June 1, 2008

Dear Jack, Month 12

Dear Jack,

We bought you a mini red folding lawn chair this month . . . it's the perfect size for you. When we first brought the chair home, we sat you in it and you looked at us, like you knew that you were SUCH A BIG BOY sitting in your own chair. There's nothing cuter than your face when you're proud of yourself. Except maybe your face when you're laughing hysterically at your dad.

At the beginning of this month, you climbed into your chair by yourself and realized that you weren't quite sure about how to get down. Your toes were only three inches from the ground, but you reached for me and began fussing so that I'd come pick you up. My instinct was to come and lift you out. Because, I'm your mother. It's my job to get you out of chairs when you cry, isn't it? It's my job to fix things for you that you can't fix on your own, right? The problem was that you could do this on your own. I knew you could. You just didn't know that you could.

So, I held my arms out to you and told you that you could do it. I told you that I loved you and encouraged you to come to me. This went on for a minute or two (though it felt like an hour) until you were crying and I was close to tears when suddenly you arched your back, felt the floor under your feet and just stood up. In a split second, you stopped crying and just kind of gave me a sheepish grin as if to say, "That wasn't as hard as I thought it would be." After a quick congratulatory hug, you proceeded to climb into the chair and climb back out dozens of time so that you could practice your newfound skill.

You are so capable. If I had picked you up out of that chair, even though I knew you could get out, I would have been telling you that you couldn't do it. It wouldn't have given you the chance to find out what you can do on your own. You are gifted in ways that we're not yet even aware of and as someone who loves you deeply, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't let you figure some of the small things out on your own.

I know, I know. You're only a year old. I'm still your mom and I'm still here to help you out when you need it. But I also know that there are life lessons that start now. The things we do now are beginning to shape who you are becoming. There will be more "red chairs" in the future and I'll be here to cheer you on every time you feel like you're stuck in one.

Have I mentioned that you love remote controls . . . which means we can't find ours most of the time? I can't tell you how many times you've changed the channel when I was in tivo-ing something. Really, you love anything with buttons you can push. Keyboards, car key chains, my computer, cell phones . . . if you don't believe me, you can ask the Hillsdale County 911 operator that you called from grandma's cell phone last night. That's right, 9-1-1-send. What are the odds?

You say "ball" every time you see anything round and you are slowly learning how to throw one . . . though right now your throwing looks more like dropping. You say "bye bye" and "daddy" but you will still only call for "mama" when you're crying. You now know the signs for the words "more," "please," "thank you," and "all done" but you do them all differently than we tried to teach you. And you do the sign for "more" when you see anything that you want to get your hands on (including cell phones, keys and remote controls). When we ask what sound a dog makes, you start making a "woof woof" sound. Though, in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel that I should let you know that you also make that sound whenever you see squirrels, rabbits, geese or cows. Last night, we didn't get home until 10 PM. When I was brining you into the house, you had your head on my shoulder and were half asleep. We walked in the door and Murphy started barking, you let out a faint "woof woof" without even raising your head. It was precious.

You're one today. Which means I have 17 years left until you're out on your own. This doesn't seem like nearly enough time to teach you everything that we want you to know before then. But let me start with this . . . I really believe the world needs you, Jack. What I mean is that the world needs men and women who love sincerely . . . who hate evil and cling to what is good. People who put others before themselves. People who are joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. This is what we're trying to instill in you. This is what we're praying for you. Because when we come to the end of our lives, whether you're a garbage man or the President or a major league baseball player won't matter. Whether you can run marathons or have amazing vocal range or can solve complex math problems won't matter either. And though we are proud of you, the fact that you crawled at 6 months and took your first steps at 9 months won't really matter either. Who you become as a person . . . what you're doing to serve and glorify God . . . those are the things that have eternal value. And we want you to know that you're capable of doing whatever he calls you to do.

Jack, this year has been happier than your dad and I could have ever imagined life could be. We are overwhelmed at how much our capacity to love has increased. We love you so much! Happy birthday!



Anonymous said...

I'm seriously sobbing right now. Ok, maybe not sobbing, but I totally teared up!

Kristyw905 said...

I always think that our children's birthday is more for us because birth is such a memorable experience. Someday Jack will be old enough for you to tell him all about it! Grandma will add a few details!

Kristi said...

Jack is so lucky to have parents like you and Kyle. I only hope to be half the mother you are when I have my own kids someday. What an absolutely beautiful letter. And you are right. The world does need more Jacks. I've never even met the little guy and already I agree with you...he's going to do great things for God! :)