A letter to my son and daughter
Hayleigh and Braxton,
Soon your lives are going to change in a tremendous way. I think the main reason they will change so much is because of the permanence with which they will change. I am not sure why it took me until the recent days and weeks to really really think about it, but maybe it is because I already have my hands happily full with the two of you. I think back to how instantaneously Daddy’s and my lives changed when Hayleigh was born. As I am assuming any parent can tell you, once a new baby enters your world you cannot imagine life without them. The same phenomenon occurred when Braxton was born. Suddenly we could not seem to remember what life was like before you, and we didn’t want to. Hayleigh, I know your life was drastically changed when Braxton was born. It was no longer just you demanding Mommy and Daddy’s love and attention. But you adjusted really well and now as Braxton is older I see how much you thrive on having a built in playmate. When your baby sister is born sometime in the next few weeks our family is going to change again-overnight and forever. Someday when she is older we will look back and find it hard to remember life before her. If I am being honest this both excites and scares me.
It scares me a bit because I really love my life with the two of you. I am not someone who does well with change. I fear being a worse Mommy to you because I am being pulled in more directions and able to give you less. I fear missing out on some of the things we share now. I fear me struggling to manage all I have to do and you suffering as a result. It also scares and saddens me a bit because it means you are growing older. How on earth are you going to be a big brother, Braxton? Aren’t you still my baby? The passage of time always gets me. No matter how I war against my emotions I still struggle with being “okay” with you two growing up as quickly as you are.
It also excites me because I know that although I was scared of change before each of you were born, I would never have traded those changes for anything. Each of you have taught me so much, brought me so much joy and laughter, and made my world what it is today. I know your sissy will impact me and capture my heart in different ways but with the same magnitude. I am excited to get to know her and see what God has in store for our family. Like I said, someday we we will look back and not be able to imagine our family ever being complete without her. It is pretty exciting to meet a person who is going to forever shape who we are and what our family looks like!
I wonder what she will be like. Nana and Pop tell a story of when they were pregnant with Aunt Jayna. They were talking to a friend who also had three children and remarked “I wonder what this baby will be like. Will she be more like Emily or more like Rylie?” Their friends responded “Neither. There is a third pole". They were right! Rylie, Jayna and I could not be much more different from each other! I am not sure what a third pole would look like in our family, but I don’t doubt that she will be her own unique person, just as each of you are so wonderfully different from each other.
Hayleigh, I am so in love with the person God has made you to be. Sometimes I know I expect too much from you. I guess it is the curse of being the first born. I am sorry for when I am too hard on you. The other night I felt as if I had failed you as your mom during the day. I had been too impatient, not given you enough one on one attention and been distracted by other things. After you were in bed I felt such a pit in my stomach that I went and scooped you out of bed and brought you into bed with me. When you woke up I apologized for being impatient and distant that day. Sometimes being next to you is more healing for me than for you I think. I just needed to be close to you and let you know how special you are. I am so proud of who you are. You are filled with love and tenderness and you are so others centered. Your sensitive spirit is incredibly beautiful to Daddy and me. I love to see you light up when you are around the people you love. I love to see your heart when you are concerned about why someone is sad or sick. You are so perceptive and so caring. Sometimes you can be overly sensitive and emotional. This can be frustrating to me, maybe part of my frustration is that those are struggles I have myself. I always longed for a daughter. I continue to be blown away by the fact that God gave me one as exceptional as you.. I long to give you strength for this life, confidence in who you are, the ability to trust confidently in God free from anxiety-all while not breaking your tender, sensitive spirit. You are growing up quickly theses days, probably in large part to preschool. Some of the things you say or your new mannerisms are just so kid-like! One of my favorite things in life is to just be in another room and listen to you talk. I love your voice. I love your inflections all your own. I love the hilarious and sweet things you say. Sometimes in the morning I am still laying awake in my bed and I listen to you go into Braxton’s room and talk to him. It melts me to hear the love you have for him. Or I will listen from the kitchen or upstairs and you and Braxton play with Daddy. I love to hear you play with wreckless abandon and laugh and laugh with unbridled joy as you play with your hero. Moments like this make nothing else in the world matter. It makes me wish time would just stand still in that moment and it makes me wish I spent less time consumed by logistical things and more time wrapped up in your world. I also love to listen as you play pretend in your own world. It’s the closest I can get to getting inside your head. I love to know what you are thinking and feeling. When you express it through play or through conversation as we cuddle together on the couch in the evening I feel such a sense of accomplishment and humble gratitude at gaining another nugget of knowledge about you. I love that you want nothing more than to be close to me and to be loved by me. I hope that you always feel comfortable talking to me about anything. I hope you never doubt my love for you or feel separated from me because I have failed to be generous to you with my time, attention and affection. I am so sorry for when I don’t show you at every opportunity what you mean to my life. I am sorry for when I don’t give you a model to emulate and when I don’t point you to God’s unconditional love. Please know that nothing that ever happens, even having a little sister, even anything naughty that you could ever do, could ever diminish my love for you. It could never change the spot reserved in my heart just for you. You staked a claim in that real estate almost four years ago and that is where you are going to live forever. So get comfy!
Braxton, lately I have thrived on getting to know you more. Your little personality is emerging quite a bit these days. Well maybe I shouldn’t say little personality, because it isn’t small , that is for sure! I love what a sweet, sensitive boy you are. I hope that never changes about you. You are also pretty freakin' cute. I have a weakness for your chubby little face-which I cannot contain myself from kissing dozens of times a day and your adorable voice. You are talking a lot more these days. It is funny to hear what you have to say. You have a new habit of adding "Mommy" to the end of almost any phrase, which I have to admit is pretty cute. I love to see your face light up around us. I love your full out embraces. Few things in life could ever beat a Braxton cuddle. From the time you were born, when I would hold you on my shoulder you would pick your head up so that your face would be cheek to cheek with mine. You still do this. There is such a sense of peace and fulfillment for me when we sit like this. Sometimes you will stop your crazy playing just to come cuddle with me this way. Sometimes you are grumpy or hurt or sick and nothing will comfort you except sitting cheek to cheek. I hope you always find comfort in me in one way or another. I hope that no matter how old or tough or cool you get that there is always a sense of peace and comfort to be found in your Mommy. I hope that someday you are able to find even greater comfort in the arms of you Heavenly Father. Sometimes you are very strong willed and it is a challenge to me. I am sorry for when I don’t parent you in the right way. I am sorry for when I am impatient or I frustrate you to anger by being naive about how to parent you differently from your sister. I so long to not break your spirit of independence, because if I do my job correctly I can see your strong will as being such an asset-one I sometimes wish I had more of. I am so blown away and intrigued by the dichotomy that is you. You can be very temperamental, very particular, and also on the other hand extremely sweet, affectionate and sensitive. I am really excited to see how all of these characteristics come together to form a well rounded, people centered leader. It is a goal of mine to foster your unique personality, your unique talents in a way that honors God. I want to give you the gifts of confidence in who you are and courage to be the person God has called you to be. There are so many awesome characteristics that make up who you are. And although they can be intimidating and frustrating sometimes, I choose to see how God has planned to use all of this for good for His kingdom. Your personality differs so much from your sister’s. I love getting to know you more and more. I feel like the more knowledge I unlock, the richer I become, and the more in love with you I fall. You are such a special boy. You bring us so much happiness and laughter. Each time you hug me, or run to me laughing or kiss me and whisper “Ah luv yooouuu, Mommy”, it captures me in a profound way. I have said it before, but I love our story, my B. Every victory is sweeter with you and getting to know you and fall deeper in love with you is one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me. I am excited for what is in our future. Please know that nothing that comes, even being sandwiched in between two sisters, even anything naughty you may do, could ever make me love you one iota less. Your place in my life and my heart is secure.
God has gifted you both in incredible ways. I think He did an awesome job making you. I wouldn’t change a thing. You are just beautiful, wonderful people. You warm my heart and make me overflow with joy that you are mine. I am so unworthy to be your Mommy yet God chose me and I am eternally grateful. You are both my little saviors in different ways. God knew just what he was doing giving each one of you to me when He did. You have changed me. You have made me better. You have rescued me even when I didn’t know I needed rescuing. No earthly gift could ever be greater. It is because of these truths that I am excited to meet your new sister sometime this month. I can not say with certainty how she will impact our lives, but I know that from the beginning of time God has had a picture of our family and each one of us-including her, were part of it. God chose in His sovereignty to knit our family together with the threads of each of us. I love how it is coming together.
I love you more than words could ever express.