Those are your ages right now. You’ll never be as little as you are now, and no matter how I wish it was so – I can’t go back to relive our moments and memories and time together.
And that’s why I take pictures and write about you. So that I can go back and visit you, just as little as you were then and are now, from time to time. The things you do, the funny things you say, your favorites, our experiences, my emotions through the seasons…those are all things I tell myself I’ll remember forever. But what I’ve found is that if I don’t capture them and write them down, I don’t. Just like the time itself, the memories slip away as new ones are made.
And so I write to you, for you, for me. For us. Because who we are now is so very different than who we were in the beginning when you were all tiny with broken speech and wobbly steps.
John, right now you are seven. You are big. And I mean that in the most basic sense. Your skinny little 5 year old self has filled out into a big boy I struggle to lift “just to see if I’m still strong enough to hold you.” You think its funny, but really, I just do it to get to hold you. When will the last time be? I wonder. When will the day come that I truly can’t lift you anymore? Soon…probably. Because you’re tall like your Dad and solid like me. You want to be a fisherman. Every night you thank God for all the different kinds of fish, and for making humans. Your simple little prayer of thanks is truth spoken straight into my weary ears on nights when I need it. You love to play baseball, and when your Dad, Papa, and I step onto the field – you call us each “coach.” Because you’re a rule follower and you love structure and order. I pray God strengthens those core characteristics he gave you (even though they make you different from me) so that you may never be led to feel flawed or in need of conforming to others standards. We are alike in a way, we are both very, very strong-willed. I know that about you because you are my son – and I know how to handle it because I am that way too. Your Omi, my Mom, always said that my stubbornness would serve me well one day. She is right, it has served me because I am your Mom. I love you so much John, my first child. The one who inspired me to go against the grain and mother intuitively. The one who tiptoed out into the living room in the wee hours of this morning, before anyone else was awake, to cuddle up beside his momma and read quietly – the Giant Creatures of Africa as I read my bible. I pulled you close and looked you in the eyes, I told you I had a secret. You said: “What is it?” I said: “The world belongs to those who read.” Your eyes were wide, you nodded your head, and you kept reading. You’ll remember this, I know you will. You remember everything, and I can always tell by your eyes when something I say sticks. Like a few months ago when I told you to save your money and give 10% to God. You haven’t forgotten. I love you, John.
Vivi, tiny princess, Vivi Jane, Viv. My girl. I ask you sometimes: “Are you momma’s girl?” And every time, since you were old enough to understand, you give a quick little nod. We knew you were different the moment you were born. You didn’t cry and had the most interesting look on your face. I pulled you to my chest to nurse you and shooed the staff away. You just latched on and locked eyes with me, silently. We looked at each other for a very long time, and it was as if we had always been together and knew each other deeply. You’re five now. And you’re still so very interesting. I think, maybe you could be a Seven like me? You’re most animated and alive inside of your own imagination and can make an entire world out of thin air. Boredom is unknown to you, sweet girl. You love to brush my hair, and you have very sticky fingers. It’s not at all uncommon to find little trinkets tucked away in hidden spaces in your room. Whether its an earring of mine, my concealer, or a receipt out of my wallet – you’re never short on borrowed treasures. Last week, you forgot my “other name.” I made you guess, and you said “Is it Ayla?” When I reminded you that my name is Stephanie, we both laughed. You change clothes on average 5-6 times a day and your room is an utter disaster. You have the most amazing relationship with your Daddy, and I pray so hard that you two continue to show love for each other and that you never seek fulfillment in men, but know that your fathers love you so, so much – both in Heaven and Earthside. You found a hobby – making potions out of my essential oils. You made one for Omi, and for G.G. and you’ve even sold a few too. Yes, I think you are a Seven, like me – but perhaps more whimsical. I love you, Vivi Jane. “Two are better than one, they can help each other.” That’s our thing. I won’t ever forget.
Hanky baby. Henry Scott, my baby. You’re three now. How is that so? I call you shorty, but you’re getting tall. We don’t go to the doctor and don’t have a scale, so I’m not sure if you’re tall for your age or not. But I think you are. Like your Dad. You’re skinny like him too. Maybe you’ll fill out, like me. But right now, I can still scoop you up into a cradle hold that fills my mother’s heart. You’ve still got baby in you. You are the most loving little child. You tell me all the time: “I love you so much” and “you are the best Mommy.” You love to wrestle with your brother and play “home living” with your sister. Last week, I got two area rugs for the living room and layered them. The one on top is very soft. When I rolled it out, and your eyes lit up. You said: “John, Mom got us a wrestling mat!!” Your favorite chicken is our Silkie, Shelfia, who you named. Your favorite goat is the littlest, Jenny. You are an animal lover through and through, you even love spiders and snakes and call them “cute.” You crawl into my bed every morning around 4, cuddle up, and go right back to sleep. I love that. When will it end? I wonder. Your favorite toys are your “charafters” (characters) In particular, batman, robin, ninja turtles, Optimus prime, and Rhino. You’re a bit like your sister in that you can get totally lost in your imagination while fighting your “guys” for hours. You are a ball of emotion, like most 3 year old humans, trying to figure out exactly who is boss in the house and how much you can get away with. My sweet child, the boss is me. You’ll learn soon enough, like your siblings did. As soft as I am – I don’t budge on boundaries. You go to school twice a week with your sister. It’s good for all of us. I enjoy long periods of silence to consider my thoughts so that I can be present when you all are home. And you all enjoy your friends at school. Right this very second, you have chocolate all over your face because you snuck into my secret ice cream in the back of the freezer. I love you, Henry Scott.
I’ll come back here to visit the us we are now – maybe in a month, or a year, or when you’re grown. I love you all.