You turned 18 months old last week (or rather a week and a half ago). As usual, I was behind in writing your letter, and then something unexpected happened. Your baby sister was born 2 weeks early. So here I am, almost 2 weeks late, reflecting over the last month.
Your 18th month was hard for me, since I was GREAT with child. Your energy level had shot through the roof, and keeping up with you proved to be a big challenge. There were mornings I'd wake up crying, knowing I couldn't play all the games you wanted to play. There were nights I'd lie awake wondering how you would handle such a huge transition from being an only child, to becoming a big brother. I mourned the loss of exclusive time with you, absent of any distractions, and I mourned your loss of having our undivided attention and love. However, I was reminded time and again that this was an important step in our families lives. You would learn to share the spotlight... our hearts would grow and expand to hold all of our love for you, and for your new little sister. This was an adventure, I'd tell myself... and it will be okay.
Then, just as you'd turned 18 months, your little world was turned upside down. One night, mommy and daddy put you to bed, not knowing it was your last night being alone with them. The next day, you woke up to find Gram and Grandaddy taking care of you. Mommy and Daddy were at the hospital, anxiously awaiting your baby sisters arrival. The next day, you came to visit Mommy and Daddy in the hospital, and met your baby sister for the first time. And since then, you have loved her, and constantly beg to "holdit".
As far as you go, you continue to amaze us with your knowledge and how quickly you pick things up. It took only 15 minutes to teach you where your cheeks were, and you instantly were able to point out everyone else's cheeks. You're starting to put words together now... words like, "daddy shoe" or "daddy tool". You'll break out a "daddy hat" every now and then, and point to "daddy phone" when he's home. Now, if you'll notice a pattern, most of those words are about daddy. The only thing you point out as "mommy's" is the diaper bag or the van. And even then, you don't know the words for bag or van, so it's just "mommy!".
Shepherd, I think the thing I love most about you is the tenderness in your little toddler heart. A few weeks ago, there was a humongous wasp flying around in the kitchen while we ate breakfast. I hate wasps. They sting and hurt. So I took my sandal off, and promptly squashed that sucker flat. You took all of this in, and as soon as I'd killed the wasp, you broke into the most heartbreaking cry. You looked at me in horror, and screamed as I tried to comfort you. You'd have thought I had killed a tiny little kitten, not a venemous, evil wasp! At first I chalked it up to the loud noise of my sandal hitting the window, but then days later, as a big spider scurried across the floor, I stepped on it, and produced the same reaction from you. I guess we won't be telling you that those hot dogs you love to eat are made from "moos" (cows) anytime soon.
But by far, the best thing about this past month has been a renewed perspective of how much you really have grown. After coming home from the hospital, and holding you, I realized how much has changed in 18 months. Time has flown by, and for a moment, that first night home, time stood still as I rocked you in my arms for bed. You curled up on my chest, snuggled your face into my neck, and slowly drifted into sleep. As your breaths grew deeper, knowing you were asleep, I allowed myself a few tears... tears of joy for how much you've grown, yet tears of sorrow for how fast it has gone. I kicked myself for all those moments I had wished you'd just "grow up already!" and held you tight. I promised myself I'd try harder to enjoy each moment... to savor each and every day, because time passes so fast... and before I know it, you'll be a young man, no longer able to sit in my lap and fall asleep.
I love you, Pumpkin... with all of my heart.
Happy 18 months,