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Motherhood, Young Married Mom

September 21, 2012

Dear Jacob XX (Happy Birthday!)

Dear Jacob,


Today is your second birthday. Happy birthday! In a way, of course, it’s hard to believe that two years have passed since you were born. But then, the passage of time and just about everything I knew about the world changed once you were a part of it, so I probably shouldn’t be surprised.

Often when we’re talking about something you said or did (we quote you all the time) your grandma or your dad will say to me, “You’ve got to write this stuff down!” I remind them that I have this blog, and I’m trying, in part, to do just that, but the reality is that you are too full of a person, too complete, too beautiful, too brimming with surprises to be captured with a few meager words from me. Still, though, I will try.


At this point in your life, you are the most polite toddler I know. You say, “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” (though it sounds like “peas,” “tan tu,” and “weh-tom”), often without prompting and usually in the right context. You love to point out cars, trucks, trains, airplanes, helicopters, and ambulances. You know that you went in an ambulance once, and Mommy and Daddy came along.


When you speak, you exaggerate vowel sounds: “spin aroooouund,” “sit doooooown.” Most of your “c” sounds sound like ts: “big car” is “bit tar” to you. I understand you like it’s nothing, and I do a lot of translating for you around other people. Of course “eh-top-ter” is “helicopter”! Babble to others, your words are usually clear as day to me, and I love that.


You sing the alphabet song, and finally “L-M-N-O” is starting to have some definition. You used to just wiggle your tongue in your mouth until we got to p. You can count up to twenty on your own, straight through. Counting down is a different story: “ten, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!” If you had your way, we’d never get to a new year!


You don’t understand that numbers are useful to determine how many of something there are (unless we’re talking about your feet, ears, hands, or doggies—“one two doggies!”). You’ll point at a book with me, but there’s no method behind it. There could be three fish on a page, and somehow you’ll still get up to ten or whatever number suits your fancy, pointing to the same pictures more than once, then branching off to completely unrelated images.


When you wake up from a nap, you call to me “All done sleep!” to let me know you’re ready to get up. I’ll open the door to your room, and before I can even turn on the light, you say, “Hi!” And sometimes when I’m cooking dinner and your daddy’s getting you ready for bed, you’ll run into the kitchen, hair still wet from your bath, and cry with a smile, “Hi, Mommy!” You might actually be too cute for words.


You fell in love with the ocean on vacation, though you don’t love it nearly as much as you love both your papas . . . or pop-pops. We’re still not quite sure how you’ve decided to say “grandpa.”

You like to throw balls, but you are better at kicking them. Your catching isn’t bad, but you often giggle too hard to concentrate on making a completion. I think we have convinced you that you like football. I hope you really do.


You love meat, especially sausage and hot dogs. Those are some of my favorites, too, but you are sometimes better about eating vegetables with them. Your allergies are still a challenge, but you eat so well that you are a strong, healthy boy. You were a giant when you were born, and we keep thinking you’re a big guy—until you play with a friend about your age. Then it’s clear that you are on the smaller side, like my side of the family. Your clothing sizes are proof of this as well; you’re a size larger in shirts than pants. Sorry about the short legs. Daddy’s going to help you with your turnover rate so that you can still be a fast runner, like he is.


For a toddler, you are pretty good at being patient, especially with me. I am trying to teach you to listen, but sometimes I probably expect a little more from you than you are capable of. You don’t hold grudges, though, and I am trying not to just instruct you to do what I want you to do, what would be easier for me, but what is really best for you. Your dad and I do believe obedience to us is important, so sometimes you are learning to do what we say just because it’s what we’ve asked of you. I hope you can learn this respect for people in charge of you while continuing to ask questions and form your own opinions. That sort of humility is of the utmost importance.


This week you’ve had a cold and I’ve started to check in on you before I go to sleep at night. The door sticks, but you sleep soundly enough now that we can open and close it without disturbing you. You are, hands down, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. When I look down at you, I am sometimes brought to my knees, thanking God for the perfect, beautiful boy before me. God is good, and He did a very good job when He made you.

I never really checked in on you while you were sleeping before. When you were very little, I didn’t have the typical fear that you would roll over and get yourself stuck or stop breathing. I also wasn’t sure that just one check-in a night would satisfy that fear if I had it. I’d have to be at your bedside all the time. I know I can’t do that, especially when there are other little ones to care for in our family. The best I can do is to teach you faith, hope, love, courage, and strength in the grace of God. It’s the least I can do, really, seeing as you have taught those things to me in a way I didn’t know before.


This year was rough, as we lost your brother, Ethan, and struggled through the first two trimesters of a new pregnancy—that of your other brother, Henry. We are so excited for you boys to meet and to start being friends. From the way you follow the big kids around on the playground, I think you will be a very good big brother. Even when you want something, you don’t go overboard. You keep an even keel, and know that a snuggle and a hug can make just about anything better. I hope you will teach Henry the same.


Your dad and I were talking the other night about how you are likely to end up in the oldest-brother-is-the-shortest way, like your wonderful uncle Karl is. Actually—and this is the first time he’s hearing this—I see a lot of Uncle Karl in you. You are both loving, kind, friendly, and while passionate, not dramatic. You are easygoing and happy, and fun to be around.

At the same time, you are YOU, not anyone else, and it has been a joy to get to know you over these last two years. I can’t wait to see what the next one holds.


Happy birthday, my special little guy! Mommy loves you so big. (But she also intends to teach you better grammar than that.)


Hut and tisses,

  1. ceciliamaria says:

    What a beautiful birthday letter!!! Happy Birthday, Jacob! 🙂

    And that is a GREAT photo of Jacob and Uncle Karl!!!

  2. Cindy says:

    This was such a beautiful letter! Loved the grammar joke, and can’t wait to one day meet Jacob!

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