Cher (a long-time childhood friend), I hope you don't mind me stealing your idea to write a letter to each of my kids on their birthday! I loved reading yours to your kids on your blog and decided I need to do the same for mine! Luke and Calista have birthdays just a week apart so here are theirs together.
It is your first birthday and what a year it has been. I can't help but smile every time I think of you. If ever there was a cheerful, sweet-spirited baby, it would be you. People are constantly commenting on your calm disposition and how studiously you examine everything and everyone around you. When we were at the pediatrician's office, instead of crying as he examined you, you carefully studied his stethoscope, tongue depressor, and hands- slowly and gingerly turning them over, and then smiling shyly and turning away when he caught your eye.
You love to sit contently and watch those around you with a smile on your face as you wiggle your hands and feet. You rarely fuss or cry so when you do, we all come running to see what the matter is. I have to keep the baby monitor on at the highest volume when you're napping because the only way I know you've woken up is from tiny little mouse-like squeaks or soft cooing coming from your crib. When I put you down to sleep, I simply lay you down, give you a kiss, and close the door and I rarely ever hear another peep until it's time to wake up.
Even though you look different from your siblings, your dad and I can see bits and pieces of each of us in you. You wrinkle your nose when you smile just like your momma, but your 2nd and 3rd toes on your right foot are webbed just like your daddy. You have your daddy's eyes and your momma's hearty appetite and stocky build.
You took your time learning how to crawl and even when you do it is done cautiously, stopping often to study the fibers on the carpet or a crumb on the floor. Your teeth have also taken longer to come in and as they have, your canines have come in just after your two bottom teeth so you look like the cutest little roly-poly vampire I've ever seen.
You don't say much but you love to mimic sounds. So far the best sounds you do are kissing and roaring. Sometimes you'll blow me a kiss then wrinkle your nose and roar right after. My favorite is when you crawl, swinging your head back and forth roaring and laughing.
I will admit that before you were born, I was nervous. How would I handle another baby and keep my wits about me in the process? But you came along and brought with you a soothing and calming influence that this stressed out momma needed desperately.
Sweet little Calista, you have a spirit about you that this world so desperately needs. It's one of peace and calm and contentment. It's one of patience and caution, happiness and unconditional love. I adore you more than this momma has words for.
Happy first birthday.
You just turned 5. How did that happen? It seems like you were just Calista's age and now you're getting ready to start kindergarten. I've heard people my entire life talking about how time flies but I never really understood it until I had kids of my own.
Sometimes it's a little eerie for me to see how much you remind me of your Uncle Jesse, especially when I see you and Lauren together. It's almost deja vu as I watch the two of you squabble with the sneaky instigating, the protests of innocence when you're caught, and the smirk of satisfaction when you've reached the ultimate goal: a sibling meltdown. The other night as we were laying in your bed before you went to sleep, I told you that before you were born, we were trying to decide between naming you Luke or Jesse. How ironic!
But even through it all, YOU- little Mister, have a way of wrapping people around those little mischievous fingers of yours. Your older brother is starting to get a little bit of a complex with all the attention you get everywhere you go. You have an ease when it comes to talking to people and striking up conversations. Usually within minutes, you have them laughing at your silly jokes and comic impressions of others.
You have a heart-melting sweetness with your baby sister and your momma. You love to draw me pictures and make me crafts. My favorite thing is to come into my bathroom and see a picture you have carefully drawn and taped up to my wall for me to enjoy. You tell me they are so I'll think of you and know that you love me.
You are also remarkably generous and thoughtful. There have been several times when you and I have gone on a special outing and I've tried to treat you to something like an ice cream or a new Hot Wheel. You insist that if you're going to have one, then Camden needs to have one too. You have even told me you would rather walk away with nothing if Camden can't have one!
You are becoming quite an ingenious little Lego builder and artist as you've used your creativity and what you've learned from your brother. You love to play outside with the hose and to ride your bike. You love to cook and are extremely helpful in the kitchen, especially as I make dinner.
One of my favorite things about you is your determination to do what YOU want to do and to make your own choices. While at times it can certainly make my life challenging as a mother, I admire your determination to be independent and to decide for yourself. If you foster that quality and use it wisely, it can become one of your greatest strengths as an adult. I hope you always keep that independent mind (sometimes you may hear me refer to it as unbelievable stubbornness!).
You have a passionate, spitfire personality. Sometimes that passion comes out in unrequited love for your preschool teacher, or it comes out in the form of a fiery temper. You feel things deeply on both ends of the spectrum and while that quality can by problematic at times, it is also one of your strongest attributes.
My little Lukester, I love you with all my heart. I love how you make me laugh, and you sure know how to do it well. Not a day has gone by since the day you were born that you haven't made me laugh. Sometimes the laughs come after a long day when you're in bed and I'm exhausted, but they most certainly come. You are such a special member of this family and my life wouldn't be complete without you.
Happy fifth birthday.