Monday, November 9, 2009
Dear Henry & Lily,
This has been a crazy week. And I hate to say it, but there's more crazy in store. I just wanted to take a quick minute to leave you guys a little love note. I know you won't read it today - you can't. But someday you will be able to, and when that day comes, I want you to know that I loved you today.
I think you can sense my fragility, Henry, because you have been an absolute treasure of a boy all week. Tonight while we were reading scriptures, you looked up at me with sparkles in your eyes and then you coyly slipped your arm behind my back and nuzzled your face into my chest. I smooched the top of your head a few times. And it was done, said with no words, we both knew how totally crazy we are for each other.
I also loved our Candyland game a few nights ago - how you laughed yourself silly when I had to go alllll the way back to Gumdrop pass. And then a couple turns later, you had to go alllllll the way back to the gingerbread tree. Boy, did we laugh about that! But you got the last laugh when you whizzed past me, all the way up to Lolly. You arrived at King Candy's Castle, way ahead of your silly old mother :)
My favorite part of the game though, was probably when I got firm with Lily for climbing up on the table and you gently reminded me, "mom, don't be mad at her, she just wants to be part of the fun." You are wild and rough and silly and "boy" to core, but one of the greatest perks about being your mom is that I get to know the softer parts of you, too. And my favorite little secret about you, Henry, is that you have one of the most tender little hearts to ever beat in the body of a boy. I have a feeling that the only person who will get to know the tenderness of your heart like I do will be your wife; I hope life won't have robbed you of too much of it by time you find her.
This fall when lots of other moms were enrolling their kids in preschool, I decided to keep you home with me. That is a choice I have celebrated and loved every day since. (Well, almost every day -- there have been a few doozers where I've secretly wished I had a place to send you for a few hours :) But mostly, I adore the time we have together. I love having you for my special helper at the grocery store, the post office, the pharmacy, the gas station, the bank. I love our weekly visits to the library and the new worlds we've explored in story books. I love hearing you say things that are just a little too big for your vocabulary, like yesterday afternoon, when you announced, "mom, 'ccording to my proculations, I'm old enough to take a shower by myself now." I love answering your questions about the workings of the world that arise in tiny moments of togetherness - when we drive in the car together, when we cook dinner together, when we read stories, or do puzzles, or play games during Lily's nap.
Speaking of the li'l miss...you, Lily? There are hardly words to capture the curious amalgam of your character. Your joy and energy for life are unmatched. I love to watch you light up at the sight of a balloon, a birdie, the florescent lights at the grocery store, an airplane. I love the magnetism between you and babies. You're smitten with every one you meet. You have a fiery side that matches your sweet side, point for point. I've seldom known a child so determined (your aunt Halley comes to mind, though). At fifteen months, you're already climbing on chairs and table tops (and falling off them nearly as often), hanging on the oven door handle, getting into and out of the bath all by yourself (fully clothed or dripping wet and slick-footed, whichever the case may be,) pushing the screen door right off its track so it goes cartwheeling down the balcony. You're also a very willing helper; every time you notice that we're cleaning up, you stand back in careful observation for a few moments, then as soon as you've figured out just how we're doing things, you hop right in to help.
I love the way you occasionally pause from the busyness of your life and back yourself up into my lap for a brief snuggle. I savor those snuggles. I try to memorize them - the softness of your breath and the feeling of you collapsed against me -- it happens so rarely.
But some nights, if you're not too anxious for your bed, we have a long snuggle in the rocking chair. We sing, we smile at each other, we exchange long, knowing glances, you fiddle with your hair, I tickle your back - the experience has all the trappings of perfection. And then, in an instant, you're done; ready to surrender in the familiar confines of your crib. No more singing. No more tickling. No more rocking. You're ready for bed now, thankyouverymuch. And then, you nestle yourself right down into your favorite pillow, you grab the lock of hair that you prefer for twirling, you suck your bink, and you quietly put yourself to sleep. You've been an angelic sleeper from birth - no sleep training, no mysterious waking up in the night, no trouble at all, really.
You find other trouble, though. You've taken quite a liking to pouncing on my laptop, a hobby I'm hoping you tire of soon as it really makes me cross. Also, you've learned to amuse yourself by throwing your food on the floor, which is especially fun now that we have a carpeted eating area. You also like to unroll the toilet paper, rip off little bits and throw them into the toilet. If you weren't so absolutely precious and dear, little girl, I might think of selling you.
On Friday afternoon the three of us spent two whole hours on the sloping grass by the duck pond behind the library. We frolicked and rolled and tumbled in the crunchy, brown leaves. Lily, you quacked emphatically at the ducks and waddled (duck-like) around the grounds like you had very important things to take care of. Henry, you yanked a sizable branch from the willowy tree and fished pond murk out of the water. I took four hundred pictures. I get a little obsessive about trying to preserve your childhood - I love it so much. Too much, probably. But after all the clicking and zooming, I put my camera away and tried to immortalize the perfectness of our shared afternoon in a different medium. I just sat on the hillside, eyes, ears, heart wide open, trying to let you both sink into the deepest, safest place inside me.
I hope it worked.