I was doing pretty well on a run the other day pushing my new-to-me double Bob with my two-month-old and two year old in tow when I had a mild moment of panic as I glanced at my youngest with love in my heart overflowing.
“One day, my sons will be responsible for the care of someone’s heart. Maybe multiple someones. They may break someones heart! Or worse…their heart may be broken.”
My pace stalled to a brisk walk.
“This has to be something I write about. How I’ll teach them to protect hearts and prepare them to be kind to others. How I’ll influence them so well that their only desire for their beloved is to care for them.”
But, having a two year old teaches you a few things.
First, no matter how hard I try, I cannot control his impulses. I cannot force him to be kind, even though when I correct him for being unkind, he is quick to say,
He knows the words, but it’s his decision to be kind. These stakes only get higher as your children grow older.
So this post is not about my superior parenting skills (that I don’t have), or the fact that I’ll be so prepared for the teenage years because somehow a few years in the high school classroom made me that way…
No. It’s not. Because I won’t be prepared for my sons to become teenagers. Nor will I be ready for them to enter into their twenties…or meet the loves of their lives…or leave me. The thought of the future terrifies me.
Because my sons are little. And as hard as the days can be, I want them to stay this way as long as I can let them.
So, to my sweet little sons, here are my promises to you both.
To my littlest:
I promise that, despite extreme sleep deprivation, I will not wish the mid-night feedings away. I know how quickly that precious time passes. I will try to treasure those cozy moments when it is just the two of us.
I promise to treasure the moments we’re in right now. I promise I won’t wish for you to sit up, or start crawling, or start walking…because you are my baby. And I might not get another one of these. Stay little as long as you can.
I promise not to get caught up in this silly comparison game with other babies your age. God has gifted you to us exactly the way you were intended to be made. Whether you’re big or small, tall or short, happy or sad, I promise to love you.
I promise to steal away as many moments with just you and I as I can. It can be so easy to become wrapped up with your big brother, but you’re going to become a two year old before I know it–and then I’ll wish for these quiet moments again.
To my oldest.
I promise, despite my desperate desire to educate you (which I do all day every day), I will not correct you when you say “two trucks!” when there are five on the page. One day, you’ll say “five trucks,” and I’ll miss your sweet toddler comprehension.
I promise to (try to) give you space and silence when you become frustrated. Even when I don’t understand why you’re frustrated. I promise that I will try to let you have a minute before I correct you.
I promise to soak up every single minute of your obsession with trucks, trains, cars, and airplanes. One day, they’ll become simply modes of transportation. But right now, they are the coolest things ever.
I promise to re-read goodnight goodnight construction site a million times over and love every minute of you whispering “goodnight crane truck…goodnight.” One day, you’ll ask me to read a new book. And on that day, I know you’re growing up.
I promise to try to ease up. You’re such a good boy and the first little love of my life. I promise to try to take a big picture approach to your toddler years. The tantrums won’t last, and neither will the afternoon snuggles, and the hand holding, and the silly sweet moments. And I will miss this time if I wish for you to get through it.
To both of my boys:
I promise to let you be little as long as you can. Because soon enough, you’ll be big. You’ll be caring for hearts and providing for a family and…leaving me. So, make me a promise, will you? Stay little for a while. But always remember that I love you exactly as you are.