Friday, October 07, 2005

To J on his 6 month birthday

My darling baby boy,

I can't believe you are 6 months old already. It's been over 13 months since Mommy and Daddy first got the news that they were going to have a baby. Oh, how happy we were! Mommy wept with joy and phoned Grandma and Auntie Jan right away to tell them. She didn't even care that it was so very early in the morning and she would be waking them up. We were just so excited that we couldn't wait to share our wonderful news! Grandma and Auntie Jan didn't mind having their sleep disturbed. They were just so happy to learn that you were going to be born. There was so much joy and anticipation!

We were going to wait until after the first trimester to tell everybody else about you, but Grannie was going on a trip, so Mommy and Daddy decided that she needed to know about you right away. I remember how we took her out for pizza. When we were sitting down, we presented Grannie with a fridge magnet that read "God couldn't be everywhere, so he made grandmas". Grannie thought we were talking about your cousins down east. Even when Daddy said "You are going to be a grandma again", she didn't pick up on it. Oh, how we laughed when the waitress realized what we were saying and offered her congratulations before Grannie! But once she realized that you were coming into the world, Grannie was happy as could be. She just couldn't contain her joy.

Mommy and Daddy realized right then that their precious secret would not be kept for long. We had to let everyone know you were coming, or someone else would. There was so much joy as each new person heard the news. I remember the big smiles we got when Mommy and Daddy grandly produced two little newborn sleeper outfits they had bought for you the day they found out, and inquired of Uncle Chris and Auntie Lisa, "If you were a baby, which would you rather wear?" Auntie Lisa ran behind the concession counter where Mommy was working to give her a big hug. Similarly, many hugs and congratulations were received at work and from friends. Grannie couldn't keep the news a secret; she was just bursting with excitement. She told Great-Aunt Juliet, and before we knew it, all your Great-Aunts and Uncles knew too. We were all so happy!

I remember it all so clearly, it just doesn't seem possible that it was over a year ago!

Mommy signed up on one of those pregnancy calendar thingies, where they email you once a week to tell you all about your baby's development so far. They kept comparing you to fruit ("This week your baby is the size of a raspberry"). Daddy went out and bought raspberry ice cream to celebrate that one. And when they said that you had little paddles for hands and feet, Daddy started calling you a platypus baby. Oh, the fun Daddy had with it when you developed webbed fingers and toes! And even though Mommy was so horribly nauseous, even right away, she couldn't believe her good fortune. Morning sickness felt like winning the lottery, Mommy felt so very lucky.

You gave Mommy and Daddy a lot of scares along the way. Daddy used to joke about it; he said that once you were born he was going to periodically sneak up on you and shout "BOO!", just to get back at you for scaring us so often. (He did scare you playing "peek-a-boo" one morning, but he assures me it was unintentional.) Mommy had a lot of ultrasounds, and long periods of bed rest, and many trips to the hospital to make sure you were still okay. In one of the earlier ultrasounds, Mommy and Daddy could see you already sucking the little stub that would become your thumb!

And then, on December 1, 2004, your placenta started to pull away, and Mommy thought she was going to lose you. I have never been so scared in my life. Two of my coworkers immediately rushed me to Emergency. Daddy met me at Emergency, and we spent the whole day there just praying for all we were worth that God would spare you and bring you into the world safely. Grandma and Grandpa and all the good people from their church prayed for you also. And their friends started praying too. So many people were praying for your safe arrival. And I guess God heard all our prayers, because here you are today. But after that episode, even more ultrasounds were needed. Here you are, being all dramatic on the morning of December 15:

Mommy thought your bone structure resembled Auntie Holly's here, and she called her to tell her so. Auntie Holly was thrilled!

Mommy spent a lot of time on bedrest. Daddy was such a strength and support through it all. He worked all day and handled everything at the house as well. And he cared for you and Mommy so very well, making meals and helping Mommy when she would get sick. Once the morning sickness left, it was replaced with horrible reflux, and Daddy would have to go downstairs many times a night to get Mommy milk to help her feel better. Eventually, Mommy and Daddy learned, and a cooler was placed by the bed so Mommy could help herself during the night.

The family all pitched in and helped as much as they could too. Daddy, Uncle Chris, Grandpa and Grandma all went to town and decorated your bedroom, and Auntie Jan planned your quilt. Mommy spent a lot of time knitting your little orange blankie that you take everywhere. She received a lot of directions from Auntie Jan, because Mommy is not the best knitter. But she is proud of the fact that she completed it all by herself and Auntie Jan did not have to finish it for you. Daddy went out on his own and bought your little bassinet that you slept in for your first four or so months. And Nana brought up your change table all the way from Calgary. We were ready, and still just hoping and praying for your safe arrival.

Then suddenly, you were here. You were early, and you were small and jaundiced, but you were here. Healthy and safe. Mommy and Daddy fell in love with you as soon as they laid eyes on you. We'd spent so much time loving you and praying for you, wanting you here, hoping you'd wait, feeling your sweet little kicks from in Mommy's tummy, reading Dr. Seuss to you. We already knew you, and it was a dream come true to hold you in our arms and know that you were okay.

Mommy loves holding you in her arms now, but a big part of her still misses feeling your little kicks in her tummy. You could knock the wind right out of her. On more than one occasion, you kicked the book she was reading off of her and onto the floor! Daddy used to come and put his hand on Mommy's tummy to feel your kicks, and he was so happy when he would feel you fluttering away in there.

You were only 5 lbs 13 oz and 19 inches long at birth. You were tongue-tied and colicky, and you didn't gain weight very quickly. You cried all the time! We spent a great deal of our budget on gasoline, driving you around to calm you. But we loved you so very much and did all we could for you. We got your tongue-tie fixed, went to the breastfeeding clinic to learn better techniques for feeding you, and started you on a healthier weight gain. We had your hearing checked when we realized that you didn't react to loud noises; we were very relieved to learn that you can hear perfectly and that you were just ignoring us, a skill we are sure will serve you well into your teen years. We took you in regularly for your immunizations and doctor's appointments, read to you, sang to you, and introduced you to the cats. We snuggled you and played with you, washed your laundry and comforted you when you were sad. We have loved every moment of it!

And now today, here you are. 6 months old! You can roll over all by yourself, and you grab and hold things (especially Monkey and your sucky-thing). You have favorite toys: your Monkey, rings, bedtime Pooh, your exersaucer. You have wonderful neck control and are trying to sit up on your own. You are getting teeth, though they haven't emerged yet. You reach for toys that you want, and you enjoy being sung to and playing peek-a-boo. You smile in your sleep when Mommy sings you "Love You Forever", and you enjoy "The Seals on the Bus" at playtime.

You weigh 14 lbs 6-1/2 oz today, and you are over 2 feet tall! You are so big now! We have had to start putting your clothes away as you outgrow them. You make noises - "Hi", "Ga" and of course, your favorite "Thbbbbt!" Today, you had your 6 month immunization. You sat on Mommy's lap and blew big raspberries at the nurse, and when you got your shots, you cried only briefly. Then Mommy cuddled you and you calmed down, like the big boy you are. Mommy was so very proud of you.

I love you so very much. I love you more than I ever thought was possible, and I want all good things for you. I pray for you every day and every night, that God will keep you safe and protect you, and that Mommy and Daddy will be given strength and wisdom in your upbringing. I wish for you to have the very best life, to be good and kind, strong of spirit and sweet-natured. To grow up to be the person you were meant to be.

We thank God every day for the tremendous gift that he gave us in you. It is Thanksgiving this weekend, my sweet little man, and a perfect time to reflect on you, the greatest gift I have ever received. I am so thankful to have you in my life. I am so very proud of you. Every new thing you do brings Mommy and Daddy such tremendous delight. You are the absolute brightest light in our lives. Your beautiful smile brings us such joy, your tears make us weep, and your many noises make us laugh.

I know that this letter is long, and I still don't think it has done you justice. I love you more than mere words can say. I would do anything for you; you are my best little friend, and I delight in you. I am so proud of the boy you are growing up to be.

I love you even when you throw up on me. Like now. And so I must end this letter and go get cleaned up now.

I would like you to always remember how very special you are, how wanted you were, and how very, very loved you are, my sweet precious angel.

Love you forever,



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