Daddy and I watched you sleep last night. All sprawled out and relaxed, your chest retracting in and out, and eyes fluttering as you heard the faint sounds of us whispering about you. At night there is always a massive to do list that has to be done after your siblings are in bed, but— sometimes we both have to pause and just watch you. You are fascinating!
Just four months ago we met you for the first time. Like any parent, we were awestruck and amazed at how tiny you were. We studied you in the hospital room admiring the wonderfully made individual you are– noting your similarities and resemblances to us– whose nose you had, what shape your lips and ears were and most obviously what color eyes you had. Children are one of the greatest tangible expressions of God’s creativeness and goodness, and those first few moments with you were unexplainably amazing! Shortly after you were born you sat under the oxygen hood in NICU surrounded by wires and instruments gauging your health. My heart ached to hold and touch you. We were separate for the first time far too quickly after we had grown so intimately acquainted the previous nine months— it was miserable!
A week later when we took you home I knew it would be impossible to love you any more. My heart was so filled with the wonder of the ways God had blessed our little family. As I hold you now, it’s so easy to connect with one another– so easy to show you just how special you are to me. When I talk to you– your eyes widen in amazement and twinkle with expression. Your chubby cheeks form a huge toothless smile as you attempt to coo back at me. You get it! You understand just how crazy I am about you, and all is right in our little world.
But sweetheart, I know it won’t always be this easy, and that is why I am taking a few minutes to write this letter to you. Being the youngest of four children and two busy, overtired, overworked, and overcommitted parents– I know there will be times that you question how we feel about you.
First, I must apologize about the forced adaption techniques you must master in our home. You will likely be forced into cookie cutter patterns during your formative years when it comes to sleeping habits, eating preferences, and learning patterns. This isn’t because we don’t recognize your individuality– it is because life is simply too crazy to accommodate everyone. Believe it or not, learning to adapt to your environment healthily is one skill that will benefit you greatly and give you a wonderful advantage in adulthood.
As we cart you around through the hectic schedules of your older siblings you may at times feel like an accessory that just gets dragged from place to place. It is my prayer that as you sit on the sidelines of sporting events and performances you learn first and foremost that life isn’t always about you. Rather then be jealous or feel neglected, I hope you joyfully learn to be a cheerleader for your brothers and sisters– encouraging them and beaming with pride at their accomplishments.
There is a good possibility that your baby book may never get completed. If it does, it will likely have inaccurate information because I am doing it months behind. I’m sorry kid, this one just goes with the territory! I snap pictures regularly that I hope will tell the story of your young years quite well. You’ll notice some of these pictures are distinctly original and creative because I wanted to differentiate poses and shots from ones I took of the other kids (so I don’t get as confused when I’m old and gray.) Your expressions in these pictures have convinced me that you weren’t nearly as amused as I was, sorry ‘bout that.
As you grow up with parents who are “learning how to parent” you may sometimes feel that we are unfair, unloving and maybe even uncaring. At times you will be keenly aware that you get away with things that your older siblings would have never been able to do. Other times you may feel we come down much stricter, harsher and controlling. It is likely that you actually have the best version of mom and dad: more relaxed about trivial things and much more attuned to the things that really matter. So stop complaining! Realize the well rounded parents that are parenting you have gotten as close to perfecting the science as they will ever get.
If it ever feels like we are comparing you to your siblings— we probably are. It’s natural for parents to do– and when you are so close in age to your siblings it will be even more of a temptation for us. We want you to be awesome because we are convinced from the second you were born– that is precisely what God intended you to be. However, please know that your individuality is cherished, treasured, and appreciated. Just be an awesome version of you. What parents find most amazing about multiple children is how different and unique their personalities are, never forget this!
We will teach you many things, travel to many places, and imprint many memories on your young heart. Hopefully most of them will be wonderful and be a springboard for a terrific future and fulfilling life. We will also make mistakes, regularly and frequently. Forgive us! Ronin, let me clear this up lest there ever be any confusion in the years ahead: Your job isn’t to make us proud, we already are proud! Your goal isn’t to make us believe in you, we already do! You don’t need to get our attention, you already have it!
Lastly, sweet boy, can I say something that has taken me my entire life to figure out? You have a wonderful purpose that likely doesn’t involve me, your dad, or your brothers and sisters. Your purpose is quite simple, it can be summed up in three simple words: To glorify God. Throughout your life this message may get foggy as others try to sway and communicate it differently. It doesn’t need to be explained thoughtfully, expanded on, or picked apart and debated. Whatever your passions and talents are– use them for Him! As you grow and mature into the fabulous person I know you are– let your purpose be what molds you.
Love you Macaroni!