Thank You Note

Dear Evan,

Happy 1st birthday, little one! Now that the cupcakes are gone and the presents are opened, I’m in the middle of writing thank-you notes to all the loved ones who remembered your special day with a gift. (Boy I can’t wait until you’re old enough to do this on your own.) And I realized I owed you a thank-you note as well — for you have given me these gifts (and more!), which I couldn’t have imagined I’d be blessed with just one year ago:

A more open mind about parenting. It took having two very different kids to make me more fully understand that although there are some universal “dos and don’ts” to parenting, every parenting decision and theory must work not for all children but for that particular child and those particular parents in that particular moment. I’ve learned that kids — and families — are like snowflakes; no two are alike, and each needs customized care.

This has helped me to be freer with my own choices, as I know that just because something worked with Kostyn doesn’t mean it will work with you. For instance, Kostyn was out of our room and in his own bed (well, more or less, with limited success) by four months old. You are still sleeping in our room, mostly in our bed. And that’s OK, because that’s what works for you, and us, right here, right now.

Caring for you also has taught me to be more gracious with other parents and the choices they make. If a child is happy and healthy, that child is loved. And that’s all that really matters.

Killer biceps. I carried Kostyn a lot when he was a tiny tyke, but you are what I call “my little koala cub.” You are happiest perched on my torso with your arm wrapped around my back, and that is where I estimate you’ve spent 85 percent of the past year. I have learned to type, make dinner, apply makeup, play with Kostyn, vacuum and do countless other things one-handed because of you. And I have the biceps (and the occasional shoulder and lower back pain) to prove it.

A deeper love of children. This one sounds weird, and it’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. Everything about Kostyn sang “Miracle!” to us, from the unexpected “+” sign to his birth, from his first laugh to his first steps. Entering this foreign realm of parenthood gave my experiences with your big brother a wondrous, awe-filled quality that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

When I got pregnant with you (a planned pregnancy, mind you) I panicked the way I’ve heard many parents of an only child do. I couldn’t imagine loving another child the way I loved Kostyn. I couldn’t even imagine having a child who wasn't Kostyn.

But from the moment you were born, you introduced yourself as someone totally, refreshingly, delightfully different from your older brother. You had different features, different mannerisms, and different likes and dislikes. I fell in love not just with you, but with the privilege and thrill of getting to know you. And in doing so I fell in love with children in a whole new way. I fell in love with how each one is an undiscovered treasure, and I even found myself occasionally daydreaming about adding another treasure to our family. That alone is in stark contrast to my perspective before you were born, when I’d lash out in sheer panic at the mere mention of having a third child.

It’s not that I didn’t love kids before: I’ve been a loyal aunt and godmother for years. But something changed inside me when you were born. And for that, I owe you big-time.

More, here.

5 comments:

Lyn said...

That sure is a killer bicep!!! Wow! Popeye, eat your heart out!

Heather said...

So sweet!

Dee said...

AWW...tears flowing again...you have two miracles to love

Kostyn and Evan's Grammy said...

Another Treasure is ALWAYS WELCOME!

Lyn said...

Why am I not surprised by "Grammy's" comment!