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Modern Perspectives, Motherhood, Young Married Mom

August 24, 2012

Dear Jacob XIX

Dear Jacob,


I’ve been meaning to write to you for a long time. You are changing so much every day. Part of me wants to capture every moment of you, but I take a picture one day and it looks totally outdated the next week (maybe you just need a haircut). In that way, it’s hard to keep up with you. Big events are chasing each other these days, and while I’m absolutely enjoying them—and you as you grow up—it’s tough to keep track of it all. But when I focus on just enjoying you, building you up, loving you, life with you is very easy.


You are speaking more and more clearly and it is a joy. These last two weeks especially you’ve been putting adjectives with nouns (“salty mouth” in the ocean) and telling me things I can at least translate to full sentences (“Mommy Daddy grill; sit chair watch”). I am so proud of the big boy you are becoming. You are polite, kind, and in your own words “so funny.” You’ve started to take credit for jokes I make, so we’re going to have to work on that ego. But you also know how to have fun. “More!” “Again!” “One more time!” I love playing with you.


In a lot of ways you are still a baby; you’re just a month away from being two! We’re not rushing you growing up, but it is amazing to see how much our lives and our hearts have changed over these last two—and if you count our preparing for you while I was pregnant, three—years with you. Your relaxed, content demeanor seems to be part of the forever you, not just the baby you. I think that is a beautiful part of you, and while it might present challenges at certain points if you let it stand in for hard work and discipline, for the most part, I think it will serve you well.


I am pregnant again with your little brother. You seem to have a serious case of denial about this. At one point, you told me the baby meowed. At other times, you will say that you, Daddy, and anyone else around has a baby in his belly, but I do not. It will be a transition, but we talk about baby all the time, and the way I see you following the big kids around at the playground makes me think you’ll like being the big kid just fine.


You recently had your first major allergic reaction, buddy, and it broke your daddy’s and my hearts. That day and the week after on vacation, I realized how challenging your life will probably be in this regard. It terrifies me, how dangerous an ordinary day could be for you, but then, most of the time an ordinary day is just that: ordinary. It’s the exceptions that are so frightening.


Sometimes the word “impossible” slips into my mind. Without fail, the next thing there is that with Christ, all things are possible. With God’s grace, your daddy and I will learn how to navigate your childhood and teach you how to navigate your adulthood. There are a lot of people with food allergies who live normal lives. We need to be sure to teach you confidence to speak up for yourself, humility for the times when you can’t participate in something safely, and most importantly, the fact that your allergies do not define you; the way you handle them does.


After that hospital visit, I realized that although you are very strong, your life is fragile, and to a certain extent, out of our hands. Not that we won’t do our best for you, of course. I’m beginning to see that “best” isn’t utter paranoia; it’s teaching you how to be yourself, but be safe, wherever God takes you in this life.


When we were traveling home from vacation the other day, I found myself questioning why God gave us this load to carry. It felt so very heavy as I wiped down yet another plane window that someone else might have touched after spilling milk on a hand or eating peanuts (why do they still serve those on planes, anyway?). Then I remembered that I told Him when I was pregnant with you that we’d love you no matter what, that we’d keep a baby someone else might not deem “perfect” and we would love him like crazy.


I don’t mean to suggest that we asked God for a more challenging life, and thus He gave it to us. I don’t think it’s that simple. I’m saying that we are committed to loving our children no matter what physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual condition they are in. I didn’t think then of what that would mean for your life, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. I didn’t understand what being a mom meant yet. I’m still learning. But if God puts you to it, God gets you through it, right? I know you can handle what God has planned for you, maybe better than I can sometimes.


Sooner rather than later, there may come a point where parents can choose their kids’ eye color, gender, talents, whether their kids have allergies or not. If I had that chance, as tough as this is and will continue to be, I wouldn’t take you any other way. You are not imperfect; don’t think for half a second that you are. You are absolutely and without a doubt perfect, just as you were always meant to be.


You love to read books. When you see letters and words, you shout, “A-C-O-P! A-C-O-P!” (a cop, a cop?). You love airplanes, boats, cars, trains, and trucks. You can just about sing the alphabet, but l-m-n-o is just you wiggling your tongue in your mouth until it’s time to get to p. You skip seven when you count, and only sometimes say nine, but never forget nineteen. You love your family and friends and will give anyone in the room at bedtime a “hut and tiss,” or hug and kiss. You say too many cute and sweet things to keep track of. I shamefully admit that I quote you all the time. I not so shamefully admit that I think of what you would say in a situation in the few instances you’re not around.


I love you with all my heart, just the way you are. You are the bear of my heart, and it is a privilege, an honor, a blessing to be your mom. I have a front row seat to one of the greatest stories I’ve ever seen told.


Love, love, love,

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