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October 1, 2010

Dear Jacob

Dear Jacob,

On Tuesday you turned one week old.  You and I celebrated by going out into the world—to Duane Reade, another pharmacy, and the library.  You were so good—sleeping through a crazy false fire alarm before we left our apartment and then through all kinds of ups and downs as I pushed the stroller over potholes.  The comments about you have gone from “I guess you’re having a boy” when you were still in my belly to “what a big boy!” now that you’re out.  People think you’re a month old, not a week!

Your daddy and I celebrated your week-birthday by pouring some wine after dinners (yours and ours) and having some of my favorite chocolate that he brought home.  We both fell asleep before we had a chance to drink the wine, but it was nice to know it was there.

People say you’re going to be overcome with love the instant you see your baby, but we loved you before you were even born.  And when you were delivered, I was more in shock that anything else.  Who knew it would only take nine minutes (and twenty-four hours of induction medication) to push you out?

We’d been praying for you since we knew you were in my belly, knowing that you are not just a baby, but a whole person, a whole life that God created and entrusted to us. Thinking about you that way for so long was a blessing, and when we could finally see you face-to-face, I couldn’t believe you were really ours.  God put you, this wonderful, perfect little guy in our hands and trusts us with you.  Wow.

When you were born, you kept sweeping your hands over your face and eyes, like you were trying to believe what had just happened, too. Your daddy was so afraid you’d scratch your face with your long nails, but the nurse told us you couldn’t really hurt yourself.  We held you as long as we could, and called your grandparents, aunts, and uncles to share the good news of your birth.

Already I can’t imagine not knowing what you look like.  You are so distinctly Schlegel.  Sometimes you look like Uncle Joseph, especially your mouth, on which you received your very first compliment: “nice mouth”; sometimes when you’re sleeping, you look just like Aunt Leeny.  And when you yawn—that amazing yawn that your daddy and I love to watch and want to capture on film to watch over and over again—you often look like your daddy.  You eat and sleep like him, too, and just the other day you started to drool in your sleep, like he does sometimes (sorry, John).

The first week you smiled some in your sleep and grasped my finger a couple of times, but I thought you weren’t quite aware of what you were doing yet, so I tried not to get too excited.

What did thrill me was a moment Monday night, right on the eve of your one-week birthday, while I was holding you in the glider.  I was reading a book and you were sleeping, snuggled in my arm.  I felt your whole body shake, and when I looked over, you were laughing!  Your lip was curled into a whole smile—not just on the left side, like it often is—and your entire face was taken up by this giggle.  It’s this sort of thing that excites me for what’s ahead.

One of your grandpa Paul’s first comments about you was that you are “wonderfully formed,” which reminded me of Psalm 139:14 (the only psalm I have a real personal connection with):

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

And when Grandma TT met you, she told us the phonetic translation of Jacob in Chinese is “excellent in one hundred corners/ways.”  We are already beginning to count them.  For example, when you sneeze, more often than not, you sneeze twice.  At ten days old, I think you are starting to recognize faces, and I think you have smiled at your daddy and me for real.  You’ve just started to grasp my necklace when I hold you, too.  Oh, and the faces you make when you’re waking up, and then again when you’re nursing!  Your daddy and I could watch you forever.

Jacob, you are peaceful and calm unless you need something, and when you laugh or smile or yawn, it takes your whole face to do it.  You already seem to me to be a little boy filled with God’s grace.  You are patient and loving; you let anyone hold you and give you lots of kisses.  And your face is imprinted on my heart in a way that I can’t believe it ever wasn’t there.

Know, Jacob, that your daddy and I have loved you all along—even when I had doubts, even when I was scared.  God is going to give us everything we need to take care of you, and you have already begun to teach me great lessons of generosity and kindness.  I hope I can teach you something important, too.

I’m so happy to be your mommy, Jacob, and beyond grateful that you have transformed our marriage into a family.  You have already done an incredible thing just by being you, and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for you and for us, your family.

With love,

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