Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lily Letter #13

Dearest Lily,

I'm sorry. I'm sorry I haven't taken as much video, written as many letters, had your picture professionally taken, or worked on your baby book as much as I did for your brother. I am really sorry. Unfortunately, I don't think I can promise to change my ways. I simply don't have the time or wherewithal to do all of that business as diligently as I used to. You see, it's like my friend Trina says: "One kid is one kid. Two is twenty."

So with you came an avalanche of more work. I changed to an exponentially more challenging job about two days after I found out I was pregnant with you, and then, well, two kids. Or what might as well be twenty. So you will not likely grow up with scads of memorabilia neatly organized into piles and boxes and cd's and flashdrives and frames. You will have some. It will have to be enough.

What you will grow up with is a big brother. And one that worships you and with whom you will create so many memories there won't be room for the artificial stuff I could purchase or create.

You will grow up with a mom and a dad who are busy but make it that way because they want to cram AS MUCH LIFE into each moment as humanly possible. And for you, that means a life full of parties and people and loved ones new and old. It means knowing about your community and being a part of the big picture in a way that can't be replaced with trips to Toys R Us, which we abhor and will never make time for. Sorry.

As for you, you're nothing short of exceptional. And I'm not just saying that because I'm your mom. You are brilliant. I tell people all the time about the things you can do, which are grossly boring to them but utterly fascinating to me. For about the past six months, since you were about 15 months old, you could hold a pen properly and draw. And not just scribble, but make circles and representations of bunnies and copies of things you see in books. Oh, and the books. You carry one under your wing all the time, sort of like the character Petunia. You eat dinner with "Old Man" (a little silly board book of "This Old Man" tucked under your chubby thigh. You make me read 100 books a day, and that doesn't count what your teachers are submitting to at school.

We have long said that "You be little, but you be fierce." We sort of knew from the very beginning that you are a woman of will. You're sweet and good, but you know your own mind and you don't do what your'e not really interested in doing. Your brother, who is sweetness and light and all sensitivity, can be talked into cuddles and kisses, but not you. You cross your arms and say "NO" until you're darn good and ready to share some lovin' with us. I think this will serve you well, Daughter.

You're gorgeous, also. This may serve you well, but I have my concerns. Your big brown eyes can easily become a substitute for action. If you get what you want with those, why work harder on your skills? Be careful, Daughter, with those eyes.

It's almost Thanksgiving, which means its almost Christmas, which means we are gearing up to show you a REALLY GOOD TIME.  Here is hoping you don't scream on Santa's lap this year. Or, to be honest, here is sort of hoping that you do.

We love you to the moon and back. And then some.

Thank you for being the loveliest, most amazing creature.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Johnny Letter #23

Dear Johnny,

I just tucked you in.  This is quite possibly my favorite part of my day, on the days it is my turn to do it. Lucky Daddy, he gets a turn every other night.

I have many shortcomings as a parent.  I don't make enough time to play superheros with you.  Sometimes I'm too tired to play a game or run around the yard, instead opting for cartoons for you and Kindle time for me.  I work a lot, get cranky, and often forget to wash your school bedding on time.

But one thing I am great at is bedtime.  And the reason I am great at it is because of you.  For as long as I can remember, after our nightly story, you have asked me to "Talk about what we'll do in the morning."  So we do the usual rundown of "breakfast, get dressed, school, yada yada..."  It is the same virtually every day.  Our days are so regular, it would be painful if it weren't so simply sweet.  There is no reason you need to hear what we'll "do in the morning" because you know the routine better than you know the dialogue in Toy Story 2, which is to say, very, very well.  VERY well.  Still, you ask every night, and I repeat the litany of the things, and then you throw an arm around my neck and look me in the eyes and say "I love you, Mama."

And I say, "I love you Johnny.  To bits and bits and bits.  I love you and I always keep you safe."  And you say "I know." And you roll over and turn out your lamp after asking me about 100 times if I will stay and "sleep with you for a long time" which is your new obsession.  You want us to spend the night in your room.  I blame myself - I've done it a time or two, mostly by accident.

The routine rarely varies except that sometimes you ask for a song, and I say "what song" and you always always say "Mockingbird," which is the song my mama always sang to me.  

Yesterday, we read The Giving Tree at naptime and I had to hide the fact that I was choking back tears.  So tonight when we were picking a book you said you didn't want The Giving Tree I said I was happy, because sometimes that book makes me sad.  You wanted to know why, so I explained that it reminds me that you are going to grow up one day and you might not need me anymore.  This seemed to truly shock you, the notion that you might not need me, and you looked me square in the eye and said "But I will still stay here with you."

Which is simultaneously terrifying and gratifying.  For now, I'll take it.  Eventually it is my job to send you packing, but for now, I'll take the idea that I will get to tuck you in into perpetuity, and that I'll get to redeem my lackluster parenting skills every other night when we crawl in your bed with blankets and books and hugs and whispers of plans for tomorrow.

Thank you for being the sweetest boy ever.

All my love,


Monday, January 6, 2014

Johnny Letter #22

Dearest Johnny,

I wanted to take this opportunity to recap your 5th and so far, most awesome Christmas while it was still fresh in my mind.

Let me begin by explaining the time leading up to Christmas.  Mommy's life erupted with some confusion that resulted in pimples, nails bitten back to the quick, and a lack of ability to concentrate on the simplest tasks -but that's another story altogether.  Suffice to say, Mommy wasn't quite up to snuff in her focus on Christmas and planning this year.

Also shortly before Christmas, Daddy was sitting at the table with you coaxing you to eat dinner, the same as one or both of us does tediously every night of your life, when you urped on your plate.  How was he to know this night's resistance to food was significantly different than any other night of the week or year?  You detest letting anything that is not a fruit snack or a chocolate candy pass your lips, so how was he to know you had a real deal aversion to food that night?  This was the beginning of a stretch of The Plague that started with you, ran its course through (and when I say "ran through" I mean RAN THROUGH) our bodies one by one.

But it was a brief, albeit highly disturbing, plague and it didn't stop us for too long from enjoying Christmas festivities.  Although maybe it should have, because we left a wake of (no kidding) at least 30 bodies behind us.  People dropped like flies after having been in our midst for more than 30 seconds.  Sorry, Lawrence.  Sorry, Cheney.  Sorry, Kansas City, El Dorado, and Dallas, Texas.  Sorry, sorry, sorry about that!!

But still, even with The Sickness and The Stress, it was The Best Christmas Ever.  I am not even kidding.


You wrote your letter to Santa with a little help from yours truly, and you delivered it at the post office. Only little did Mama know that the post office isn't really open at the wee hour of the morning that we went to drop the letter in a special North Pole slot.  But a nice postal employee saw what we were trying to do and unlocked the door just for you to go deliver your list to The Big Guy.  It really almost brought a tear to my eye.

We went downtown for a little music and to watch Santa be rescued from on top of Weavers Department store and I must say, I kind of got misty eyed that night too, standing across from our town's quaint 159 year old department store, singing Christmas carols with my fellow Lawrencecians while you screamed that SANTA LOOKED AT you! HE DID! HE LOOKED RIGHT AT ME MAMA.

You had the opportunity again this year to have breakfast and a shopping spree with a local police officer because of the awesome Take Our Youth Shopping program at your school.  You got yourself some things and a monkey for Lily and candles for me, and the whole thing nearly killed you with the awesomeness.  You haven't stopped talking about it and NEXT YEAR? NEXT YEAR I AM GOING TO GET A BATMAN WHEN I GO WITH THE POLICE OFFICER.

We went to Sandbar Subs and your sister did us proud by screaming bloody murder at the mere sight of Santa and we did what all self respecting parents do and put her on his lap anyway and took a picture.  You, on the other hand, were cool as a cucumber and whispered your desires right in his ear and were delighted with the bag of sweets he handed you in return.  Santa was surprised to hear that you had changed a want on your list at the last minute and he had to scramble to make sure everything you asked for was under the tree on Christmas morning.  But you got that "Big Spiderman that Does It Webs" and it is truly the best toy ever.

You loved seeing all your grandparents and cousins and asked me for days on end afterward if we were going back and when and what was the next Christmas we were going to have.  You were more than a little sad when we took down the tree and decorations and said goodbye to Christmas until next year. which only made the whole thing sweeter.

I never knew Christmas could be like this.  I've always done okay with holidays and liked the special times of year, but this?  This is unparalleled. Bless your sweetest heart for making our lives so full of wonder and happiness.  What ever would we do without you and your sister?

All our love and then some,

Mama and Daddy