You are no longer a little baby. You’re a little man, Momma’s Little Man.
We have both come such a long way, you and I. I still remember those first days and weeks of confusion and even a bit of sadness, wanting everything to be alright for you and praying every day that I could make your life a little better.
And I think were doing OK.
When I come home from a long day at work, there you are, running toward me at the door, grinning that big, goofy, toothy grin.
“Ma!,” you exclaim in a squeal, then turn on your heels toward your toys. And if I don’t follow right away, you turn back and babble at me, beckoning me to come over and come quick. Most nights, I leave a trail of work clothes behind me as I hurry to follow you and drink in all of the seconds I have with those big blue eyes. A blazer on the kitchen radiator, heels by the desk, jewelry on an end table. At the end of the path is a Momma, wearing clothes of some sort, I promise, sitting on the floor and being handed a book to read as a 30-pound toddler backs up like a student trucker into a tight parking space, slowly, hesitantly, until he lands awkwardly in my lap where we read about Whoville and farm animals and touch soft pages.
You and your Daddy have recently begun wrestling matches, and while the flips and rolling on the hardwood floors aren’t my cup of tea, I love watching quietly from around the corner, trying to keep your curious little sister out of harm’s way. I catch myself trying to figure out if it’s possible that you are having more fun than your dad. The two of you are so much alike in personality and demeanor it’s almost frightening. But nothing beats the matching grins you both wear during playtime.
You’re quite hysterical, quite the clown, just in a quieter, less center-of-attention way than in the past.
You love music and a wide variety of it, too — holiday tunes, instrumental, contemporary, whatever. The hips start swaying, the hands start clapping, and then… Mini Elvis. We dance together a lot, just you and me in the living room, the world circling by us as we hum some Bing Crosby. I hope you’ll always be my dance partner.
You can talk on a pretend phone for thirty minutes. You cup the imaginary item to your ear and have these animated conversations with exclamations and hand gestures and walk around the house as you talk. Your dad and I are phone pacers, so I know that’s where you got it from, but it still cracks me up every time you do it. If the phone rings, you stop everything you’re doing and start your own conversation.
You’ve got four ladies, your four therapists, wrapped around your chubby lil fingers. You’ve been doing wonderfully these past couple of months – you’re running and jumping and doing much better up and down the stairs; you’re feeding yourself using a fork or spoon pretty often now; you babble more and still sign a couple of words. I still get discouraged, especially when it comes to your speech and communication, but you taught me long ago to be patient and have faith. You always keep us guessing and you always show these bursts in abilities whenever I’ve just about given up my supply of hope and strength.
You’ve gotten taller and lost a few pounds of the baby fat and yet we still have to roll sleeves and pants cuffs because of your funny little figure. I think it adds to the cute factor.
But above everything else, I’m so proud of the Big Brother you’ve become. The addition of Addie into our family started out a little rough, especially for her, what with all the pink toy stealing and eye pokes, but the relationship you two have has become something so beautiful recently. (You really should stop pushing her over when she’s sitting up, though!)
You’ve sat next to her and pointed out pictures in your books, just the two of your upright bodies next to each other for ten minutes or more.
You make sounds to each other like you’re having a conversation all the time.
And you love it when she follows you on your adventures.
You light up her world.
If there was any doubt in my mind about having two kids so close in age, you make them vanish every evening just before bedtime. The four of us snuggle together in your room to read a book. Almost every page turn, you look over at Addie, get a huge smile on your face and reach over with the hand that’s not busy with it’s pre-bed thumb-sucking and give her a squeeze and then gently rub her brown hair.
You’re a loving, gentle soul who enjoys seeing smiles on others’ faces; who enjoys hearing a laugh in his direction.
You put a smile on my heart every day, like band aids over old scars. You just make life feel better sometimes.
I love you, Dude!
* * *
Hey Lil Girl,
You’re seven months old and you’re experiencing your first holiday season. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you were driving a car and buying a business suit online next week. It’s unbelievable how quickly you’re changing, how much you’re rushing through your milestones.
You were rolling over easily at just a couple of months old; you sat up a couple of weeks ago. In less than a month, your unique army crawl transformed into the actual crawl you’ve been mastering lately. And now, you stand up, grasping an item or the side of a chair with just one hand. You clap your hands. You have a huge smile and a soft babble.
I love those days when I’m the first person you see in the morning and the last thing your blue eyes catch in their exotic little gaze before you drift to sleep. I love when you smile at and chase after your big brother. I love the way you fit in your Daddy’s arm.
I remember sitting on the couch last New Years Eve with my hand on my belly, days before a doctor’s appointment to hopefully tell us you were OK. I never could have imagined your strength and the fire you would light in my soul this year. I never knew that we would find such joy this year and that we owed so much of it to you.
I think you will be our troublemaker and a spokesperson for your brother. I think you’ll be spoiled by your Daddy. I think you’ll keep us on our toes and in a vibrant world of spontaneity and adventure.
Being a mother to you is a gift I treasure. I adore having a crazy-haired daughter who is already pushing limits. Every day, just looking at you, I am so overwhelmed with intense, raw emotion, it’s as if I’m seeing you for the first time.
I hope you always have an abundance of joy and peace. And if either or both of those seem far away, I hope you know I’d go to the ends of the earth just to make you smile.
I love you, Addie. Forever and ever and ever and always.