Sunday, December 16, 2012

Colton is Four!

My Dearest Colton,

You are FOUR! It's hard to believe you're only just now 4, as you've been quite convinced that you've been 4 for months. It wasn't until the last few weeks that I convinced you that you were still 3...mostly because if you were already 4, you could not have a birthday party. You were READY for your birthday party.

Oh, Colton, how you've grown since this day last year. I think what will stand out to me during the year you were three is your imagination. It exploded this year, and I've spent more nights than I can count pretending to be asleep as Snow White or Sleeping Beauty as I awaited a handsome Prince Charming to kiss me awake. You get lost in fairy tales, wrapped up in stories. You believe wholeheartedly that you are Superman, flying in to rescue your brother or your mommy. I'm never bored.

Your brother would live outside if he could. And you enjoy playing outside, but you will sit cozied up with me under a quilt watching movies, any old movie will do (you prefer "real people" movies). You'll discuss storylines with me, point out all the "naughty" words, and then quote lines from the movie after one viewing...just like your dad.

Your Great-Grandmother has always told people that you never forget a thing. And you don't. You can remember experiences, conversations, names from before you were two years old. You can hear a story one time and detect any change in detail on the retelling...which actually has caused a lot of frustration since half the stories we tell you are made up as we go!

You are, as the saying goes, an old soul. Empathy and curiosity pours from your eyes, reflects in your voice. Your compassion is truly astounding. I will remember so much about 2012. A beautiful year where we took our first family vacation to Destin, FL and watched sunsets on the beach with snow cones and sandcastles; where we got rainboots and took every opportunity to splash in puddles; where you discovered dress-up and learned how to be anything you wanted to be. But, I'll be honest with you, I am still raw from the great loss we endured the last few weeks.

Oh, Colton, we lost your Great-Grandma. I was not all prepared. And you and Owen and Daddy watched as I drove back and forth to Missouri for weeks as she tried to recover from heart surgery. You encouraged me to go and take care of her, just like I take care of you when you are sick. We counted our blessings over Thanksgiving, celebrating with Great-Grandma in the hospital where you made her laugh and squeezed her hand and kissed her tired face. YOU, my darling, YOU healed her heart. You truly made her last few days of life full of joy. She wanted so badly to watch you grow, she had that surgery for you and for Owen.

I was so proud of you at her funeral. You shook hands with most of the people waiting in line to visit our family and to offer condolences. You smiled and hugged and led your brother to each person. My heart soared, and I KNOW that you made her proud, too. You and Owen were the joys of her life and you couldn't have honored her any better.

We have conversations now, Colton. We discuss God, and sharing, and fairness, and friends. Your heart has been hurt by being left out, and you've turned that into being open and inviting to others. We talk about how bad things happen in the world. And you, frankly, scare me a little bit when you ask me to remove the devil and the monsters from your closet. "The devil doesn't belong in this house" you say each night. I pray you will always banish him in this way.

Your favorite thing in the whole world, even before Snow White, is having your "WHOOOOOOOLE family" together. You're happiest when everyone you love is in one room.

I feel so heavy right now, wishing I had written this letter earlier. But, oh my sweet boy, yesterday morning you woke up crying. I tucked you in next to me and you grabbed my hand, nuzzled your head in my neck, and told me how much you love me. You take care of me.

I am thankful for this day, this December 16th, as one of the three best days of my life. And this year, we couldn't be celebrating your birthday at a better time. We're all healing and this gave us something to look forward to. YOU are taking care of your family, at the tender age of four.

We have Santa and Christmas lights and Christmas cookies and presents and hot chocolate to look forward to. Lots of family coming to visit. And then we will welcome in another beautiful year. With you by my side, I can't imagine anything but laughter and joy.

Thank you for being the funniest, spunkiest, kindest, sweetest, most compassionate, and imaginitive boy I've ever know. Happy Birthday, Sugarbear. You're my everything.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Something is Missing

Oh, my. 2012 sure hasn't turned out like I expected.

I lost a huge piece of my heart last week. My beloved grandma waged a valiant battle after heart surgery. We all had so much hope that she would be stronger than ever. But she just grew tired in recovery and her body fought back against her will. She passed away peacefully with my mom and sister at her side. I still can't quite believe she's actually gone.

Our family is forever changed. And though so many wonderful moments have come and gone in this year, it will be marked forever in my history book as the year we were one less. After several years of adding to our family, this year we lost our heart and soul.

I will write more about her, as I heal. When it becomes easier to say "I remember" instead of "I wish".

But I just felt like  my heart aches to mark how I'm feeling right now. How much I miss her voice and laugh and her hugs and her hand in mine. And how much I am dreading the next few weeks. I've never spent Christmas without her, my whole life we've been together.

I am blessed to have had her as long as I did, to carry on with her soulmate, my grandpa. And with two other grandparents. And I have peace in knowing we will meet again, and how much joy there will be when we do. But it doesn't make it any easier to not have her here.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. ~Psalm 116:15"