You turned 15-months-old this week. As always, as each month passes, you continue to learn and do more things that always leave your Mom and I to stand back and observe in awe.
Just last week while your Mom was running errands, I took you outside onto the deck in the backyard so you could run around and wear yourself out before your bath and bed time. Your first inclination was to run over to and climb into your plastic baby pool. Before you got in, I swooped you up and pulled off your diaper. I did this because the last time you got into your pool with your diaper on, I was left with the task of draining the pool and all of its “contents” after your swim.
So this time you got in and out of your pool over and over while wearing nothing more than a t-shirt. You got out of the pool and walked over to the passion vine to smell one of the flowers. You stood there for a moment and then briskly walked away to head back to your pool. I happened to look down and see what you had left sitting on the deck. In that fleeting moment you circled back and also took notice of what you’d dropped off. Without hesitation you began to reach down to pick up and observe what used to be part of you.
With ninja-like reflexes, I again scooped you up and removed you from the situation. With you in one arm, we went back into the house where I put on my Haz-Mat suit and removed the Maly morsel from the deck with roughly 23 paper towels and an exhausted gag reflex.
This month has allowed you to spend a lot of time with your extended family. In late-June we took you to San Diego to spend time with your aunts, uncles and cousins. It was in southern California where you first experienced the ocean. You loved walking up to the water and watching your feet disappear into the sand as the tide pulled back to sea. The motion of the water rushing back into the ocean set you off balanced and caused you to follow over countless times. Your adrenaline saved you from noticing the cold Pacific waters but soon it took its toll. Your skin started going pale and your lips and finger tips blue. You wore yourself out quickly and your Mom and I thought you might have suddenly gotten sick. We dried you and changed you on the beach where your Mom let you lie on her chest for warmth and rest.
This past weekend we were in Oklahoma for the Tamaat family reunion. Tamaat is your Great Grandma B.’s maiden name and she comes from a very large immediate family as does your Boppa. You were able to see 7 of Boppa’s 8 siblings at the farmhouse in Okeene. You also met a lot of the cousins. I’d go into greater detail but you will get to know them all in your own way soon enough. Hopefully it’ll take you less than the 8 years it has taken me to finally be able to comfortably approach a relative at Thanksgiving dinner and greet them by name instead of them having to re-introduce his or herself for the twentieth time.
You’re very lucky to have the family that you have. I hope that you grow to appreciate that. Since you’ve come into my life, I have deep regrets about not having made more of an effort to know and appreciate my family and lineage from an earlier start. Maybe if I had, I’d better understand the whole pooping on the deck thing.
You’re learning new words and fixing old words that you once mispronounced. What used to be “baba” is now “baby”. You have two babies. One that your cousin Grant gave you while we were in San Diego and one that Luke and Jadon gave you just recently. You love your babies and you give them both big hugs. You know how to give wonderful hugs and kisses now. You give your Mom hugs and you give me kisses. You might be giving me hugs as well but I interpret that as “pick me up and protect me.” So, invariably, I pick you up, hold you as close to me as I possibly can and kiss the side of your head countless times.
I think you’ve become a nurturer as I watch you protect and care for your babies; the same way that your Mom and I do you. Your Mom and I only have our instincts and recollections of how our parents raised us. I speak for both of us when I say that I’m proud of you for your nurturing disposition and your inherent knowledge of the Golden Rule.
You’ve always been and are continuing to grow into a beautiful person. Your laugh is still infectious. Your smile can melt any heart. Your desire to say “hi” to every stranger is admirable and commendable. Your quest for knowledge is motivational. Your spontaneity and daringness makes me proud. Your genuine love for everyone and everything is inspirational. You are truly beautiful.
I love you so amazingly much and find myself baffled that I, as your parent, strive so hard to teach you new things but as I sit back once a month to write my letter to you, I realize that you are the one teaching me so many things.
I love you, Sugar