Mine on Monday: Letters to Jacob

January 9, 2017

Dear Jacob!

For the first time in 6 years I missed your birthday letter.  Usually they say it is the 2nd child that gets short changed, but this time it was my first born.

Here is the letter that I started back on December 5th….

Happy Birthday!...a little late this year!  You turned SIX on Thanksgiving Day this year.  What a special day to celebrate something I am truly thankful for…YOU!  We were supposed to have your party Sunday, but you were fighting some bug that had your temperature soar off and on for several days. We had to postpone the party to the following week.

You were such a trouper when you found out that your party was going to be postponed.  What a big boy you have become!  You handle hard situations with so much more grace and understanding now.  I am so proud of the big kid that you are becoming.

The day of your rescheduled party turned out to be rainy and cold. Boo!  We had to move everything for your “Ninja Turtle” themed party inside.  Luckily between the front room and the dining room, you and your friends had plenty of room to run around to ‘fight the bad guys’.  We played ‘pin the mask on the turtle’, ‘knock out shredder’, ‘pizza toss’ and ended the night with a silly string fight!  Poor Lizzie was fighting a bug that night and had to stay upstairs with Maudy during the party.  It was a really fun night with some of your best buddies.  A perfect way to celebrate you turning 6!

This has been a big year for you.  You started kindergarten at “the big school”.  You played a sport (teeball) for the first time.  You are learning to read, and I love hearing you sound out words that you see all around you.  And I especially love the sweet pictures you draw for me and the little notes you write on them, sounding out words that you don’t know how to spell. You are becoming more self reliant and independent every day.  Most of the time that is a really great thing, but there are days when I can’t believe how big you have gotten!  And, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that it makes my heart hurt more than a little.  You are definitely not a toddler anymore.  You are more reserved, especially around people you don’t know or see very often.  Actually, you are pretty reserved around most people.  There are just a chosen few who get to see the true Jacob personality.  However, as stingy as you are with your affection to others, you never turn down a chance to snuggle with me, and I am oh-so thankful for that.  It makes me feel pretty special that I am still the one you run to when you are feeling upset or get hurt and need a snuggle.  And, no matter how big you get, I always want to be that safe place for you.

When I write these letters, I always go back and read previous ones.  It amazes me how far you have come. So many letters in the past contained a lot about tantrums and your strong willed nature.  You are definitely still strong willed.  And every once in a while you throw out a good tantrum just to keep me on my toes (and make me appreciate SO much that we don’t go toe-to-toe on a more regular basis…).  But, those moments are not the first that come to mind when I think about you.  I think about the sweet kid who has really great manners, says “love you mom” frequently and without prompting, sneaks into his sister’s room for one more hug after she has been tucked in, and a kid who has one of the best laughs, hands down.

I wanted to share a proud-mama moment with you because I don’t think I have it written down anywhere else and I definitely don’t want to forget it.  It happened at the end of your last teeball game this fall.  Your team had a ritual of racing after, and then dog-piling, your coach after shaking hands with the opposing team.  I think this little ritual was a favorite of all the players…that, and the snacks handed out afterwards…  As everyone raced across the field after the final game, one of your teammates tripped and fell face first in the dirt.  In the sheer excitement of the moment, most of the other players kept running.  You were one of the few who stopped.  My heart swelled with pride as I watched you bend down and check on him.  I heard you ask him if he was ok and then picked up and dusted off his hat.  Throughout the season there had been a few times that I was really proud of your character, but mostly things like not fighting over the ball, cheering on your teammates, not getting upset or frustrated if they had to bring the tee out for you…things like that.  But NOTHING made me prouder than watching you in that moment of showing compassion for another person.

You have a good heart, Jacob.  And I love you.

 

Love,

Mom

Letters to Jacob: Welcome to Kindergarten

20160816 1stDay5K 008 fbAugust 16, 2016 Dear Jacob,

Today you started Kindergarten!

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We have been trying to get you pumped up about starting kindergarten for weeks.  I took you to pick out new school shoes.  And you chose some lovely  lime green, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shoes…that light up…

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We went to ‘meet the teacher’ and saw your classroom.  We went to the store and chose special treats to go in your lunchbox.  We bought a new water bottle and used my Cricut to put your name on it.  We even bought new Ninja Turtle underwear!  Last night we read “First Day Jitters”.  Made a list of all the things you were nervous about and all of the things you were excited about.  Drank ‘jitter juice’ to take away your jitters.  Made special ‘first day of school cinnamon rolls’.

Took first day pictures….

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We were READY!  Right???

 

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But, through all of it, you would whisper, “but, Mom, I’m a little scared…”

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I know Buddy.  I know you are scared.  I know the feeling that’s deep down in your tummy, because I always felt the exact. same. way. at the beginning of every school year.

Ready or not, the first day of school arrived.  We were told that kindergarten parents could walk their student in the first day.  We parked and immediately saw our neighbor, who is one of your best buddies, so you and Brian got to walk in together.  I think that helped a lot!

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I could tell you were nervous walking down the hall.  But you acted so brave.

I remember last year when I dropped you off for the first time at Six Mile Elementary for 4K.  I choked up as I watched you walk all by yourself into the cafeteria, alongside much bigger kids.  You told me later that you were really scared and that you said to yourself, “this would be a lot easier if my mom was here with me”.

Well, today I got to be with you.

We walked into your classroom, found your cubby, hung up your book bag, learned where to put your lunchbox and folder, and got a name tag.  I could tell you were nervous and scared.

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Much too quickly, I knew it was time for me to leave.  I knew you weren’t ready for me to go.  I wasn’t ready to go!  But, I gave you one more hug and left.

After helping a little boy that was lost in the hallway, I had the chance to peek in your room as I walked past.  You were quietly playing with play-doh at your table.  No tears.  From either of us!  That is a first day success!

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This afternoon I couldn’t wait to get you from the bus stop and hear all about your day.  The first thing you told me was that you saved a fruit snack in your lunch box to give to Lizzie.  I love your heart, sweet boy.

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When we got home, you said, “Mom, I was really scared, but it all turned out great.”

I’m proud of you, Jacob.

Love,

Mom

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Letters to Jacob: Happy 5th Birthday!

November 24, 2015

Dear Jacob,

You are five!  “a whole hand!”

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This has been quite a year for our family.  A year of changes, and I am so proud of how you have handled everything!  Moving is stressful for everyone, and, honestly, I was a bit worried at how that stress on you would play out.  As well spoken as you are, your whole life you have had a hard time recognizing why you’re little body is unhappy, and usually a good tantrum ensues.  Sometimes it is something like being tired or hungry, and LOOK OUT! (until we get some food in you, and then you are happy-go-lucky again).  So, something as overwhelming as packing up the only house you have ever known, and saying goodbye to the only church, the only school, the only friends you have ever known…  I was more than a little scared.  But you have been such a trooper!  Even though a good chunk of your 4th year of life has been in “limbo”, as we change from living with Pop and KK, to Maudy’s house, long weekend visits with Mimi and Papaw, down to see Aunt Amy and Uncle Trey…we have bounced you around a lot!

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You also started “real” school this year.  How special that your first elementary school was the same school that I went to!  Six Mile Elementary has been such a great introduction to big kid school.  I remember the first morning I dropped you off.  You looked so small walking into the school all by yourself amongst the bigger kids.  But you were so brave!  I was the one in tears as I drove away, and had to call your dad and have him comfort me!  Later that day when we were talking about your day, you told me that you were scared walking in, and in your head you said to yourself, “this would be a lot easier if my mom was with me.”  Oh!  I had to hold back the tears.

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You have done so well in school, and it is always entertaining to hear the stories your teachers have for me when I pick you up.  But, one thing is consistent, they always tell me what a good helper you are and how patient you are with the other students.  That makes this mama’s heart swell with pride.

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Being your mom, there is never a dull moment.  You are SO full of energy.  You literally run circles around me every day.  You have such a creative imagination, and I love to listen to your pretend play.  Lizzie has started to play with you, and the games you two come up with are very entertaining!  Your current favorite toys are Transformer:  Rescue Bots.  You also have entered the world of Legos, and astound me when you can follow the instruction book all by yourself.  You love to play super heros with your friends, and are always ready to “get the bad guys!”.

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We still have our moments of power struggles, but they are mostly few and far between (thank goodness).  You have gotten much better at controlling those oh-so big emotions that rock your world (and mine…and anyone else who gets in the way).  I still have to constantly remind myself what a good thing it is (or at least will be) that you have such a strong will.  And, I pray daily that I can cultivate that strong willed nature as a positive attribute for you.

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It is so strange sometimes because I feel like you are (and have been) so grown up.  But, then I look back at pictures from a year ago, and realize you were just a toddler.  Right now, you seem so big, but I know in a year, I will look back and realize how small you are.  I try to remind myself of that when I don’t quite understand your behavior.  You are still little.  You are still learning and figuring out this whole life thing (so am I!).  But, like I tell you all the time, one of my most important Mom-jobs is to help you.  I am here for whatever you need.  I hope that is something you never question, no matter how busy I might seem.

I can’t wait to see what this next year holds for you and for our family.  We should be moving into our new house within the next two weeks.  A new house means a new school and new friends.  That is a lot, even for a big 5 year old, and can be really scary.  But, you are brave.  You are strong.  And you have such a big heart.

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I love you so much, Jacob.  You amaze me every single day.  What a blessing you are to me!

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Happy Birthday!

Love,

Mom

Letters to Jacob: Happy 4th Birthday!

November 24, 2014

Dear Jacob,

Today you are 4 years old! Oh how time flies!

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It is amazing to look back over the past year and see how much you have grown and changed. You are definitely my big boy now. You are smart and funny and so loving. My heart absolutely melts at some of your random acts of kindness towards other. And, daily, you make me laugh out loud at the things that come out of your mouth. Like at the park the other day, when you saw a group of moms that we didn’t know, and you (loudly) announce that “Mommy, you can go make some new friends”.

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One of my favorite things to see over the past year is your imagination grow. You are at the stage where you will lie on the floor for hours playing with your toys (Octonauts are your favorite). I love to hear you “do” the voices and come up with storylines. I love to see and hear your creativity!

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You are an amazing big brother. Elizabeth has definitely gotten to the stage where she can start to bug you a little and mess up whatever game you have going, or tower you are building. But, you are learning to have patience and show some grace towards the things she can’t yet control.

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So. It wouldn’t be a letter to you without at least a quick mention of your strong-willed nature. Looking back at your birthday letter from last year, I think I was cautiously optimistic that we would have been past most of the tantrums during your second year of life. Nope. If anything, as a three year old, you learned to express your stubbornness even more effectively. There were many a tear shed over the past year (and I am not sure if it was you or me that shed the most). But, I can sit here today and look back, seeing that we have made progress. You are learning how to control these oh-so big emotions that sometimes seem to possess you and turn you into a child I don’t even recognize. Nope. Three hasn’t been an easy year for us. Your strong-willed nature challenges every fiber of my being. I admit that sometimes I feel like I am not strong enough and perhaps some other mom would “handle” you better. But, I know that isn’t true. I know that God knew exactly what he was doing when he entrusted you to me. I know that I was perfectly created to be YOUR mom. And, oh how thankful I am that God chose me!

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Even though you seem so grown up to me, I love the fact that mommy’s kisses can still magically make boo-boos better. I love that you still want to snuggle in my lap, and at night in your bed, ask for “just one more snuggle song”. I love that you still are attached to your Lovey, it is one of the few remaining things that makes you seem like a toddler.

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I love your laugh. It is one of the best laughs on earth (ask your Maudy if you don’t believe me). I love your imagination. I love your goofiness. I love your compassion. I love your heart. I love YOU!

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Happy! Happy! Happy 4th Birthday, Jacob!

Love,

Mommy

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