Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A birthday letter for Peter

November 17, 2009
Dear Peter,

Today you are one year old! We’ve lived 365 days together since you were born, but the details of this day one year ago are still vivid. I remember realizing as I woke up that morning that your entrance into the world was beginning, slowly but surely. I had enough time to eat a light breakfast, take a shower, and clean up the house. I wore a blue sweatsuit I had borrowed from a friend. Daddy stayed home from work so he could drive me to the hospital, and Grandma came over to take care of Gabriel, because he wouldn’t be able to stay in the hospital while we were there with you. I remember the silly questions the nurse asked me as we checked into the hospital. You were more and more insistent about wanting to come out and be with us, meanwhile I had to respond to questions about if we had stairs in our house, and whether I would be walking up and down them after you were born! Finally we were admitted, and not too long after that–after about 2 hours, and some creative help from our Midwife Wendy–you were with us, wearing your I’ve-just-been-born hospital cap and lying on my chest. Grandma told me it snowed the day you were born. I didn’t know it– you, Daddy, and I were snuggled up together in our room rejoicing that you, Peter Timothy, were finally in our arms!

Thanks to your big brother, I already had practice with the logistics of babies and toddlers. If you were anything like him, you would be happy nursing or being wrapped in the sling or carrier. So I did what seemed best and you were happy, and you shared your happiness with us. The first day you laughed at Gabriel, playing silly games with a baseball cap after dinner, and he laughed back at you, I realized the dynamism that is having another person in our family who can both give and receive joy. Now that I can see this, I pray that someday God will bless us with more children, brothers and sisters for you to tease first smiles and giggles out of, just like Gabriel did with you.

You are your own person, Peter. Gabriel wanted me to hold his hands for three months straight while he was learning to walk; I think I tried that with you once or twice but you preferred to crawl, usually after your brother and whatever exciting thing he was doing. Now that you have learned to walk, you fling yourself into it with gleeful abandon, arms held wide, running towards the next adventure until you lose your balance and plop to the ground. You’re persistent, though. You scramble up, all on your own, and keep going.

The world offers you its treasures and you marvel– yellow ducks, barking dogs, playground slides, bike trailers, tennis balls, sand boxes, and ice cream all elicit exclamations of interest and approval from you. Your smile is contagious, and your hugs (you even pat me on the back sometimes!) are encouraging. I know God sent you to me for a reason–sometimes I can make mothering such a complicated and busy proposition–because without fail your grins entice me to play, to relax, to be. As my second son, my little Peter, you are ushering me into a motherhood of greater fullness–each day I spend with you, I am more aware, less afraid; more appreciative, and less anxious. Here’s to many more years like this one.


(Thanks to Elizabeth Foss for the inspiration to write birthday letters--I can do this, even if I can't keep up with a baby book!)

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