been in me all along. I was always ready for you. You were meant to be. And at that exact time and place in my life.
I remember those first few days in the hospital with you, your father and I pouring over you with amazement, awe and love. I knew that my life would change when you arrived, but what I didn't know was how much you would actually change me. That change into motherhood was so concrete, so drastic, it’s almost as if everything that came before you was an alternate reality… like the person I was before I became a mother wasn’t me at all, an insecure, immature, half-person of the person I became the day you were born. You helped me see the world in a different way, and changed the way I see myself. You did it then, the day you were born and I held you in my arms at the hospital, and you did it to me again last night as I held you soundly sleeping in my arms, nearing the 4th anniversary of that day. I am reminded what life really is. What love is. What the point of all this all is.
The point is not living a lonely life, afraid. The point is not having everything go according to our plans. The point is living life with the people you love. The point is to open up to the life God intends for you. The point is trusting Him and yourself to do so. No plans you ever make for yourself are better manufactured than the plans He has for you, I can guarantee you that. 
Although you are only 4 years old, there are so many amazing qualities that I already see in you and that I am so proud of. I hope you always live life with your sense of honesty, curiosity, kindness, compassion, vigor and excitement that you live life with right now.
I hope you are always excited to meet new people with an open heart and without judgment. Your 'best friend Tanya' you are always so happy to tell me about and who your teacher told me you have a 'special relationship' with at school, I just found out was a little Asian girl with glasses. The first time you saw an African American you weren't confused or frightened but you innocently proclaimed, 'That's a chocolate man!' And it's always the friends you make and play so nicely with anywhere we go are always kids of different ethnicities. I hope you continue to carry this with you as you grow -- I hope you always treat every single person with the same amount of respect and love. I hope you are never afraid, intimidated, think differently of, or think that you are better than anyone who has a different outward appearance than you.
I hope you always retain your sense of generosity and joy in giving. You love making things for other people, helping me wrap presents for others, and giving things to others. You get so excited to give people things, especially things you've made for them, and you already understand this important life concept, that it will always feels better in your heart to give, rather than receive. This goes for love, for affection, for a compliment, for a favor.
Something else I hope you always carry with you is your beautiful sense of kindness and compassion. You are never, ever, ever hurtful. Even when others hurt you. You never retaliate in anger or want to hurt them back. You have an instinctual urge to want to help others in times of pain, sadness, or hurt. Whenever I am sick, you'll come bring me my big green mixing bowl from the kitchen to 'throw up in' and you will gently rub my back. You get so concerned when you see other children crying or upset. You can't stand to hear your baby sister fuss for anything and you always ask me if you or I can 'make Baby Bear happy' when she cries. It truly pains you to witness other people's pain and you always want to do something about it. 
I am not perfect. I have many flaws and failings as a human being and as a parent. But I love you. I love you with a ferocity that will never fade and I will protect you with every ounce of my being, always. I will continue to find joy in discovering who you are as you grow and change and turn into the person you are meant to be, and I will continue to do my best to be what you need me to be.
I love you, fiercely and unconditionally and until the end of time. Nothing with ever change that. No matter who you become. No matter the choices you make. No matter what you choose to study, or not study, no matter what profession you choose, or don't choose, no matter what sports you choose to play or not play, no matter where you choose to live, or who you choose to love. I will always, always, love you.
I may have been the one who carried you in my belly for those 9 months and gave life to you those 4 years ago. But I want you to know that it is you who gave new life to me. And that you continue to give me this beautiful, new life and perspective, every single day.

- Your "Mumma", always
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...