Today you chewed half way through a 60 count pack of sugar-free gum before we could focus enough to take it away from you. “High amounts of sugar alcohol give people bad diarrhea. Wait for it!” I told your Daddy. At lunch I noticed you were taking baby wipes out of the diaper bag. I assumed you were going to wipe your hands & mouth, which seems to be your new thing. A minute later I noticed you were cleaning Daddy’s sweet & sour chicken off the food court floor. Except you hadn’t eaten any of his sweet & sour chicken & there shouldn’t have been any under your chair. I thought about it for a second, checked your pants, and BOOM. Diarrhea. You were cleaning your very diarrhea that I told your Daddy you’d have off the floor. We were SUPER proud of you!
You gave us a couple of good scares this year. Transitioning from walking to running, being an avid climber, learning to jump off of high things… those falls, scrapes, goose eggs, bumps & bruises & all the other normal boy things are hard on us Mamas. But all that seemed so small a thing when you got really sick after we moved to South Sudan & there was no pediatrician within a 3 days’ drive to treat you. And again when you fell off that cinder block & had a seizure & I packed an emergency bag, assuming we’d be medically evacuated within the next 4 hours. Everyone was letting us have it for taking a baby to South Sudan where no medical care is available for you. But we want you to know that we took you there out of obedience to the One who set the world into motion & calls the stars by name. And He gave us a doctor who would at least draw some blood & point us in the right direction of which type of antibiotic to give you. And He gave us a dear friend to buy that antibiotic for you in Uganda who gave it to a French Canadian pilot who flew it to us in a helicopter to South Sudan. And He held you in His perfect care for a week while we put a lot of our life on hold until we could get you to South Africa to see a doctor to make sure the seizure wasn’t epileptic. Now THAT is hard on a Mama.
You taught me a lot this year. Especially the day that you got disciplined for something that you didn’t deserve. It’s true, you weren’t listening very well to Mama that morning, but I shouted at you out of frustration & Daddy spanked you for it. I thought long & hard about that instance for a few days afterwards. I realized my serious shortcomings as your mother, cried & cried, & asked for your forgiveness & for more grace from the One who freely gives it. You did & of course He did & always does. Grace for then, grace for now, grace for when. Always grace.
Next year you will become a big brother to a little baby boy. I see you, so playful & thoughtful with other kids & my heart soars to think of you with your baby brother. I ache for the day you will have another boy around to play rough with but I also ache to give you the best of me for the next 4 months. I realize that time passes so quickly & we don’t have much more time together, just you & me. So that’s why tonight when you cried at bedtime, I decided that I’ll give you the best (tired) version of me & we’ll sing, we’ll name body parts, we’ll give kisses, & I’ll ask you questions that you always say “no” to. Because that’s what you do & that’s the Sheppy I love…
You say “no” for “yes.”
You call your paci “Pepsi.”
You call both me & Daddy “Mama.”
You yell “bobby!” when you see a bug.
You tell your toys “bye bye!” when you leave a room.
You pat your belly & say “I da bebe” when we ask where the baby is.
And yes you are. Always Mama’s baby. Happy Second Birthday, little one.
I still love you forever,