A letter for Henry…
Sweet little buddy of mine, you are so dear to me and you can’t possibly know just how. I left you a little while ago, and today it was terribly hard. There’s a lot moving and shaking at home this month: events and travels and school days and church, and I know sometimes that’s too much for your heart to handle. You love to be home.
I think you actually love school, too, but this morning, you wanted to be tucked in cozy in your bed or snuggled on the couch with me. I completely get it, buddy. I love to be snuggled up on the couch with you, too. Your heart is sensitive and beautiful, and so much good comes from that. But there are some days I think it’s harder because of how aware and sensitive you are–at this age, it’s pretty tricky to separate feelings from circumstances, and I understand that as much as I’m able in my grown up, mama world.
I hated to leave you sad today, but I know you find your wings when I’m gone. I could have hugged your sweet, sweet friend who called out to you, “Henry! Come sit next to me!” I consider this grace for your tender age: buddies who invite you and welcome you and include you. I could pray all day long that this would be your lot your whole life through, and I hope it is! But I know as well as any that there will be even harder days, and days when I can’t hug you and let you cry and try to make it all better. I couldn’t fix it for you today, and as you grow, there will be plenty of times when I can’t make it exactly right. Just know that I would if I could, and I want to…oh, how I desperately want to!
Yesterday, we remembered that it was your half birthday–such a fun thing for you to realize that you are half way to your next birthday and closer to five than four. When you’re little, you always want to be the next age: bigger, stronger, more free to do the things that have always been reserved for the “big kids” around you. As your mama though, it’s really strange for me to think about having a five year old on your next birthday. I remember so many of the sweet days when you were itty bitty, and I just don’t want to rush a single thing.
I can’t possibly say in words what you bring to our lives, Henry D. You are so full of life and energy, I’m never sure I’ll be able to keep up. You make us laugh, and you get your sister giggling better than anyone else. Your tender heart is so evident toward her–to see you two loving each other well makes all of the hard moments of parenting feel completely worthwhile. You are curious and smart. Your memory and ability to retain facts and details is inspiring! I only wish I could get back to a mind as sharp and present as yours.
You hear everything. Everything. And you ask about it, process it, turn it into fodder for future conversations. Lately you say things like, “I managed to…” and “I think I’d prefer to…” and “Perhaps it would be best to…” Sometimes you open your mouth and an adult comes out. You amaze me. You with your great big heart and your great big mind. I always delight in imagining what this life has for you!
I don’t write you as often as I used to, but this morning and on the heels of a half birthday, I want so much to tell you how valued and loved you are. I wish I could have just snuggled you this morning. It would have been grand! And we will raincheck and snuggle this afternoon and tomorrow morning and hopefully hundreds or thousands more days after that. While you’re away today, I pray that God is meeting you and your heart where you need him. I didn’t pray with you when you were upset, and I should have done that. Forgive me? I am praying for you now, and so much of the time. And I love you and your sister and dad with my whole heart. Always, always, always, as Eloise would say.
i love to watch you grow, sweet boy. you are marvelous and marvelously four and a half.