Friday, April 1, 2011

:: a letter to my kids ::

dear kids,

i'm taking a few moments from work this afternoon to write you a little note to let you know how much you both impressed me in the last 24 hours.

emily, you are so brave and so tough. you're just a peanut of a babe, so small that people in public exclaim, "she's too small to be walking!" when really you learned to walk about three months later than most babies we know. but you're so tough. yesterday you played "chase and steal" with evan and me and even though you kept getting bumped and knocked into and even though you never could steal the ball unless i handed it to you or evan and i stopped paying attention for a minute, you just played and laughed and loved it. you didn't cry even though i would totally have cried. perhaps you don't even know to feel left out or slighted yet. perhaps you're not yet aware of balances of power and watching out for the little guy. or perhaps you're just smart enough to know that the fact is, you're smaller than us, and if you want to play some of evan's big-kid games then you're just going to have to jockey for position.

and this morning. oh! emily! this morning you were so brave as we packed up our things to leave the Y after evan's swimming lessons. you were brave enough to venture out across people-traffic in the wide open hallway, yes, but then you were brave enough to let a stranger hold your hand and walk you back to mom. you didn't cry. you didn't try to escape. you didn't even look worried. you simply let this wonderful, grandmotherly woman walk you slowly and surely back to where you were supposed to be. you could see me, but i don't think that's what made it possible. i think a lot of other kids would be all the more upset to have a stranger hold their hand when they could see their own mommy right there ten feet away. i think what made it possible for you to hold this woman's hand - her name was rose, she told you - was just the fact that you enjoy being in the world and aren't afraid of things that clearly aren't threatening.

i hope that this never works against you, emily. i hope that you will grow up to be trusting and brave but not naive. and something already tells me that this will be the case. i think it's that "i don't need you guys to coddle me while we play chase and steal" part of you that makes me not so scared for that "sure i'll hold a stranger's hand" part of you.

and evan. dear, sweet evan. talk about brave. this morning you went for your fourth-ever all-alone big-boy swimming lesson. and your usual teacher was not there. as the new instructor approached us (a full 30 years younger than miss judy, and a man), my heart sank. i wanted your usual teacher. i was afraid that you would be scared with this new person.

but you didn't even blink. you were your same solemn little self, the same boy who loves swimming and swimming lessons so much that he can barely even show emotion while he's there but then erupts into chaos and pride the moment we step into the locker room.

and your teacher told me after class that you kicked ass. you weren't scared. you did the back float, for god's sake, evan. you won't even do that with me.

that's amazing. i would have been so scared to have a new teacher. i would have clung to my mom's leg. i would have teared up. i would have whispered as quietly as possible to my mom that i didn't want to go anymore. but not you, you brave child.

and one last thing, ev. one more thing i need to add even though it's slightly off topic. evan, you are the sweetest boy ever and i hope that you nevereverever lose that. i hope you'll always remember (or always let me remind you) that once, when you were three, you amazed your dad and i with your purehonest goodness.

last night, evan, at bedtime, after you and daddy had gotten PJs on and brushed and washed and read a book, and after you'd hidden like you hide each night, waiting for me to find you so that i can say goodnight, we did our usual thing: hug, kiss, and favorite parts of the day. and you? you told your dad and i that your favorite thing was hearing that emily's blood doesn't have as much lead in it -- that her blood test showed almost 65% less lead in her blood than it did three months ago.

we hadn't talked about this but for one minute during the day when i got off the phone with the doctor's office and said, "hey ev, guess what? emily's lead is a lot better. it's not gone but she has a lot less now."

i will never know what even made you remember that brief moment from earlier in the day, but i will always know why you said it was your favorite thing yesterday: because deep down inside your very cells you are a caring and thoughtful person. that and one other thing: even at three you are already sure that being a family means something special. you tell me often that when you grow up, you want to be a family.

so anyway, kids, i have to get back to work now. but i just wanted you to know that i find you both amazing.


love, mommy

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