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February 4, 2013

Dear Jacob XXII

Dear Jacob,


This letter has been weeks in the making. Life is busy with you and baby Henry. I think about your growth and progress all the time. I thank God for you over and over each day. I’ve even taken notes as to not forget what I’ve been thinking about you. Now, finally, I’m putting it all together in a way that makes sense. (I hope!)


No one had any doubt that you would be a great big brother. There are times when you want my attention, namely in the form of help with things you are totally capable of doing on your own. For the most part, though, you love Henry and seem to be happy he’s here. You even took care of him while I was pregnant, making sure I ate enough, especially the things you felt Henry liked, like chips and salsa.


You give him hugs and kisses and want to hold him. You help introduce him to people and showed one of your friends, who has a sibling on the way, how to hold and kiss a baby. You play with Henry in the “jungle” and get upset if I don’t let you buckle him in to the “fishies” seat. You are gentler than I expect you to be with him.


You don’t always tell the truth about what Henry’s doing—he’s sleeping in my arms and you walk up, look at him, and say, “He’s not sleepin’”—but you do care a great deal. You’ve started to tell me, “He’s tryin’ to talk” when Henry cries, and you are getting better at telling me what he wants. You love to get the burp cloth to wipe Henry’s mouth, like I do (I remind you that cloths don’t go near his face unless I’m nearby). You help burp Henry, and the little guy burps almost every time. You like to hold him on your chest, like I do, even if he does take up most of your belly.


Henry’s growing like crazy, but one of the biggest changes we’ve seen these last six weeks has been in you. You just grew up, big time. You are talking in longer sentences with a much broader vocabulary. You can put on your coat, hat, and boots all by yourself. A few weeks ago, you surprised me by walking eleven blocks to library, holding my hand. You can put together puzzles, take a clean snack cup off the counter and put it away, put your dishes in the kitchen at the end of a meal (though I admit that last one makes me nervous when there’s still food on the plate). You’d been getting “me” and “you” confused—“I sit next to me,” “Mommy read to you!”—but that’s getting straightened out. You’ve been singing “Who Loves You” with the words I put to it:


Who loves you, Baby Jacob?
Who’s always there to make it right?


but you prefer to put “Baby Henry” in there when he’s upset.


You amaze me all the time. You are sweet, loving, friendly, smart. I think my pregnancy was tough for you, because I was crankier, more tired, able to do less with you. You are more affectionate with me now that Henry is in our arms, and I am grateful for that. I love the moments when the three of us—my two little boys and me—end up on the couch together in a snuggle, midday. These are the moments when I know for sure not only that I am where God needs me to be, but also that I am happy being where God wants me to be.


I expect you will have times in life when you are doing God’s will, but you don’t really like it. Not that I don’t like being your mom; that’s not it at all. But parenting is challenging, as much in terms of giving you what you need as in figuring out what the title of “mother” means for my identity, my faith, the way I love and live my life. Your smile, your hugs, your jokes, the little things you say that sound silly but that you take so seriously: these things are my greatest joys.


I went to buy you new church clothes last weekend. You are moving out of the toddler section and into the little boy section. You are growing up, and I am grateful to see every single day of it. You are my star, my special little guy. No matter how many more kids we add to our family, no matter how big you get, you will always be my baby, Jacob. I love you to infinity and beyond.


All my heart,

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