And Now You Are Three

Oh, hello THREE. To think you were once our Minimoose.


Every year I write a hearty post on what a joy it is to be your mother. In fact, here is each one, starting with your birth story:

Welcome to the World, Roger Nehemiah Hagglund!

I'll confess, I just re-read each one, in order. Bring on the waterworks!

I need to be vulnerable and honest and admit that, while on the one hand I fear seeming like autism is all that matters, on the other, admitting that our entire world is different since your last birthday is just the truth. There is pain in reading those posts and seeing some of the hopes and dreams that, quite simply put, died. But because you can always trust your mama to be honest, I have to say this: not a single thing I wrote about how precious you are to me, about how you changed my life, about how your birth was the best day of your daddy's and my life to that point (your sweet and spunky sister is now tied with you there!), about how I cannot get enough of your laugh and infectious joy, and especially how I still pray for you to know, love, and serve Jesus in a way that literally changes the world around you--Roger, none of those have changed. In fact, they are more true because to know you for another day is to have another day's worth of love and devotion to you stored up in my heart. 

Two days old
First birthday 

Second birthday

Third birthday

It's every little thing with you, the grains of sand that make a beach, that enrapture my heart. So, allow me to free stream a small myriad of the ways you bring me so much joy.

  • Your obsession with green. The way you say, "Roger's green jammies." "Roger's green diaper." "Roger's green spoon." And just, "Greeeeeeeeeen."
  • The fact that even though you have no comprehension of having caused her pain, the way you always hug and kiss sister any time you make her cry is always very focused, intentional, and beautiful.
  • The way you make an exaggerated, "Mmmm-WAUH!" sound every time you kiss your sister or another little kid. Never adults, just children.
  • How you loooooove to eat. Especially yogurt. And ketchup. And eggs. And asparagus. And bananas. And organic Cliff bars. And Pirate's Booty. And kiwis. Really, you just love to eat.
  • The way, when I sit in Daddy's chair during the day while he's at work, you drag over my blanket from the couch, grab your iPad, and sit in my lap. You arrange the blanket over both of us, get to "work" on one of your learning apps, and lean back every so slightly, expectantly, so I'll massage your back and head.
  • The way you sometimes push me away when you just want to go to sleep at night, but then other times the way you unexpectedly grab my sleeve and pull me in reeeeeeealllllll close because you want that smothered feeling that you sometimes just crave.
  • Your knack for picking out clothes. The most compliments we ever got on an outfit of Juliet's is one you picked out. I would never pair polka dots and flowers because I think it feels too busy, but you sure went there and made your sister a fashion icon for a day. No joke.
  • Eye contact is rare with you, but every once in awhile your eyes lock onto mine and I can't look away. I feel like I am seeing into your soul in a way that just doesn't happen with anyone else. Not your daddy, not your sister, not a single other human being. Thank you for those times, Roger.
  • How crazy obsessed you are with the letter 'o' and how you show it to me all the time on our license plate...
  • ...and how cute it is that you don't know the difference between the letter 'o' and the number '0.' For the record, the one on our license plate is the latter.
  • Your super brightness. You know shades of colors with astounding accuracy (especially green). You know every letter, and most of the states. You know shapes that I have certainly never taught you. If we read a book once, you can learn a new word, and then the next time we read it a week later you know the 'new' thing. It floors me.
  • In addition, you cannot read, and yet you sweep your finger across the word 'Montana' on my hoodie and say, "Montana." Same with my Washington Huskies--on that one you know both words and which word is which--hoodie and my Whitworth hoodie. [Fact: I wear a lot of hoodies. They're just sorta my thing.]
  • I can't even handle how much you love the Seahawks. By the grace of God we are training you up in the way of righteousness.
  • You DELIGHT in music. Sometimes a song you love will come on the TV (via Spotify) and you'll drop everything, run over, and just soak it in. It's incredible.
  • And for real, it's uncanny how often you clap on beat.
  • The sweet way you say, "Jeeee-sus" at night when you want me to sing "Jesus Loves Me."
  • And then you say, "Pay-phooone." And then "Canoush." Praise God I know that you're saying, "Can't Hold Us." And yes, I always sing at least little bits of each one :)
  • The odd affinity you have for having your teeth brushed.
  • It's started to fade as you have become more comfortable with the environment, but I'll never forget the way, when we started CUBS class, you were in this big new room with so much to take in and you were so fidgety. But then they put you in the big swing in the middle of the room, and your little body just melted into relax mode. Only when swinging could you calmly look around the room and take in every little bit--the artwork, the stations, the other people. It was beautiful to see your little mind find something that allowed you to connect with the world around you. Never again will swings just be a random recreational toy to me, Roger.
  • Your cuddles. Having your non-snugglesome sister, Juliet, in our lives makes me so grateful for the sweet joy of how rarely you resist cuddling right on into my arms. Best part? You initiate at least as much as I do.
  • Your laugh and smile. Whenever someone adds me on Facebook who hasn't met you, the next time I see them they tell me how every picture of you makes them feel like not only are you an incredible little boy (and, for the record, much of the time they have no idea about the autism, so I know it's not coming from a pity place) but like they really want to get to know you. They say your smile is the kind they could never get enough of. I absolutely agree.
  • You still have the deep gut laugh I spoke of in your (I think?) one year letter.
  • Quite simply, I love the fact that we're three years in and I still marvel that Jesus gave me this great gift of being your mama. I keep waiting to find you annoying or resent you, for the "suckage" of parenting to set in. But nope :) We have hard moments, to be sure, but they are grossly, miraculously outnumbered by the good, the easy, the wonderful moments. 

You and sister enjoying birthday donuts today. You hoovered her leftovers. 

Quite clearly you're a pretty special boy to me. I could go on forever, but I want to enjoy this lovely day with you in person! I'll end with this:

In the great sovereignty of God, who saw every moment ahead of us, he led me to post Psalm 139 on your first birthday letter. Little did I know at that time--nor did I remember sharing it until reading said letter tonight--that this verse would be a great comfort to me, engraved on my soul regarding you. I pray it becomes engraved on your soul, as well, and that the truth of the good, trustworthy, worship-eliciting, faithful, steadfast love-filled character of our God would be your anchor in life.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
               Wonderful are your works;
                  my soul knows it very well.
           Psalm 139:14 

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