Dear Shepherd: 3 Years

shepbooks

Maridith is a very good student & has excellent grades but seems to have a problem controlling her talking.”

This was every single report card I brought home as a child. My teachers would move me to a different seat but it didn’t stop me from striking up conversation with my new neighbor. I even got placed by the teacher’s assistant’s desk one time & poor Mrs. Davis fell prey to my incessant questions & commentary.

You get this from me. Better said: you got this from the adolescent me. You wake up at exactly 7:18 every single morning with a chipper “I wanna come out!” Your lips do not cease to move until your naptime, after which they begin spewing words again until bedtime. Rinse & repeat. I am reliving my talkative childhood with every excuse me please, with each Mommy, what’s that?, with all the what? and why?  inquiries, & every very detailed retelling of the Mama Robot that lives in your window & how you fought the dinosaurs with your sword. Add to this that all of these come out in a decibel that is just shy of shouting & BOOM, Mama just went four kinds of crazy.

On my worst day I respond with a sharp LESS TALKING SHEP or JUST GO TO SLEEP NOW or THERE IS NO MAMA ROBOT or the age-old BECAUSE I SAID SO.

But on my best day I see past the noise & the chatter & I see the smiles behind those words & the light in your inquisitive eyes. I notice the way your lips curve around your careful, mispronounced words. I notice how your eyes cut to the right when you’re really thinking & processing. I notice that you’ve fused what and why into one word: whyt? I notice your bent towards perfectionism when you tell me a story—a grassbopper, mommy, wait, no no no, a BABY grassbopper! And I notice the swell of physical joy inside of you when you sense my full attention—so secure in my love that your whole body shakes.

You teach me the most when we read books together. Trying to make it through a book with you has proven to be the greatest test of my patience. I want this time to be calm, quiet, & tidy. Because for me to read a book is to read it cover-to-cover, questions after but never in between. But for you, reading is observing the pictures, pointing out overlooked details, & derailing to your own stories, leaving bent pages in your wake.

You see? Calm, quiet, & tidy you cannot abide. I know this about you but I want to EMBRACE this about you. I want to make our time together less about me. I want you to be you—not the version of me that I superimpose on you.

So please, keep teaching me. Start at the end & move your way backwards. Talk it out. Tend to your compassionate heart & keep saying “sowwy” to your friends when they fall down. Sing along to songs you don’t know. Belly laugh more. Let me hold you after a spanking even though you want to push me away. Keep asking for noodles for breakfast, even though I’ll say no. Observe people & be careful with their feelings. Don’t ever stop responding to questions with a surprised “oh yeah!” And make sure to keep including chocolate, ice cream, & coke at the top of your thankful list during prayers.

But if you could stop throwing sand on the playground, find something to yell other than “oh shoot!” when things don’t work out, & expedite potty training, it would be my JAM.

You make 3 look stunningly handsome & overwhelmingly brave. See you tomorrow at 7:18.

I love you forever,
Mama

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2 responses to “Dear Shepherd: 3 Years

  1. What a delightful blog, Maridith. It’s hard to believe that your beautiful little blonde baby boy is 3 years old already. I just love the way you write to him – and share with us. The potty training will come – and probably pretty soon. I love that you’re instilling in him a love for books and reading. You’re a good mama. Love to you and your family.

  2. This is beautiful….a perfect snapshot of these fleeting stages they go through as they grow up…..well, parts of it are fleeting…he wont always say grassbopper…but there are woven through these young years clear glimpses of the way that the Lord has crafted their hearts and minds that will long outlive these moments. It’s so fun to watch that develop and grow along with them. Love how this gives such a peek into Shep’s personality, I feel like I know him. Love your writing and hearing updates!
    Love you guys.
    Sarah Conti

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