Dear Shepherd: 2 Years


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,


5 responses to “Dear Shepherd: 2 Years

  1. You’re the best, I hope to meet this wonderful boy one day and then make one of my own, hopefully mine and yours can be friends… We’ll see.

    Miss you guys and praying for you

  2. As I read your post, I was transported to a time when my days were filled with the fun and challenges of caring for my own little 2 year old boy. As I strolled through those memories, my heart overflowed and spilled out through my tears. Tears because all I have of those blessed times is now only memories. But that is life and the way of things and I embrace that. For now my own little boy is the daddy to your precious little guy and as you and Shep walk the path his daddy and I were on so many years ago, my heart again overflows with tears. Tears because this journey you and Shep are on is a blessed one, full of sweet joy, and far too soon it will be only a memory for you as well. Fill it up sweet Maridith with as many happy memories as you can; be deliberate about that! Just living life can get pretty scary at times (as you have already found out) so your challenge will be to offset those not so great memories with deliberately made happy memories of your own creative genius. You will succeed at this and my love and prayers will always be supporting you . . .

  3. You are one beautiful lady and amazing Mother. I love your KK and Papa & even though we haven’t met…We Love Your Family too!
    Happy Birthday to Shepherd
    Leigh Ann Smith

  4. This is so beautiful that I couldn’t help but cry a little as I read it. What a beautiful growing family. Love you very much & always praying for y’all!

  5. Kristi Wade Tucker

    You are my kin folk. My daddy and your daddy are first cousins. We have the same great-grandparents. I couldn’t tell you what their names are at the moment but I’m thinking it might be Zion Wade. What a grand name!
    I love your story to Shepherd on his 2nd birthday! Happy Birthday Shepherd! I hope I get to meet you one day!
    Maridith, you have done what many of us can barely even think about doing in starting your family in Africa! Gurl, you are amazing and awesome! I’m adding you, Bobby, Shep & the baby to my prayerlist to faithfully pray for ya’ll every single day! I know the One that hung the moon and stars will take care of you regardless of my prayers or not but it will connect us, it will make me more aware of what you have to face. And if you have any things come up that you need prayer warriors for, I would count it a joy to be included to pray.
    I have 4 children and they are all grown now. It goes too fast! Keep writing every year to your kids like you have done this year. It will be a treasure to them & you as they grow up.
    I pray I will meet your little family someday but if not, there’s always going to be time in eternity!
    May God continue to Shine His upon you! Love, Kristi Wade Tucker
    Virginia Beach, Virginia

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