I woke up this morning to your still-little snores. Daddy’s been out of town for the past 2 nights & you’ve laid claim to his spot in our bed. My favorite part of you sleeping in our bed is when you reach out in the night to make sure I’m still there. That, and when you play with my hair as you’re falling asleep—just because you know I love it.
There’s something about you being FIVE that makes you seem all at once so big and so tiny. Too big to want help pouring your milk but still too tiny to do it without making a mess of things. You’re conflicted about whether or not you still like Elmo or if he’s just for babies. Some nights you live to bathe & brush teeth all by yourself, but others you just. can’t. do. it. & still need Mama’s help.
Something we’re realizing about your personality is that you are a follower. I think that’s why it’s challenging for you to sort out your preferences, because you are swayed easily by those around you. This is something you will need to tend to & be mindful of as you live & grow—because it’s easy to follow poorly but it’s hard to follow well. Good following requires good leading, and God knows I’m trying my absolute best.
It’s been another big year split among three continents, another year calling 5 places home. You board each plane like it’s your job, say your hellos & goodbyes with strength, appreciate every layer of our complex lives, & are ever-enthusiastic about what’s ahead of us. Leaving Scotland earlier this year was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a while. But your enthusiasm for the adventure to come protected you from dwelling on the grief. I dreaded leaving the cold while you celebrated the warmth we were headed back to in Africa. I was mourning the autonomous life we were walking away from while you were desperate for reuniting with cousin-friends… spending endless afternoons of climbing rocks, sword fighting, playing “video games” with your paper weapons, collecting treasures of rocks & bugs & trash, sharing dinners together, & building BOYS ONLY forts. I was focusing on the end of an era while you couldn’t help but see the beginning of another. So maybe you’re not a born leader, but I’m following you in embracing the future, looking only to the past as a point of reference, growth, & joy.
Currently you watch Night at the “Uzema” (Museum) on repeat, you neglect all the lizards you catch as your “pets,” you’re looking forward to an upcoming trip to Spain so you can say “hola amigos” & sing Feliz Navidad once we get there, you ask for a cup of coffee in the afternoons, you love speaking “languages,” & you really get a rush when you beat me at UNO. You are a dynamite kid & I delight in being your Mama.
This past summer you told a room full of small children that they would all go to hell if they don’t follow Jesus & just yesterday you told me that I am a little bit fat. While I highly value honesty, a bit more diplomacy next time? (PS: you’re grounded for yesterday).
I love you forever & am so sorry that I’m a month late this year,