Thursday, May 15, 2014
Long before you were born, I was a mama to your cousins Canaan, Cameron, Connor, and Cody. When Canaan was barely five, we had been going between two churches. Our real church was an hour away, and so we often went to a closer church just because it was easier. One Sunday close to Christmas, we dropped Canaan off at Sunday School dressed in khaki pants and a long sleeved blue and white striped t-shirt. I only remember what he was wearing because of what came next. I walked into the church sanctuary, found my place, and took my seat. Just then, a stream of children dressed in red and black holiday attire walked into the front of the church and took their places on stage for what seemed to be a Christmas program. Frilly, glittery dresses and handsome little ties on the boys. Shiny shoes and big hair bows. And in the midst of them, there was Canaan, sticking out like a blue and white striped sore thumb. I instantly felt sick to my stomach.
Does he know the songs?
Is he afraid?
Why on earth didn't I know about this?
And so I did what any mama would do. I rescued him. Or maybe I rescued me. I had someone go up onto the stage and get him for me. When he met me out in the hallway, he began to cry. He did know the songs. He had practiced them with the class over the last weeks that he had been in attendance. Somehow, I had missed the memo on the whole thing, and he wasn't dressed appropriately. But the program had started, and he was missing it. So he cried. And I cried. Because I had failed him. It wasn't the first time, but it was probably the most memorable.
Three days after you were born, your mama had a meltdown. I was scared that I wouldn't be able to take care of you. I loved you and wanted you to have a perfect, pain-free life. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to give it to you. And so I cried. A lot. And I wondered what was wrong with me. (It was mostly hormones, and you will fully learn about those when you grow up and have a wife). I was so upset, I asked the nurses to take you to the nursery. I was convinced that you would hear my crying and be upset by it. So I wanted to shield you from the madness. Later that evening, I was feeling better, working my way toward being calm, and I decided to go for a little walk down the halls of labor and delivery, making a little stop by the nursery to see you. When I did, I realized that you were the only baby in the nursery. You were all alone in the middle of an empty room, resting quietly in your tiny plastic bed, my little baby burrito. The nurse was on the side of the room doing paperwork, clearly not realizing that you were the sweetest newborn on the floor and deserved full attention. I just knew you felt unloved and wondered where I was. And so I cried some more. I felt like I had failed you, leaving you in that nursery with no one to give you the kind of attention that a brand new baby deserves. And so it began with you. My life of parenting imperfectly.
You are now almost five months old. This is your four month letter. Your three month letter got lost in my head amidst packing and moving and never made it to paper. Or screen, however you look at it. And I have made so many mistakes already. I have accidentally dropped my cell phone on your head. I have not heard you cry at times, and you may have wondered where on earth I was. There are more mistakes on the way. I am sure of it. I am human. I hope will forgive me for them and love me anyway. I love you, buddy. And every day I will pray that God will work in me and live through me so that you grow up knowing that He is good even when I am not. Here's to lots of mistakes and lots of grace.
P.S. One of my favorite books is by Judith Viorst, and when you are old enough to not be freaked out by it, I will read it to you. It's about a little boy whose mama tells him that there aren't monsters all around, but he isn't sure if he should believe her because sometimes mamas make mistakes. And they do.
P.P.S. There are no such things as monsters.
Here is your three month picture, since I missed the letter. You are pretty cute.