Dearest J. Bug,
Three years ago today we met one of the most wonderful gifts God has ever given us. Your Daddy and I spent many, many months praying for you before that moment, and we were so eager to see you, to hold you, to smell you, to know you. Amazingly, we had absolutely no idea what we were in store for.
Sweet Bug. You have become my little friend. Your eyes light up when you make me laugh (which is often), and I spend the good part of my day talking to you. The moments I’ll treasure forever with you are when your little bootie is scootched next to mine, and you fit perfectly in the crook of my arm. Sometimes I just stare at you – at your sweet profile – and soak in the wonder and awe in your eyes about the world around you.
There are some things we suspected about your personality even during my pregnancy that – after three years – we’re seeing realized on a daily basis. In full disclosure, I think you get most of these personality traits from me. So…you’re welcome and I’m sorry.
You are strong willed. I would say stubborn, but I happen to know how much it irks me when I’m called stubborn (probably because I’m stubborn), so we’ll call it strong willed. If you set your mind to something, you do it. If you set your mind against something, you don’t do it. It really is that simple. From personal experience, I’ll tell you that this trait can keep you out of a lot of trouble and can help you accomplish amazing feats. The flip side of it though, can be an unfair level of guilt or shame from not accomplishing something you set out to do. I can already see this trend developing in your life, so I want you to know (oh, how I want you to know!) that I am proud of you. Not for what you do or don’t do, but for who you are.
You are spunky. My goodness, are you spunky. You don’t really have an “off” switch. You live your life full-throttle, which means you run everywhere you go, you speak as loudly as I’ll let you get away with, and you feel the need to explore every object you see. And by “explore,” I of course mean climb, jump, throw, or push. You yell random non-sense words all the time, and at any given moment you’re climbing furniture, or jumping over your brother, or spinning in circles, or running full tilt until you literally run into the wall. Honey, strangers get tired when they watch you. Your Daddy and I joke that you’re kind of like having a Labrador Retriever. We have to make sure we “run you,” and give you lots of time to be physically active. If not, you’ll start chewing our shoes.
You are smart. You love learning and soak up new information like a sponge. Your teachers love to tell me about how you surprise them on a daily basis with something you know. You also love teaching, which is sweet to watch. You’re so patient with your brother, and you really enjoy teaching him sign language, animal sounds, and how to push the walker over the bumps on the floor thresholds. You even hold up your flashcards for him and ask him what the shapes, colors, or letters are. He doesn’t have a clue, but you’re very affirming and usually say something like, “Yeah, Co-Co Bear! That a twiangle!”
You are tender hearted. I have to be very careful when I’m talking to you to make sure my tone is firm rather than harsh. I’ve literally watched your spirit crumble when I’ve spoken harshly to you in frustration, and that’s a sight I never want to see again. Our approval means so much to you, and it breaks your heart when you don’t think you have it.
You are older than your years. I guess you could say you have an old soul, but you also have such sweet innocence and boundless energy. Nonetheless, Daddy and I find ourselves talking to you sometimes as if you’re a ten year old. Your teacher told me one time that she never has to worry about talking over your head, and that you respond best when she talks to you like an adult. You’re not confused by big words, complex ideas, or over-explanations. In fact, I think you may just thrive on it.
You are loved. Oh boy, are you loved. I love everything about you, Bug. I couldn’t possibly love you more and I wouldn’t possibly love you less – no matter what you do or don’t do. I love seeing you smile and watching your eyes light up. I love when you so excitedly want to tell me something. I love how your little hand fits so perfectly in mine. I love how grown up you look when Daddy fixes your hair for school. I love watching you process the world around you. I love you.
I love you.
And as much as I love you, there is Someone whose Love is even deeper, more perfect, and more selfless. He knows every hair on that blonde head of yours, He knows the exact shade of blue of your eyes, He knows your most secret fears and thoughts. He created you with careful precision, Bug. And when I think about how privileged I am to watch His plan unfold in your life, my face busts out in a grin.
Man. You’re a great kid, Bug. Happy 3rd Birthday, sweetheart. I love you.