Sunday, April 22, 2012

Updates via belated birthday letters

Dear Eli and Tate:

5 and 2 you two are. I won’t lie, my crazy little crazies—I often feel like you two are the equivalent difficulty level of ten children. If you were a ski slope, you would be a double black diamond, WITH moguls and ice. But I adore you. I love spending my days with you and listening to the alternating mix of nutty nonsense and profound wisdom that comes out of your mouths. We have put you two through a lot this year, including but not limited to two cross country moves in less than a year and all the disruptions that come with that. I am amazed and grateful at how resilient you have been while I have been distracted and preoccupied for the better part of the last year with moving arrangements, important decisions and disappointing miscarriages…I freely confess to letting these circumstances get the better of me on many occasions. I am humbled at how forgiving you are of my impatience with you; you both return kindness for my unkind words and actions to you, hugs for harsh words, and sheepish smiles and shrugs for my frustration. Maybe all the things I think I am teaching you in vain would begin to be more effective if I would allow more of the kindnesses you show me to affect my teaching methods. I will try to do better in the next year and, to that same end, I will REALLY try to not move again. All that being said, the last year has been a very polarizing mix of trying and exciting, which I guess pretty well sums up what any given day with you boys is like.

Eli: Sometimes, little son, I think Heavenly Father sent you to me for the very specific reason of teaching me how to pray. I mean really, get down on my knees and beg for help. I have learned through being your parent the last 5 years that I am no good at asking. I am really good at accepting hard things and not questioning why things are the way they are. I am not so good at asking for specific things that I need personally revealed to me. You, my boy, have not only been a direct source of insight into my own thoughts with your 24/7 barrage of incessant questions, but you have also given me many many reasons to ask for help from Heavenly Father. Eli, I do not want you to think that I do not love every tiny little part of your busy spirit. But I swore the day you were born that I would never lie to you. And I would be lying if I said that you were not a difficult child. I believe your spirit was sent to me to help me navigate my own weaknesses. Because the ones I have must be strengthened if I am going to lead you down the path we all want you to follow. You are my own personal refiner’s fire. I am sorry that I will probably be a better mother to your younger siblings, but I know you have many unique abilities that will help you overcome my weaknesses as a parent: Despite the influence of that stupid show Chuggington which has taught you to parrot phrases like “Oh, I just can’t do it” and “Its no use, I will never be able to finish” you are remarkably, painstakingly persisitent. (By the way, no more Chuggington.) Your powers of persuasion are going to amount to something far more positive than making me wish I had a mute button some day. I think you hung out with Socrates in the pre-mortal life. You certainly have perfected the Socratic method of learning. I have no doubt that you will make your life a habit of life-long learning due to your inquisitive nature: You ask about the meaning of every third or fourth word every time we read scriptures; you quiz me non-stop about blinking lights, the mechanics of the refrigerator and the distance to the moon. You are so friendly and gregarious and outgoing. I am so confident of your potential son. I know you are capable of just about anything if we can polish your rough edges and channel your energy. You are smart and charismatic and have an unlimited amount of energy that somehow still surprises me every single day. You are such a good brother to Tate and I love watching you make him laugh; you love doing anything that will make him laugh and that makes me happy. I love you so much and I am so proud of all of the good things you are doing. I honestly can’t wait to see what you are going to do with your life; if the surprises I get on a day to day basis are an indication of the pattern your life will take going forward, we are all in for a wild ride. And I am excited. I love you buddy, happy birthday my big five year old.

Tate: From the day you were born, I knew you were made mostly of sugary-sweet something, which was a fitting personality for a kid who weighed nearly 30 pounds at 6 months. I didn’t know quite how much your environmental surroundings (ie, aforementioned sibling) would influence your capacity for persistent destruction; but at the end of the day, you are still my sweet snuggly boy at whom I just can’t help smiling- even when you are standing in front spilled milk, dumped with skilled precision through my wooden bench, covering every square inch of the puzzles and dripping nicely in a long line onto the carpet. That happened on Saturday. You melt my heart Tate. I don’t know whether it is because I can so easily predict your daily reactions or meltdowns or whether I see a little bit of myself in you. If Eli was sent to help me overcome my weaknesses, I think you were sent to soften my heart and make me laugh and smile while I am trying to do that. You are such a good little talker/rambler. You are sensitive and predictable. And even though you like to erupt in screaming fits after I ask you to do something like put your truck down or share a toy, you always do it. Sometimes, if I am in a particularly mean mood, I will tell you to do something just to see you be implicitly obedient and then freak out! I shouldn’t do that…but it is way funny. Something that we seriously need to discuss though? You climbing into my bed every night about 2am! You have outsmarted me completely. At first you used to walk in and proclaim, “Hi mom!” But you figured out quickly that that landed you right back in your bed. So now, you stealthily climb up at the bottom of the bed and creep in as quietly as possible. It is not until a few hours later when you are magnetically attached to my back that I realize you are even there. You little stinker. And then it is really funny if I ask you if you are supposed to sleep in my bed, always replying no with a wicked snicker. I love that you love me Tate. I love that you always want a hug, that you tell me how important it is to be nice to friends—“no hitting, no biting, be soft,” and that you get so passionate/crazy about the food you want or toys you want to play with. Your diggers and tractors have a tremendously good best friend in you my little buddy. And so does your brother. I am so happy that I am your mom. I love you buddy, happy birthday my big two year old.