January 7, 2009

Dear Jack, Month 19

Dear Jack,

I started this letter to you on the 2nd of January, which was your 19-month-birthday. If I were still writing then, I'd only have told you about what a handful you had become. I'd tell you that I felt like one of those parents I used to see in stores and felt sorry for because their kids were so out of control. I'd tell you that your whiny-ness was driving me crazy and that my patience was wearing thin. I'd tell you that repeating the word "more" over and over will not necessarily get you more. And I'd tell you that continuously repeating the word "obey" will not automatically cancel out the time out you're about to get. The terrible twos have arrived. You are testing your boundaries and some days you're ok with the limitations that we set and on other days you're going to fight them tooth and nail.

I get through these days and still feel good about being your mom because I know that setting boundaries is our job. I know that telling you "no" and putting you in time out are a few of the things that are helping you to learn how to be a good person. The kind of person that other people will want to be around. The kind of person who will make a positive difference in our world. We're trying to teach you how to live.

The last few days have been a little better. You've been so sweet. You have been obedient, complient and loving. There have been some moments and several time outs, but overall, things have been rather docile. If I didn't know better, I'd think you want something. You've started to pucker up when you kiss me rather than just push your wet mouth against my cheek. You even ask for kisses sometimes. I will soak up these days as much as I can. Doing so helps me make it
through the rough days.

I know that this was your second Christmas, but I kind of feel like it was your first. You appreciated everything so much. After you went to bed tonight, we took the Christmas decorations down and I'm a little afraid that you'll be hurt tomorrow when you come out and see our tree-less living room. You're already going through Christmas light withdrawal. You seriously notice EVERYTHING. On Saturday night, it was dark out and we drove past a house that used to have an inflatable snowman and santa in the front yard. I have no idea how you could even tell where we were because there were no lights on anywhere, but you started asking "tanta?" and "nowmean?" Nothing gets by you.

You enjoyed hearing the Christmas story, but I think the phrase "baby Jesus" confused you a little. You could point at the picture and understand baby. And you could identify Mary, Joseph, the angel and the animals, but when we said "baby Jesus" you don't quite get it. You know Jesus from our prayers, and from other Bible stories. But this is the first time you've been introduced to him as a baby.

To be honest, Jack, the idea of God coming to earth as a baby is mysterious to most of us. I mean, it's true and we get it, but if we're honest with ourselves, we don't really get it. God in human form. Walking among us. Living perfectly. Teaching us how to live, yes, but more importantly, dying so that we can really live. I read a blog post a few weeks ago called "The Simple Truth of the Gospel." The author is way smarter than I am, because while the gospel can be compacted into a neat little set of stories, I don't find it to be really simple at all.

Have I lost you yet? I guess what I want to tell you now is that I want to talk to you about these things. I want to wade through this stuff alongside you. I want to teach you what it means to be a follower of Christ.

I know that it has to become a personal decision for you, but for right now, we make your decisions. We decide that you'll have brocolli and chicken for dinner, rather than donuts and popcorn (um, on most days). And we hope that as you start to make decisions about what you eat for yourself, you'll know enough truth about nutrition to make wise decisions. And right now, we decide for you that you're following Christ, hoping that when it's time for you to decide on your own, you'll know Jesus well enough that you'll choose to follow him on your own.

Like I said before, you're testing your boundaries and show a tad bit more independence every day. I know I can't make the rules for you forever. But I'm doing everything that I can to equip you to make wise decisions on your own someday.



Erin K. said...

Well said! I've never thought about sharing Jesus with Kaitlyn in these terms, but you've perfectly stated my feelings and intentions.

Anonymous said...

so sweet, sara! i love your monthly letters to jack.

ko said...

sweet sweet blog! I am the lady who just ordered the new year and valentine cards! I am so glad you have a blog! :)