Dearest firstborn son of mine,
Let me tell you something about your mommy. I have a trait that I hope you don’t inherit. I’m a tad insecure, about a lot of things. I hate to be left of out secrets, or events, or anything, really.
Which is why I’ll admit that I’m posting your annual birthday letter an entire day late.
See, on Monday, which was your actual birthday, I decided to post my contribution to the Christmas Tour of Homes (ala The Nester), because, well, that’s what all the cool kids were doing, and, well, Mommy wanted to play, too.
Hangs head in shame. I know, I know. I have issues.
The worst part of this whole cockamamie plan of mine is that I didn’t even get my ‘09 CTOH post up and running. (And not for lack of trying….it’s just been that kind of day).
But I do love you enough to want you to have your fair share in the spotlight, so your birthday post will be up all day Tuesday and all day Wednesday. (Who loves ya, baby?)
So, without further introspection into my insecurities, let’s talk about you.
You are surefooted.
On the day of your first birthday, you took your first official steps. You began to walk, and you have never looked back.
We have felt so blessed that you have never really taken a dangerous stumble or spill. A skinned knee here and there, but no broken bones, no chipped teeth, no forehead gashes. You are quick and steady on your feet, and I hope that remains true as you continue to grow.
I pray that you will allow the Lord to guide your steps so that you always walk in a manner than is pleasing to Him.
You are MY Softie
When we moved to Nashville, we began traveling back and forth, almost monthly, between Tennessee and Ohio. To ease the long hours of travel, and to help you transition among all the different cribs, we introduced you to a specific blue crocheted blanket – and somehow, I began calling it “Softie.” You never became overly attached to it, but it did bring you comfort.
You, dear boy, are Mommy’s “softie.” You are my go-to “lovey” when I need a little extra TLC; when I need something sweet and soft and familiar to hold on to; when I need to have a tangible reminder of the comforts of being your mommy.
So, here’s to you, Seth. As humbled as I am by the first-trimester-of-pregnancy weariness that is written all over my face in this photo, it is one of my favorites of you. How thankful I am, that as you cruised your way into toddlerhood, you still always make allowances to cuddle with me.
You are observant.
As spring came, you, too, turned a new leaf. Daddy and I began to notice that you could recognize things that we didn’t realize you’d even paid attention to. You knew we had to pass fields of cows to get to our house; you knew that the garbage truck took away the trash. You began to bow your head for dinner prayer, before we even made a point to “teach” you to do so.
It was a constant reminded that your little eyes are always watching, and your little ears are always listening. You have taught me to speak sweetly, to be patient, and to talk to you as if you understand everything I’m telling you. I love that you are just soaking up all the information and discoveries that are flooding your way. Keep watching, baby. Big things are in store for you.
You are laidback (like your daddy!)
You proved to us this year that you can roll with the punches with the best of them. You adjusted (fairly) well to our new home in Tennessee; you hardly seemed to notice the monthly back-and-forth we kept up between Nashville and Toledo. You welcomed without question when we entertained house guests. During the course of our break-in in April, you were a delight to the friends and neighbors that unexpectedly had you in their homes for play dates and sleepovers. We would explain to you, even at only 16 months old, what was going on around you, and more often than not, you’d just smile and say, “Okay, Mama.”
Seth, trust me. Mommy is Type-A and high strung enough for ALL of us. Keep your sweet, affable manners. I hope you always find the best in every situation, and look for the best in every person. I pray that you grow up to be like your daddy in this regard – that you are secure in who you are and where you are going, and that you choose to embrace the curve balls that life will throw at you.
You are obedient.
When we went to Florida in May to visit Nonna and Papa, I wasn’t sure how you would do in a brand new environment – one with pets, and lakes, and lever door handles that you could easily open. I didn’t know how I’d keep up with you in the busiest of airports. I didn’t know if you KNEW to listen and obey.
But you did, and you still do. I love that you seem to know that we only want the best for you, and the things that we say “no” to are only for your benefit and protection.
Thank you for being such an obedient little boy. I love that I know I can trust you to listen (almost always!) and that your heart is tender to the teaching and instruction of your parents. We really do only want what is God’s BEST for you!
You are learning your heritage.
Whether is it riding tractors with Grandpa, learning to say “thank you” in Russian from Gramp-e, or devouring plates of pasta at your great-grandparents’ house (using the very utensils that your mommy used to!), you are slowly becoming a hard-working, culturally diverse, “Italian stallion” (as Miss Sara used to call you).
As I explained in last year’s birthday letter, your name was chosen specifically for you to know your place in this family, in this world, in this specific period of time. You are already doing us proud, Seth James. We love you.
You are teaching mommy, all the time.
This one is simple. You find JOY abundant in the simplest of things. You are happy with a piece of paper and a pen, an empty box, a kitchen cabinet. You don’t need bells and whistles, or sterling silver, or a Hummer. You just need shelter, food, and love. And isn’t that all any of us need?
Thank you for keepin’ it real for us, Seth. You are wise beyond your two years.
You are coming into your own.
The year of the TRAIN.
Who knew, Seth? Who knew the depth of your love affair with all things “mommass”? (read:Thomas) You know what you love, and you love it with all your might. Stay this passionate, son. That determination and vigor will serve you well.
You are so helpful.
Who knew? You like nothing more than to help Mommy. You carry laundry to the hamper, unload the dryer, help load the dishwasher, pick up your toys, vacuum, dust, and sweep. And we’ve started to see your budding talent as sous chef in the kitchen. You are a master pasta sauce stirrer, and you make a mean salad. You can mix cookie dough and cake batter with the best of them, and you’re even getting pretty good at properly cracking an egg!
You are open to new things.
You amaze us with your willing attitude and flexible spirit. Rarely do we present you with a new toy, food, or opportunity that you do not tackle full speed ahead. Who knew that showing you a crib of dried corn would become so monumental? Playing in all that maize, you’d just grin and say “corn!” (in the cutest-ever little Irish brogue that makes us breathless with laughter). Watching you learn what you love has been a huge blessing to us – even if it has surprised us at times. (Really, Seth? You like mustard on your hotdogs?)
I pray that you will stay as open-minded to new things as you grow. May we teach you in such a way that you feel equipped to make wise choices and form wise opinions about all that you are presented with.
You need me less and less each day.
And yes, as bittersweet as that is to say, it is a good thing. I love watching your independence grow. I love to see you try new things; to figure out how things work; to strive to master new-to-you tasks like buttoning shirts, going potty in the bathroom, and unlocking doors.
And don’t even get me started on your love affair with The Bike. =) Patience, little one. You’ll be cruising away from me down the drive soon enough.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Seth James. You are my life’s joy, and I am blessed among women to be your mother.
All my love, Roni-man,