The past month has flown by, and I find myself with only FOUR pictures to work with for this update. It's been a crazy whirlwind of stress, hospitalization, and recovery, but through it all, you are and continue to be a shining light. Not having pictures doesn't mean I don't have stories, memories, and moments to share.
You continue to have a remarkably enormous, hilarious, engaging personality. For the first few months of your life we wondered how you would ever hold your own against the Mighty Maddie that is your big sister. We had NO idea what we were in for: stubborn, opinionated, feisty, sneaky, funny, sweet, talkative, joyful, hilarious, comedic, expressive, adventurous YOU. There will be absolutely no problems for you navigating the world of your sister's personality. It is your Daddy and I who need the prayers as we learn by trial and error how to parent, accommodate and adjust to two big personalities under the same roof.
In addition to having a great personality, you have an incredible imagination. You wake up, pick out your own clothes, practically get yourself dressed, and then proceed to change outfits approximately 10.2 times a day to accommodate your different characters. We might be watching Mike the Knight on Disney Jr. when you decide to rip of your jeans and t-shirt and disappear upstairs, only to come down three minutes later covered in plastic armor, head to toe, asking about your "knight man sword." Then there's "Hee-Haw Man," your famous cowboy alter-ego. You dress up like a fireman and speak in a funny, deep, resonant voice like you're holding a walkie-talkie. By the end of each day, there are shirts, pants, shoes, sweatshirts and dress up clothes littering the floor of your bedroom and scattered around the house. By bedtime, you and your sister have often stripped down to diapers and undies and are running around, beating your chests (Tarzan) or crawling on the floor (babies). With each new persona, a new voice or accent, a new outfit.
Just last night your Daddy was telling me that one of his favorite moments of the day is when you first wake up. We hear the door of your bedroom jerk wide and slam open, then you crash into and through our bedroom door like a wild rhino, run pitter-pat across our floor, climb on our bed, limbs akimbo and with the weight of a thousand toddlers, before wiggling and jiggling your body under the covers, pulling them up to your chin, then promptly falling back asleep between us. It humors us to no end that you can make such a ruckus and then fall right to sleep in the middle of our bed. We're both wide awake and you're lying there, breathing deep and regular, snuggled in close.
By the time your sister joins us, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a half hour later, you might continue snoozing away, or you might whisper loudly, "Down down down! Watch show!" You also might growl at the intrusion of another bedfellow, snuggle further under the covers, and hide from the day. It never fails to crack us up. I love to feel your warm, soft-skinned, muscular little body tucked into my side, feet sneaking around for a spot to tuck in, your little hands rubbing my arms, your puckered up lips seeking a place to kiss. You are SUCH a snuggle bug and I hope you always will be.
It was not an easy month for you. When I came home from the hospital you refused to let go of me at the end of each day. At bedtime I would lay with you and Maddie, singing with a whisper of my usual voice, throat scratchy and breathless. The two of you would hold on to me like newborn monkeys, equal parts affection and desperation. I would linger long after your breathing became regular, past the time your arms loosened and your fingers stopped grasping, sneaking away. If I tried any sooner, you'd wake up frantic, scrambling for my body, touching my skin, calling out "Mama, no go! Stay me! Night-night me!" My heart would wrench in my chest and I would lay back down, wrap you up in my arms, and whisper, "Mama's here. I'm not leaving. I'll stay until you're asleep. I'll be here in the morning."
This continued for many days, until you eventually started to believe I would stay. Then you'd kiss and hug me thirteen or fourteen times before pushing me away, snuggling down and yelling, "Night-night Mama!" The few days of adjusting were well worth the long, drawn-out bedtime routines and clinging snuggles.
Being home again has brought such a fresh, new perspective. All of you and your sister's quirks, naughtiness and misbehavior is still present; some of it is greatly exacerbated by the stressful, strange month we've had. Yet being away, being so sick, forced to be absent from the family I love so much--it changed things. I'm not sure if it's the meds I'm on or the love of Christ that has blossomed so huge in my heart, but all those little things--they don't get to me. The behaviors that would normally overwhelm me and cause me to stress and worry don't stick with me like they did. And all the things I love about you? They are shining as if lit by the sun, huge and impressive, like I'm seeing more clearly the essence of who you are and appreciating more deeply the uniqueness with which you grace our world.
And every day, I giggle with delight at the joy you are. Thanks for being my very best boy, Sam Sam.