Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Birthday Letter

In the spirit of tradition, I'm back with a special letter to my second son. I wrote this in the final days of the terrible twos. By the time this publishes, I'm sure a mild-mannered three-year-old will have taken his place. Even if that's not exactly accurate, all feelings described in this letter remain. No matter how many times I have to put his shoes on...

Dear Owen,

We had a rough morning, the two of us. Your defiant behavior has me curled into the couch, waving the white flag. I wish I could say I were kidding, but you and I both know the truth in that statement. I ask you to pick up your toys. You throw them across the room. I ask you not to make a mess. You dump your chips directly onto the carpet. I ask you to leave your sister alone. You rip the paci from her mouth and sing into her face. Things weren't looking too good for you, Owen Charles.

Obviously this behavior is far from acceptable, but it's you. You are testing boundaries. You are seeing how high you can climb until you fall, how fast you can run until your legs wear out, how crazy you can make me until I crack {thanks a lot}.

After the lunch dishes were cleared and you helped me pick up the toys, I fixed you a cup of milk and expected you to relax on the couch a while before we began our weekly round of nap fights. Instead, something different happened. After I settled your sister into her crib, I sat down in the recliner to enjoy the quiet. Dragging two of your blankets behind you, your giant brown eyes bored straight into mine and you warmed my heart in an incredible way. Seconds after I was praying to get a moment away from you, you made everything come crashing down. You placed both of your blankets gently on my lap and said:

"I need you, mommy."

I pulled your 40-pound body across my lap and tears fell into your hair. Having two older brothers and a baby girl has somehow caused me to lump you and Nathan together. You eat the same foods, like the same toys, share the same room, and play the same games. You laugh at the same jokes, you're both quick to fight, and you are starting to share secrets parents can't know. As fun as it is to watch you bond with him, there's a glaring three-year difference I sometimes skip. You aren't six years old, Owen. You are three. You are a three-year-old little boy who is still learning the ropes.

This doesn't excuse every bad decision you make, but now is not the time for me to wish you away. It's time to savor every cuddle you let me have. You are just a toddler, Owen, but you are growing fast. Before long you'll be off to school with your brother, learning new and exciting things about the world and about yourself, but for right now you are mine. I can still see my baby in your face. I see his round, happy cheeks, his wide grin, and his eyelashes for miles. You're growing, Baby Owen, but you are far from gone. You still need me, and I need you.

I know I'm just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to figuring out exactly who you are, but I know you are destined for great things. If you push yourself in the future the way you push everything else now, the world will be yours for the taking. I see now, however, that it is not the time to rush. I will count to 10, I will take deep breaths, and I will help you learn. I love you so much more than you know, every single step of the way.

You're growing Owen, but you will never have to do it by yourself.


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1 comment:

Karen Weido said...

And now you have me crying - and wanting to go sneak into my kids' rooms and give them big hugs.