Monday, April 28, 2014

letters to duke - 2.5 years

April 22, 2014

Dear Duke,

I know, I know.  No more yellow chair or aardvark for your picture.  The chair is actually gone and I figured that at this point, I'd just to try to capture you and your "Duke-ness" in these letters from now on.  When I look at this picture, it has 2.5 year old Duke written all over it.

I hardly know where to start with the past 6 months.  This age is so much fun and I am loving every drop of you.

Communicating clearly with you has been a blast!  Your dad and I love it when you tell us about your day at the dinner table.  There are only occasional moments when I really have no idea what you're saying.  Hearing you compile your thoughts into sentences is a precious thing.  Your dad and I think it's so funny how often you give us compliments - you'll tell us that you "wike" our hair or shoes or feet or shirt.  Although you may not mean it, you sure make us feel great!  By far, hearing "I wuv you too," returned to us is the best thing ever.

You've started talking about friends you know from school (MDO), church, or bible study (MOMS).  You tell me what they say or what you say to them.  Most of the time, these stories are hilarious.  Right now, Alex, Mason, and Joshua are the key players.  They all attend your school and you seem to talk about them the most.  Oh, how I'd love to be a fly on the wall to watch you interact with other little people your age!

Your favorite kids songs are "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "The ABCs," "Twinkle Twinkle," "Jesus Loves Me" (which you refer to as "Sigh Know" - comes from the line "this I know"), and "Little Boy Blue" (which you refer to as "Blue Horn.")  You also love listening to your Yo Gabba Gabba CD.  Your favorite pop radio hits are "Trouble," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "I Love It," "Roar," "Story of My Life," "Happy," "Holy Grail," "Say Something," "Wrecking Ball," "Stay," and "Team."  Unfortunately, not all of those are necessarily my favorite songs.  But even if you hear 2 seconds of one of them, you can identify it and immediately shout, "That song!  I want that song!" 

You weigh 31 lbs. 8 oz (68th percentile), are 39 in. tall (96th percentile), sleep 11-12 hours at night, and take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon.  Bedtime routine consists of myself (or your dad) hiding and you finding us.  After that, it's changing into PJ's and reading a book.  These days, your favorites are Cinderella and The Fox.  About a month ago, you moved into your new big boy room with your new big boy bed.  It only took you about 3 nights to adjust!  You sleep peacefully and soundly in your twin bed.  And although you have no idea what it really means, you seem very willing and excited to let baby Nova use your crib.

I know I'm bound to repeat myself in some of your letters, so just bear with me.  But I can't comment enough on how observant and compassionate you are.  You notice when people are crying or sad or laughing and you comment on it.  However, your ability to understand the unsaid emotion of a situation is even more fascinating.  One day I was having a particularly hard day, but there were no obvious clues you could've picked up on.  You came over to me, out of nowhere, and gave me the biggest hug.  This was followed by many kisses and many more hugs.  I melted into a puddle and thanked God for a little buddy to help me on days like that.  I believe the Spirit prompted your little heart to show me some love.  I won't ever forget it.

You love singing songs, playing with trains, building towers, counting the number of coins and putting them in your Thomas bank, and reading books.  Our mornings are typically filled with constant errands and you are the perfect little friend to have alongside me.  You're very well-behaved and it is a fairly rare thing for you to act out or throw a tantrum.  I'm so grateful for this.

Duke, any day now, our lives are going to be pretty different.  Your little sister Nova will be here, making us a family of four.  Even though you don't really understand what's going on, you do know that baby sister is in my belly, her name is Nova, and that when she cries, you'll say, "It's okay!"  I have every reason to believe you are going to be a wonderful big brother.

I know that as we add to our family, this short 2.5 years with just you may feel really far away in my memory.  But that's why it's so important to me to take the time to record so many things.  I want all of these letters and words to immediately transport me back into these days with just you.  They are so special, Duke.

Coming from a family of 3, I know that parents love their children equal amounts but still maintain a unique love for each one.  I just want to give you a quick glimpse into my unique love for you.

Not only did you make me a mother, but God used your arrival to soften my heart to a degree that no other human could do.  Because of this softening, I was like a sponge.  I was like tissue paper.  At my best, I was sensitive, compassionate, and understanding.  At my worst, I was overly aware, fearful, and on edge.  That's what a soft heart can do to you - all of the above.  It can fill you with extreme love and extreme fear, depending on the day or who you are.

While my heart grew softer, it began to take more in.  It began to listen.  I believe with everything in me that the events that took place on that day in July of 2012 may not have happened had my heart not been so affected by your love.  I might not have responded how I did.  But because my heart was so softened, open, and tender, I responded in a way that I'd never responded to anything before.

It was a hard season for me, but I learned things and I became a different person.  God was able to make me into a different person.  He could've done it without your help because, after all, He's God.  But he chose you to get me there.  Duke, he chose you - a sweet, precious baby - to help me understand God's unbelievable love for me.  I am not the same as I was before you came into my life.  You helped me come to life.  You helped my soul wake up.  You are the bookmark of my spiritual awakening.

I love you, Duke, with everything inside of me.  That is the bottom line.  I promise to love you forever and ever no matter what.  No matter what.  Nothing could ever change it.  I'm so proud of you and look forward to a life of watching you grow.


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