I can still hear your first scream, imagine your sweet newborn face, and smell your newborn smell. But you are now two. You are learning to talk, look like a boy, and smell like adventure. You like trucks, sticks, mud, water, and airplanes. You are loud, you throw back your head confidently when you drink from your sippy cup, you refuse assistance, and you throw a ball like a champ.
You are all boy.
You are sweet too. You love your mama, ask everyone around you--"You okay?," love your family, and like to help. This year we gave you my favorite thing we’ll ever give you—a sibling. A brother, Bennett. You adore Bennett. Your dad jokes that if we need to punish you, we should just take Bennett away. You pet him, you kiss him when you’ll kiss no one else, you make him laugh hysterically, you give him toys and animals, you feed him bottles, and you insist on doing all of this on your own.
You are also bad. You learned how to say “mine,” take things that aren’t yours, and throw tantrums. You step right up to a line and your press your toe on it while you look around grinning. Yaya and Bapa say that's how I was, and there's something in me that makes me giggle at your badness.
You have an iron will. You’ll hear stories your whole life, but know that your dad and I believe you will be a leader. You will learn discipline, self-control, and patience, and you will become a courageous, confident man who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with your God. That is my prayer for that badness. Because I know our God—and He takes bad and makes it so, so good.
You are obsessed with playing with your dad. When he walks in the door from work, you refuse to hug him but you yell something that sounds like, “Dada—chechu!” (Translation: “Dada—get you”) which means that you’d like him to chase you around the house telling you he’s going to get you. Before he answers or even has time to kiss me hello, with a mischievous grin--you run away confidently because you know your daddy will chase you.
You are confident your daddy will chase you.
I love that. I love that he’ll help you understand how your other Daddy chases you.
The act of parenting is utterly changing my soul. It is not a sudden thing, but it is a process that I feel begun the day you were born. With all the fun comes nights of anxiety, fears over doing this whole thing “right,” and exhaustion because I know I never will. Leaning into Jesus has taken on an entirely new meaning. It is not just a path nor help that I need. I once heard that we are like caterpillars in a ring of fire--the only way out is from above. I think that sums it up well.
Your dad and I are working hard to learn how to honor your personality, nurture your gifts, and give you the boundaries that you crave. We want your heart changed, not just your actions. And we want our hearts changed too.
I adore you and there is nothing you could do to take that away, Braden Matthew!
I love you,