mine for three years : river

Energetic. Silly. Goofy. Funny. Sweet. Caring. Friendly. Outgoing. Talkative. Engaging. Wild. Excited. Curious. Explorer. Risk-taker. Climber. Adventurer. Creative. Dancer. Singer. Reader. Painter. Animal-lover. Fixer. Helper. Adorable. Appreciative. Empathetic. Compassionate.  

With each of these gifts of your character that come to mind when I think of you, my sweet boy, is a picture or story of that demonstrates who you are. I love every bit of who you are. Even the parts that make me crazy sometimes.

Sometimes you climb so high, I think I'm going to have a heart attack, but I am so proud of you for being brave. There are only two times I can remember seeing you really scared -- once, when a motorcycle unexpectedly revved its engine nearby, and when you went on your first roller coaster ride last month at the fair. How I wanted to scoop you up in my arms, as you cried for me! ~ You are so captured by nature, it makes my heart skip a beat and remember what it's like to be a child in the mystery that is the trees and the tall grass and the shadows and the earth. ~ Sometimes you poke your sister to see what she'll do, or you get frustrated that she plays with your toys, and you push her away. But most of the time, you are cuddling her, talking sweet to her, playing gently with her. I've always wanted my children to be best friends, and I think it's happening right before my eyes. ~ You still love bath time as much as you did when you were three days old, and you fell asleep in the warm bath as mommy swayed you back and forth in the water -- now you're three, and often, it will just occur to you at 2 or 3 in the afternoon that you really, really want to take a bath, and you'll start removing all your clothes. ~ You love to jump and run and pretend you are a super hero. You don't watch super hero shows, so I don't know you if you know what a super hero really is. But as far as you are concerned, they wear capes and masks and run really fast, and that is totally cool. ~ You love watching people break dance, and you try to break dance too. Keep trying, and someday you will. ~ You know fully the goodness of sweets now, and I fear you have my sweet tooth. Since your birthday party, you've asked for candy for breakfast every day. For the record, I've never given you candy for breakfast. ~ Sometimes you get embarrassed. Like today, at the grocery store, when you tried to push your little cart to the cashier and you fell and your cart fell and all the strawberries and blueberries tumbled out. Three people came to your rescue and the cashier offered you stickers, but you just held me and cried and cried. I felt so bad for you. ~ You still love books, and lately you've been asking me to teach you how to read. I keep telling you I have to learn how to teach you first (which means reading the introduction to the teaching manual) and then I'll teach you. Soon enough, my big kid, and you'll be reading books to me.

Two was quite a year for you. There were so many changes. Sometimes I expected too much from you, at such a tender age. Mommy was really moody, and then all of a sudden, I had another baby to love (not just you anymore) and then I was even more moody. Then we sent your little life into more of a whirlwind by selling practically everything we own and moving 2,000 miles away -- away from your best friend and a lot of your family, to a new town, where we had to explain to you that everyone else was "too far away" to visit, that they were in Texas and that we lived in Washington, now. Such a big leap! Such a huge thing to explain to a baby!

Some days were really hard, River. You went from being a tiny baby to a big boy with opinions and ideas. It took some getting used to, for both of us. But you know what happened every single day you were two? Every single day, I enjoyed being your mommy. Every single day, you made my day brighter. Every single day, I realized how bored and lonely and empty I would feel if it weren't for you.

You made me a mommy. You changed my life. You showed me a kind of love that I didn't even know existed before you came into my life. You, tiny you. I am so thankful for you.

I am thankful for the way you wake up in the morning. You've always been a morning person. So sweet and kissable and ready for the day, right away. No time to snooze! No time to waste yawning and stretching! Hop to it! It's time for breakfast... it's time to read books... Where are we going today, Mama? Can I wear my pirate shirt, Mama? Can I take a bath, Mama? To you, there are just too many wonderful things to do in a day, and you are excited to greet each day.

I am thankful for the way you care for people. Today at the park, you were playing with a little boy whose family was setting up for his birthday party, and when he had to go to time-out, you told his daddy "But it's his birfday!" Today at the mall, you took Austen's stroller from me ("I have to push my sister," you said) as I was looking at racks of shirts, and Daddy and I watched as you clumsily pushed her over to the shoes, and showed her the different pairs, and talked to her, and made her laugh. Today, at the restaurant after we ate dinner, you told me, "I had fun wif you today, Mama!" You think about how others feel, and ways to make them happy. You beam with pride when I tell you you're such a sweet brother, or thank you for helping me put the clothes in the dryer, or that it made me so happy that you were kind and polite to a stranger.

I am thankful for the way you release your energy into dancing, and how you turn everything into a song, because I love watching and listening and cheering you on! For you, the most fun thing about a trip to the mall is going from store to store to hear what kind of music they're playing, and then to start dancing around. It makes everyone laugh -- you are SUCH a ham! And sometimes, at the end of a really busy day, we'll sing a song about our day, starting from the beginning. About how we tooooook Daddy to woooorrrrkkk, and then went to the paaarrrrrkkkk, and then the libraryeeeeeee. You have rhythm and great pitch and you resolve melodies when we sing together and it makes me so proud.

I am thankful for everything about you. Your personality makes you unique, and your love makes you beautiful. God knew just what he was doing when he created you. I can't wait to see where life takes you. I pray a lot of things for you.

That you will be wise. 
That you will respect yourself.
That you will love Jesus with your whole heart.

I know you are going to do amazing things someday. What am I talking about? You've already done amazing things. Your life has purpose and beauty and you don't even know how many people you've made happy and full of love. You have made me a better person, little boy. You have made me stronger and more confident and more joyful and more in awe of God. You'll never know how much I love you, River. Thank you for being my wonderful little boy for three whole years.


  1. You're so sweet for writing this to our son. you're a wonder mama. if he had a bigger vocabulary his letter to you would be just as long and loving. we are glad that you are "mama." without you our world would not function. :) I love you my beautiful wife.

  2. I like "wonder mama." Kinda sounds like a super hero. ~Mom

  3. I love his modest swimwear! What a cutie!



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