Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Letter to (Four Year and Two Month Old) Graves

Dear Graves,

I'm still a little behind on these, so I'm picking up shortly after we moved home.

It's been a real adventure getting back adjusted to life here, but overall you and Annie are such flexible little adventurers and make it a joy. 

We had new wood floors put in and the day we had the floors done, Papa and I shoved y'all outside around ten when the floor guys got here and there was really nowhere for y'all to be and you guys stayed out there, without complaint, until that evening. Ten or so consecutive hours with only potty breaks for Annie (youused a tree because otherwise what's the point of having a backyard?). I've told a lot of people this, but I want you and Annie to know it, too- I don't ask God for signs much but I also do try to seek Him in the every day. It may seem trivial or like I'm reaching, but ten consecutive hours seemed like the magic number confirmation I needed that this is home for right now. That doesn't mean I haven't still had hard days or miss Brooklyn, but as usual, the Lord used you guys to show me something important. 

Also, y'alls new favorite thing is eating meals in their fort. An easy yes that makes the no's more tolerable.

That said, reprogramming your super attached second child to have "rest time" after a month of not be unconnected to at least one family member is Hell. Here's how the first day of it went down: 

You: "Can we please just TAAAALK ABOOOUUUT ITTTT?" 
Me: We've done that for twenty minutes" 
You (well, and me) "My head huuuurts" 
Me: "That's because you're crying so hard, darling. Let's get a wet cloth (and a stiff drink)" 
You: "I want my CROOOOOCS and a banana" 
Me: "Of course you can wear outdoor shoes inside your sleeping bag for a special treat (and anything else you want if you'll stop sobbing) but lunch is over (oh wait, nevermind, I actually do still have a few guidelines and a *slightly* stronger will that yours)" 

I TOTALLY realize that this is the bed I made. But giving you and your sister a fifteen month experience very few people have was worth the insanely chaotic month that moving back has required of all of us.

At one point, shortly after we moved back, you got a little sick. You kept complaining about a headache and were so pitiful and slept a ton. You also had a pretty high fever. Luckily, it only lasted about twenty four hours. 

Also, we haven't gotten to go as much as we've wanted but we joined Briarwood swimming pool (the pool where Papa and I met) after about ten years away for Papa and me and we're loving that. The first time we went, though, you were struggling when we got back home. You skipped your lunch and screamed for half an our because you wanted to wear pajama PANTS I had put up for Summer. I tried to talk you through it Annie style but you weren't having it. Finally I just let you sob in my arms and you passed out. Pool will do it to you, man!

You are hysterical and I love hearing your little thoughts. Instead of having an imaginary friend, you has an imaginary baby (you LOVE babies). His name is Avocado (with a long A). You saw a picture of a friend's baby on Facebook recently and said "Oh! That's how old Avocado is!!!"

We went to brunch with an old friend and you told him "We're from New York". We thought that was hysterical. Also, I must be from New York because I just called going to Chick Fil A at 9 AM "brunch". I'll have a momisa with that chicken biscuit, please.

One of my favorite things right now is when you mutters "Oh dear". I feel like I'm living in the Hundred Acre Wood.

I love your interactions with all of us. Annie, tired of you spraying her with the garden hose, told me recently: "I figured something out to distract him. I just give him something to clean". [And then she throws a plastic shovel across the yard like she's tossing a ball for a dog to fetch. And you run over and spray it with the hose for two or three minutes.]

You recently asked me "Why can't Papa come to Mickey and Minnie's tonight? He doesn't need any more money". And that, sweet boy, is why every sacrifice for early retirement is worth it. [You guys teach me alot about my priorities.]

You're pretty smart and you're learning all kinds of things these days. A few weeks ago we were in the kitchen and you asked me for the "Kroger thing". After a minute, I figured you wanted the receipt. You saw the logo and identified it. Early literacy people will recognize this pre-reading skill as noticing environmental print. I'm not surprised you recognized it; I'm surprised my Busy Bud noticed it at all. I remember distinctly your sister'a first time to identify some environmental print. I love celebrating milestones a second time around! 

I will say, though, that  you still haven't developed a healthy fear of the water and you wear a floatie to fish from a boat on dry land at Mickey and Minnie's house. We have to be CAREFUL with you at the pool. 

You have a little musical you've created called "How Magic". You go to the piano and play tunes from it, randomly tells us about a scene every once in awhile, and sometimes you and AP go in your room "watching" it.

I painted your toenails last month. I had planned to take it off you before the pool and certainly before church. But I decided if I'm going to make this work and going to have any real sense of happiness here, I'm going to have to live like I did in Brooklyn. And I'm almost positive I wouldn't have taken it off there. Not because I thought people would think it was some grand statement on gender identity that they agreed with. Actually, precisely because I don't think most people would see it that way. I think most- strangers and our friends alike- would see a little boy who loves vivid colors, who adores his sister and shares everything with her, and who lives unaware of a world plagued by artificial gender expectations. And that's all. They wouldn't make assumptions about what it says about my opinions or values regarding anything else. And maybe that's the case here. I'm going to try to live fearlessly like I would there and when confronted by differences of opinion engage gracefully. But that's scary. I'm thankful for YOU because you push me to do it. 

Several weeks ago, I made this list of things I would like to remember about you from June 1, 2015 (he is six weeks into being four years old):
- We went over to my parents' house for supper. Mickey was texting his tech and also a little out of sorts because their dog had been sick and had to go to the vet. Upon leaving you told him "Sorry you wasted all your time, Mickey". (As in, sorry you wasted all your time and didn't get to hang out with your Bud.)
- You also took Minnie's hand and said "You have the best treats. Thank you for those treats, Minnie" while vigorously shaking her hand the whole time, politician style.
- On the way home you told me "Minnie is so special to me. I love when she plays with us and she's so beautiful".
The Lord uses you ALOT in my life. Lately he has used you to whisper little reminders that we are right where we need to be.

You are so special to me and I'm so grateful for you.

Momma (and Papa)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I must say that I LOVE having a four year old little boy! What a joyful time! Graves and Henry would get along great!