I have been wanting to write you a love letter for a long time now. 18 months more or less. Since the day I met you to be exact.
The first thing I did was count your toes and fingers. Then I kissed you, still new, still wet, still scrunched and red and purple. Oh how I loved you in that instant. Irrevocably. Utterly. The very first thing you ever felt in this world was me; my skin, my beating heart beneath it. We looked at each other for forever. You were content in that moment, and in this world still you are content; filled with laughter and delight.
Now you arrive in my room in the morning with your hair invariably tousled and softer than corn silk, your face radiant with smiles. I lift you into bed, and while your big brother is dressing himself in some outfit involving numerous Hawaiian prints or plaids, you lie with your head resting on my chest, and hum a little song. We begin nearly every morning like this, and you smell like heaven.
Next you climb up the mountain of pillows to look out the window at the world below us; at the dawn becoming day; the purple mountains; at the sky spreading with early morning light. Often when your brother comes to snuggle in, you join him, pressing your cheek against his cheek, grinning, cooing. How lucky he is to have you, spilling with affection, as the one who adores him above all else in the world.
I’ve been wanting to tell you a hundred things, wanting to snatch a moment to write them down, and here are some: you play with balls with sheer delight: tossing and catching as though sport is a thing you came into this world knowing. You lift up your shirt and point to your tummy to be tickled. When someone hands you a doll or stuffed animal you hug it instinctively, and carry it around tenderly, rocking it in your arms.
You play peek-a-boo, hide and seek, and a hundred other games of your invention with your brother or by yourself, contentment surrounding you like a halo of bees around the sweetest honey. You stack blocks, and jump from precariously high places with more ease than I ever imagine is possible for someone your size. You are coordinated and physically adept. You climb both up and down our steep staircase; you sit at the stools by the kitchen counter without assistance; you drink your milk or water only from a glass (refusing sippy cups entirely.)
You eat independently and willingly: tomatoes, chicken, corn on the cob, tuna, PBJs, Indian curry, peaches, anything. You love cookies, fig bars, milk, berries. When you are eating something and you discover something you’d like to be eating more—you simply remove whatever is currently in your mouth and hand it off to me. Thanks little dude.
You cannot help but smile. You smile at everything, always. You have begun to say words: mama, daddy, mooah (more), ba (ball), wa wa (water), no, oh nooo!, uh oh, uh-uh (what we say to you when you are doing something you should not be), papa (your grandfather), nona (grandmother), though words have come slower to you than they did to your brother, just as drawing isn’t something you are naturally drawn to: you want to eat the crayons or paint your hands with markers instead.
You have the best giggle in the world. You sleep, easily, effortlessly.. This was something I never wanted to write about because I feared jinxing it; feared that it would change; but no, it’s just who you are. We put you in your crib for a nap or at bedtime and you simply go to sleep, humming to yourself softly. You sleep for two or three hours back to back. You are easy going in every way: even teething only results in a fuss here or there, and you only cry if you are hurt or if your brother takes a toy away from you. Really. You hardly ever cry. Mostly you laugh. You smile. You climb onto your red radio flyer wagon and stand—not holding on—and surf back and forth and grin with glee.
I guess the truth is I expected you to be like your brother, who was all intensity from the minute he was born. (This morning when he came in to snuggle with us after dressing he was already talking, telling me about how to tie different kinds of knots. He’d pause every so often to visualize, then gesture with his slender hands and he described the images in his head. And this is what he was always like. Intense, articulate thought. He squirmed, wiggled, fought sleep. He cried often, and still to this day gets upset more easily than you. My sweet firstborn: so thin skinned and aware of the world.) I guess I couldn’t fathom that you could be so entirely different, so entirely your own little self from the get-go. But you are, oh you are.
And you blessing. I love you so. I love you, I love you, I love you.