9/11/2012

Dear Roger: 18 Months

Dear Roger,

Darling son, how is this even possible? It honestly feels like just a few months ago that I was somewhat nervously walking waddling into the hospital, 41 weeks pregnant, ready to get my induction on so I could meet you! And then, 36 and a half hours of labor later, there you were, my amazing son, finally in my arms.

Can you believe that this big boy...


...started out like this? 

How can I even tell you how great you are? Seriously, Roger, I often find myself gushing about just how incredible of a person you are. So, because I'm your mama and I love numbers, allow me to list [merely] 18 of the ways you are such an awe inspiring person to me:

1. You are FUNNY! You love to make people laugh, whether it's a 6 month old baby or a room full of adults. It's incredible. I don't know how you do it, but you are simply hilarious.

2. With that, you just have so much joy! Many comment on how happy and joyful you are, so much so that your doctor (who also happens to be Juliet's doctor) warned me that she might be just as joyful but to remember that all babies are different so not to expect Juliet to have your same disposition. This is wise! But I hope she does have lots of joy and smiles like you because it's just so great :)

3. And speaking of smiles, one of my absolute favorite things you do is this: often, you'll just look at me, eyes sparkling, and I'll smile at you and your face will just break out in the biggest, happiest, full-face-iest smile I've ever seen. Be still my crazy in love heart!

Smiley boy!

4. I won't lie: you're taking your sweet time with talking, and sometimes I think this means you can't understand me, but holy wow, boy, I underestimate you! I chat with you all day and almost daily I'll be surprised when you just do something I didn't know you knew how to do, like if I say, "Let's go to your room to change your diaper and get fresh and clean!" and you jump right up and walk to your bedroom door. And while this isn't monumental prodigy on display, it's not like I walked to your door and told you many times that this was your bedroom--you just got it! Too cool :)

5. You are trying to speak...keeping with tradition, like when you rolled over for the first time the very day you turned 4 months or took your first steps at almost exactly 11 months, today, the day you turned 18 months, I realized for the first time that you have decided to start saying words. Your stubborn self only says what you want to say (me saying, "Roger, can you say ____?" doesn't work! Not one bit!), but you clearly said, "Dada!" last night when you heard the door opening as he was getting home from work. Today at lunch you said, "Mama!" Heart melting stuff, you lovely child!

6. The other word you say, so adorably, sounds like, "Ovvvffffff." You LOVE LOVE LOVE Peter and the Wolf, a Disney video from the 40s that we watch on Youtube, and when you know I'm putting it on for you then you snuggle into my side, stare excitedly at the TV, and say (repeatedly), "Ovvvffff." It's the only thing you watch and I'm quite sure you are saying "wolf" in your own adorable way!

7. Your teeth exploded! I'm not sure that I ever wrote it, but you had the same 4 teeth from about 8 months until about 16 months. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, you sprouted ten--TEN!--teeth in the span of about 4 weeks.

8. ...and what's amazing about that is you never really turned into a hot grouchy mess. Your sleep was a little off and I could tell you didn't feel great, but I really expected 18 month molars (what they're commonly called, though yours were a few months early) to simply exchange my happy boy for a complete fuss monkey of a groucho. Sure didn't happen because you're just not that boy. Such grace!

9. I know that I'm supposed to wean you off the bottle...but two or three times a day you get a bottle of milk and snuggle into my side and, basically, steal my heart all over again.

10. My favorite part of this? It used to be that I'd sit down and settle you in, but no longer! You of your own volition get yourself right into my side. It's the best.

11. You are SO good with babies! When I was watching boy EE you would often walk up to him and just start smiling and chatting and generally being incredibly adorable. You'd completely interact with him as another person. Maybe that's not the world's biggest miracle to most but it's amazing to me!

You not only adore your mama but I'm certain you'll be the BEST big brother!
12. In general you are very empathetic. We had an issue with girl EE testing your limits by pushing you on the ground a lot. You were almost always quite nonplussed (and even thought it was a hilarious game) but she was doing it from a mean heart and we had to talk about not only that Jesus wants to give her a new heart but that she needed discipline for trying to hurt you. Her discipline was to go in the corner on her hands and knees with her head on the wall (long story, but this was the best way to get her to focus) for 30 seconds. You would always go with her and do the exact same position she did, even though you could tell that she was in trouble. Honestly, that sort of empathy at your age astounds me and I pray Jesus helps me steward it and shepherd it toward him well!

13. One sad part of your gift of empathy is that you simply cannot handle it when others are upset. I praise Jesus that your daddy and I are rarely cross with one another, in part because it's such a gift in general, but also because you REALLY don't do well with grouchiness (it makes you really upset). Additionally, if anyone is crying for any reason--maybe it's a hungry baby or your mama's hormones because of a commercial--you get very, very concerned. You pick up every emotion. I honestly don't know how many other children are this way, but you are and it's amazing.

14. You LOVE to eat! The gusto with which you enjoy foods you love (fruit is almost always your number one love! Especially strawberries and blueberries!) is just so entertaining. Today you couldn't shove frosted mini-wheats in your mouth fast enough and you had milk and overflow running down your chin. Too funny!

MOUTH FULL OF MINI-WHEATS!
15. You LOVE to dance! Sometimes it's if I ask you to, but even more frequently you'll push play on one of your musical toys and you'll just dance, dance, dance. Then when the song is over you'll run back, push the button again, and dance some more. Your dancing is mainly stepping from side to side while shimmying your little bottom, sometimes clapping your hands, always smiling that room-bursting smile of yours.

16. You also love singing. If I sing to you then you'll stop everything to listen (which, really, is quite amazing... you're always on the move!). Sometimes you dance, sometimes you try to sing along. And the very best way to calm you down if you're upset, or if you're mega-squirmy during pre-sleep cuddle and prayer time, is to start singing a sweet Jesus song to you. You just melt right into my chest, put your chubby little arms around me, and remind me that motherhood is one of my favorite gifts.

17. You love to kiss me! Sometimes you do it totally on your own and, whew! I'm a goner! Other times it's if I just smack  my lips--you walk right up and kiss me. Other times we blow one another kisses and all of it melts my heart. How I pray you still love to kiss your mama when you're 180 months and 18 years and 38 years old!

Not kissing but we adore one another :)
18. There are a million more things I could tell you--like how you run everywhere, never walk, constantly jump and run laps in your crib at bedtime, or how you climb as much as possible, are completely FEARLESS when it comes to water, be it in the tub or a fountain at the park or a huge lake or rushing river, or how you are super tough and strong and rarely cry and always amaze your daddy and me because you'll have a huge bump on your head but act like nothing even happened!--but I'll end with this: you adore your mama and daddy. We don't deserve for you to think we're so great, but for whatever reason Jesus chose to have you delight in your family. And honestly, my gut tells me that you're going to delight in your sister, too. I know fighting will come but I just know that you're going to think Juliet is the best thing to happen to your family and you're going to adore, enjoy, defend, and protect her. I think Juliet is going to be one of your favorite words--already you love to lift my shirt and pat my belly when I ask you where she is :)

You "meeting" Juliet for the first time.

I want to finish with something that I pray blesses your heart for years and years to come.

Your daddy and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this weekend by having a quick getaway to Portland and the Columbia Gorge. One thing we did was take a lovely drive, enjoying the scenery of God's creation (we would have hiked but your mama can barely shimmy herself into a sitting position, let alone haul herself and that big ol' Juliet belly up a mountain!) and talking to one another. We talked about the best moment, the first highlight that jumps to mind, in our marriage.

Here's what your daddy said: He always knew I would be a wonderful mother, but that moment when you came out of me and they put you on my chest, and he just stood there in awe of seeing you in person and seeing you on my chest with me crying, in awe of meeting my son--it changed his entire life. His wife was a mother and he had a son. Out of every good moment we've had, and there have been many, that was his favorite!
Our family: all four of us :)

I loved that, because here was mine: I remembered laboring so hard for a full 1.5 days (and you today are 1.5 years!) and all I could think in the hardest moments was that my baby boy, my beloved Roger Nehemiah Hagglund, whom I had wanted and prayed for my entire life, was coming. I couldn't believe you were finally there, in my arms, and I was kissing and snuggling and feeling your body on the outside of mine, your skin against my skin. I remembered saying hi to you and hearing your daddy say, "Oh wow, oh wow," and like your daddy, I just knew our lives were forever changed. We've never been the same since that moment. Jesus imparted to us knowing by experience what it is to reflect God by imaging him as Father (or mother, parent) and we're bombarded with grace for it.

I absolutely know that the arrival moments you and Juliet will be a tie, darling boy, for two of the best of my life (and for your daddy, too!), but do know that at the top of my list of praises to Jesus for his grace, after the gifts of Jesus himself and your daddy, is your very existence. The fact that I am enthralled with the person that you are is such sweet, sweet grace on top of grace.

I love you, Roger. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you!

Love,
Mama

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