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Cigarettes, Coffee, and Your Birth Father

11 Nov

Hello my handsome five-year old :)

The last time I wrote to you was on World Adoption Day…2014. World Adoption Day 2015 was two days ago, and it was celebrated with love and happiness…and family of course!

As I’ve said to you multiple times, your existence and subsequent adoption brought love, joy, and family to so many lives. Thanks to this blog and my letters, you’ve heard my stories and perspective on that experience many times in many ways (and after going through the archives of this blog a few minutes ago, I’m so glad that’s true! So many sweet, funny, and beautiful memories!).

Your birth father, C, recently started a blog of his own called Cigarettes & Coffee (hence the name of this blog…just so you know it was a title, not a recommendation. Except for coffee, because it’s a life source). He, too, was moved by World Adoption Day, especially since it had touched his life in more ways that one. And for the first time, he wrote about his experience with your adoption.

C and I have had our love story and our…not-so-loving story. Teenage pregnancy is hard, and our relationship was no exception to the toll it can take on young love. We went from best friends, to lovers and partners, to strangers, and (luckily, happily) back to best friends. But today, this is actually not about my story or my perspective…it’s about his.

It wasn’t until yesterday, when we were talking back and forth about his blog before he posted it, that we realized we have never talked about our during- and post-pregnancy experiences – not since we became friends again. We have a coffee date (no cigarettes) planned for over the holidays to fix that. I’m so looking forward to it, which makes me even more grateful for our renewed friendship.

C’s capacity for openness and vulnerability are palpable in the telling of his story. His blog has the ability to touch so many…if there is anyone the adoption community hears less from than birth mothers, it’s birth fathers. I think his voice will be so appreciated.

And hopefully the person his voice touches the most, is you. He loves you so much. We’ve all been through our own journeys thanks to your amazing presence, and his is just as beautiful and life-changing and all of ours. I can’t wait to see what all you learn from him as you continue to grow.

Enjoy the insight into his heart and mind here.

I love you, Little Man.

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World Adoption Day

10 Nov

Dear Little Man,

Yesterday afternoon I was sifting through my Instagram feed when I came across this post from an actress I like:

world adoption day nina

Property of Nina Dobrev

Sharpie smiles? Happy faces? I like both of those! I checked it out and the photo caption indicated that they were celebrating something…World Adoption Day! Yesterday was the first ever World Adoption Day, an organization founded by many, but mostly pioneered by Adopt Together — a foundation that helps families raise money so that they can adopt (yes, having a heart big enough to lead you to adoption can cost a lot of money for the adoptive families!). It is “crowd funded,” meaning that the Adopt Together website raises money through donations of friends, family and even strangers. Yet another reminder of the power of love and the compassion that exists between people around the world :)

World Adoption Day invited people all over the world (and their friends and family) to post a photo of a “hands up smiley face” with the hashtag, “#worldadoptionday” to bring attention to the cause, to the families trying to bring a child home…and to adoption in general!

I was so excited a.k.a I immediately jumped on PicStitch, found some of my favorite photos and made THIS so that I could contribute to World Adoption Day!

WAD instagram

You, me and The B’s across the years!

Any and every foundation that supports, promotes and/or raises money for adoption warms my heart. There are so many elemental, beautiful things about adoption: creating families, helping children, spreading and sharing love, caring for others…adoption is beautiful on so many levels, I could never list them all. Open adoption in particular…I know my son, he knows me (and his birth father, and our parents and friends), and we’ve all gained such amazing extended families out of it. Every one — especially birth mothers! — deserve the opportunity to be part of something as beautiful as this. Little Man even knows to call me his birth mother now (a post on that is absolutely coming!). Sometimes, it’s stunning how lucky I am, and it’s all thanks to adoption. An entire day devoted to bringing awareness to it? I’m absolutely on board.

As I said in my Instagram post…”Open adoption is the thing, y’all. Spread the word!”

Many thanks to Adopt Together, World Adoption Day and all of its founders, organizations and supporters!

And thank YOU, Little Man, for bringing all of this joy to my life in the first place. Happy (technically late) November 9th, 2014, Liam. I love you more than words.

Love,
Renee (“Birth Mom” as you call me now :D)

And, of course, my official photo for #WorldAdoptionDay!

WAD smile

Check out World Adoption Day’s Facebook Page and “like” it to see all of the smiles!

The Weirdest Day of Every Mom’s Life

27 Aug

Dear Little Man,

Yesterday, the best and worst thing that could ever happen, happened.

Ever since I met J, I’ve watched her send Sports Man to school. When I met him, he was about to go into 2nd Grade. She told me about how he didn’t want to go because they had just adopted you a couple weeks beforehand, and he didn’t want to leave you. The year after that, when he started 3rd Grade, I drove down and spent the day with her — partially to see you and partially to hang out with her since she’s not a fan of “the first day of school.” Last year, she posted about how crazy it was that he was getting so big and this year, she told us how she cried driving him to his first day of 5th Grade.

I told her I would drive down to visit next year since I don’t think she could actually drive the car through all of the tears she’ll have going on his first day of (gulp) middle school. To which she responded , “You and I might just need to cry and hold each other for a little while because on Monday, Little Man starts preschool.”

Yesterday, you started preschool.

Okay, so it’s only three days a week for half days, but still…it’s school. It’s a milestone. It’s a big event. And according to J, you were super pumped. You ran right over to the toys and the other kids and you got right down to business. You weren’t the kind of kid who cried when his mom left; you were the kind who cried when he had to leave school. But right now, school mostly consists of toys and play time, so I guess I’m not surprised. Either way, I have to admit, that makes me proud. Plus if I were J, and you did cry when I dropped you off, I might die a little on the inside. And then whisk you home and never let you go ever again. I’m weak that way.

My baby officially goes to school. And before I know it, I’ll be seeing you off to your first day of 5th Grade. But for now, you are three and you are in preschool and you are blissfully unaware of how fast you are growing up. Unfortunately for me and J and parents all over the world with children in school, we are acutely, almost agonizingly aware of how quickly you are speeding away from the infant who used to fit perfectly in our arms.

So even though I didn’t get to be there in person — and even though you loved going — I officially became a mom who cried on her child’s first day of school. The upside of this is that J now has a crying buddy. The downside is that now both of us will be crying too hard to drive either of you anywhere. That’s probably the real reason behind why school buses were invented.

It was a big day for everyone. There was laughter, there were tears, but most importantly…there were pictures :)

Cutest backpack ever? (Nice job, J!)

Cutest backpack ever? (Nice job, J!)

 

You're a big boy like Sports Man now!

You’re a big boy like Sports Man now!

You're already making friends :)

You’re already making friends :)

And playing with trains...look how excited you are! I love it :)

And playing with trains…look how excited you are! I love it :)

Off you go...and so it begins <3

Off you go…and so it begins <3

Thank you for the pictures, J, they were perfect :)

The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Learn

26 Aug

Dear Little Man,

This past June I did what every 20-something should do at least once: I backpacked through Europe. Now before we get any grand ideas, by “backpacking” I don’t mean I trekked through the mountains of Europe in hiking boots with just a compass and my sense of adventure. I mean I pre-booked trains and flights and hostels and had a few minor panic attacks when I thought I was going to miss any travel connections. But I did pack a month’s worth of belongings into an over-sized REI backpack…ergo, I backpacked through Europe. Just roll with it.

No matter how you define “backpacking,” I saw some incredible places on my trip. Your Aunt S and I met up in France and traveled to Spain, Germany, and Ireland at which point we parted ways and she flew home as I continued my European exploration in England.

I climbed the Eiffel Tower (despite my paralyzing fear of heights because, um, it’s the Eiffel Tower)…

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel 2

And hung out in the Alcázar Palace in Spain….

Spain

And drank massive beers in Munich…

Giant Beer!

Glug, glug...

And went scuba diving in Nice…

Scuba Diving

And found five-leaf clovers in Galway…

Five-Leaf Clover

And ate and ate and ate some more.

European Food!

It was amazing. The people I met, the cultures I was immersed in, the daily adventures I went on with your Aunt S…it was everything I always thought it would be. I’ve always wanted to travel, especially around Europe, and my month-long excursion was definitely worth how poor I am now. I ate and I laughed and I danced and I could really breathe for the first time in months. It was glorious, and perfectly timed.

But everywhere I went, I thought of you. I wanted to show you the carvings on the underside of the Arc de Triomphe and the view of Paris from the tip top of Montmartre. I wanted you to see just how blue water can be and how fish look when you’re swimming right beside them. I wanted to tell you about the feeling you get when your legs are dangling over the edge of the Cliffs of Mohar (not entirely legal, by the way) and you can’t even breathe because it’s so beautiful and you feel so small.

But since I couldn’t bring the real you with me, I brought our story instead. But the first time I brought you up, I noticed I was a little nervous. I suddenly realized that I didn’t know how adoption translated…literally and metaphorically. How do I say, “I have a son but I don’t have him because I chose other people to raise him and be his family because I thought that’s what was best for him?” That particular sentence is not in any French phrase book. I know, I was surprised too.

The first person I told our story to was our friend and host, François — he was kind enough to let us sleep on his couch during our stay in Paris. I was going through pictures on my phone at dinner one night, and since most of my photos are of you, he glanced over and saw one. He asked me, “Is that your nephew?” I smiled and corrected him and quickly launched into the story of your adoption and The B’s. He looked surprised at first, but just for a second…and then he asked all about you. One of the last things he said to me was before we left for Spain was, “Say hello to your little boy for me. It’s things like him that make life beautiful. That’s what it’s all about.” So, hello from François :)

When I told our story to the woman we stayed with in Provence, Elodie, she started talking about how she couldn’t wait to have children with her soon-to-be husband. She told me the boy and girl names she’d already picked out.

When I told Florian, our German host, he told me he hoped that if he had any kids, he wanted them to have curly blonde hair like yours.

When I told the woman who worked in the coffee shop in Dublin on my last morning there (she stole a glance at a photo of you like François did), she said she’d never heard of anything like our adoption story, but that it was inspiring because she and her husband were trying to adopt in Ireland and they’d been on a waiting list for over a year. She said our story gave her hope and made her smile and she was glad I had walked in that morning.

I learned a lot of things when I was overseas. I learned about cultures and languages and history and methods of travel. I learned what orejas a la plancha means (pigs ears…don’t order it) and how thin hostel mattresses can be. I learned how you can live on zero sleep and still feel more alive than you’ve ever felt. But what surprised me the most was that our story did translate…it didn’t matter that I didn’t speak the language or that some words only elicited confused smiles and shoulder shrugs.

Love is palpable. Especially the love I have for you and The B’s…it doesn’t need to be verbalized to be felt.

All of these people I told our story to, they have dreams of that kind of love too. They hope and they dream of beautiful, curly haired children that they want to love someday. Different people from different countries with different languages, all with the same desires. So different in culture, but so similar in heart. We are not alone. Love…it really is the universal language. That discovery — even if it had been the only thing I learned — would have made the entire trip worth it. I thank you and Europe for teaching me that.

Oh, and just so you know, ‘adoption’ in French is the same as in English. Turns out I didn’t need to worry about translating it after all :)

“The most important thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Open Adoption Bloggers

24 Jan

Open Adoption Bloggers

Dear Little Man,

Along with our mention on BlogHer, your letters are now part of a wonderful site I found called Open Adoption Bloggers! It’s a collective of people from all over who are involved (or want to be involved) in open adoptions, and our site has been added!

I’ve found other birth mother blogs (eee!), prospective parent blogs, a “roundtable” for discussions, interviews, book reviews…it’s incredible! It’s like a card catalog for adoption blogs: I love all of the info I’ve found, but mostly I just love the access to all of the other open adoption bloggers out there — you really get the 360 degree view of what open adoption is really about and how others have handled it. There’s even a few blogs written by adoptees involved in open adoptions…something you may think about one day.

However — not that I’m biased or anything — I think you and I and The B’s still top the ‘Awesome Open Adoption Chart.’ Either way, stay tuned. I have a feeling we’re about to learn a lot… :)

My Friends Are Married

23 Jan

Dear Little Man,

One day you’re going to reach a magical age. It’s not when you turn 16 and get a license. It’s not when you turn 18 and you can vote. It’s not even when you turn 21 and you can drink (if you so choose. And if you do choose, try the Brews Cruise in Asheville — Beer City USA).

No, this magical age is “magical” because it doesn’t just last for one year. It doesn’t even last for two. It’s at least a solid decade of your life. A solid decade of an age I like to call, Everyone I Know Is Getting Married.

Now, I love weddings. I really, truly do. I like being invited to them, I like being in them, I like the dressing up and the celebration of love and the pretty decorations and the vows and the dancing (especially the dancing. Cupid Shuffle!). Weddings are something that I always look forward to, and even though it’s the festivities that bring me out, it’s the declarations of love that make it meaningful.

One of the best weddings I’ve been to was the only wedding I’ve ever been in. Your Aunt C married her Hubby in September 2011. The day of the celebration we ate cheeseburgers while we got ready and I saved the day by running down a grassy hill in heels (harder than it sounds) to retrieve tequila out of the car so the bride could, ahem, calm her nerves before she walked down the aisle. The ceremony (like, the entire ceremony) lasted less than 10 minutes, but the food and celebrating went all night. We set up tents outside and camped at the site once the reception was over. The sun was shining, the decorations were beautiful and all of our friends were there.

I was 20 years old at that wedding. It was the second one I’d been to that year, but I’d been invited to three others. Since the age of 21, twelve of my Facebook friends have gotten engaged. Since the beginning of 2013 (as in 23 days ago), I’ve already received two wedding invitations. The Age of Marriage has begun. It’s really exciting…

…but also not. To be blunt, on Facebook, weddings get pretty annoying. Partly because the repetition gets tiring (12+ Facebook friends posting about the same thing…it’s like the 2012 election all over again). But also because brides-to-be post status after status about caterers and locations and dresses and dates and stress and excitement and…then I’m not sure what they talk about because I’m too busy drooling on myself after falling asleep at my keyboard.

I understand that this will eventually be hypocritical. I know I’ll be excited and I’ll post pictures and maybe even a wedding status or two (or three) when I become a fiancé. But I’m going to do my best to save the Facebook world from my agonizing decision over whether the tablecloths should be cream or off-white.

Aside from the sometimes aggravating social media reminders, weddings themselves are generally great. Free food and cake and a wonderful thing to celebrate — as an attendee, it’s a no-brainer. But I sometimes wonder if people see past that. The ceremonies and receptions have gotten so hyped up in the past several years that, when the question is popped, we immediately think about celebration…and not the actual marriage that follows it.

Though I was never the little girl who planned her whole wedding by age six, I did always think that I’d get engaged at 26. Why 26? At the time I decided that, I had no clue. I think I just wanted to pick a mid-20’s number and 25 seemed too clean cut. But as I (slowly and ever so agelessly) approach my mid-twenties, I realize that I chose my mid-to-late-twenties because by then, I’d be mature enough to see past the wedding.

By then, I would have gone places and done things and had adventures and be ready to quiet down (a little). I would understand that when you’re proposed to, you think about the guy — not the ring, not the color of the bridesmaids dresses, not your next Facebook status…you think about this person asking you to spend the rest of your life with him and you understand that “yes” means for the rest of your natural life. If you’re mature enough to really comprehend that at 21, full steam ahead! But — not to doubt my own age group — I’m not sure if most 21-year-olds can do that, myself included. I’d start thinking about what kind of cake I want and that would be the end of it.

I’ve seen it happen, though. I follow a few high school friends who are not only married, but also have kids, and they remain in very happy marriages. I have close friends who are married or engaged and, though they are all older than me, I feel very confident in the solidarity of their relationships — as do they. I’m definitely not saying it can’t be done. I’m positive it can. I’m just saying that personally, I wouldn’t mind taking the next 5+ years to think about it. Not surprisingly, The Boyfriend is okay with that. We love each other very much. We’re together. We’re happy. We don’t share a bank account. That’s what matters.

I think relationships are all about taking it day-by-day. But just in case you end up with plans, I was wondering if you could block out some time for me between the ages of six and twelve? I may not know what color tablecloths I want, but I’d really like you to be the ring bearer ;)

P.S. — My Friends Are Married is a hilarious tumblr, and I say that as a (relatively) taken woman.

Grown Up Story Time

17 Jan

Dear Little Man,

I am a runner. Not a fast one or a long-distance one, but I do love to run. It’s very cathartic to me — it helps me clear my mind and it helps to get rid of my jitters when I have too much energy. But mostly running lets me get “out of my head” for a little bit, as they say — I’d probably lose my sanity if I stopped doing it.

I think about your letters a lot when I run. I actually started running after you were born. I ran on and off in high school, but never very seriously. I still had great metabolism then, so exercise was more for something to do than something to keep me healthy. But along with the 30 pounds I gained during pregnancy, I also gained a  new respect for the whole exercise thing.

During the school year, I run at the gym. It’s free since I’m a student and the facility is relatively new so I like to take advantage of the nice equipment, not to mention the convenience. But during the summer (or freakishly warm winter days, like the past few), I run around The Lake, less than a mile from my apartment.

I love The Lake. The view is beautiful and the path is a lovely figure-eight shape, perfect for running laps that won’t bore you to tears (like tracks…I really don’t like tracks. It’s one of my ever-so-charming quirks).

I’m never alone when I run around The Lake. The only running mate I actually bring along with me is my iPod, but other people are always walking around The Lake. Old couples walk hand-in-hand, mothers power-walk with their babies in strollers, people walk their dogs, and other seasoned athletes (literally) run laps around me…it’s always buzzing with activity, and I love activity.

But one of the other things I love about all of these people, is that they bring out the writer in me. As I run (ahem, jog) past an old man with the cane, I wonder what his life has been like. Has he ever been in love? What is the best adventure he’s ever been on? Has he ever gone overseas? Did he used to be a runner? Does he have any regrets, does he want any do-overs? Is he going home to anyone? Does he have any kids or grandkids? Does he tell old war stories or yell at kids to get off his lawn?

I do the same thing when I see the dog-walkers and stroller-joggers and elderly hand-holders. Where have they been? What have they seen? Who do they love? Who do they miss? What is their story?

Because — something to know about me — I am of the mind that everyone has a story. Everyone has an adventure. Everyone has a turning point. Everyone has a pivotal moment. Everyone has lots of pivotal moments. Even the people who think they lead uneventful lives probably have a tale worth listening to.

These letters are part of my story. They’re part of yours too. Our stories will be forever intertwined, though yours will take on a more…independent tone as you get older. They won’t relate to me or The B’s, they’ll relate to you and your experiences with other aspects of your life.

But never forget…every story deserves to be told. Not everybody writes theirs down and not everybody wants to share. It’s understandable, but stories get lost that way. I’ve always been a sucker for listening to them — all I did as a kid was ask people to tell me about their lives (a future psych major if I’ve ever seen one) — and now, as a writer, I”m a sucker for telling them.

I will always remember something my dad (Pop Pop 3) told me back when I was 13 or 14. We were visiting my Grandma Lou. She was in her early 90’s though you’d never be able to tell it from her looks and spunk. My dad was on his way out to pick up some lunch to bring back and he asked me if I wanted to ride with him or stay to keep my grandmother company. I loved my Grandma Lou, but I had no idea what to talk to her about (I was sooo tired of hearing about her bad knees), but since she was so elderly, I treated every visit with her like it was my last one. Because…well..it might have been.

As I  hesitated with my answer, my dad noticed and he said, “You know, she’s in her 90’s. She’s not going to be around much longer. And once she’s gone, all of her stories will be too. You should hear them while you can.”

He was right. So I stayed. I asked about her childhood. I asked about where she grew up. I asked her about how she met and fell in love with my grandpa, who I never got to meet. I asked her to tell that story a lot over the next couple of years (she didn’t die until I was 16 and she was 95). I love love stories, and she had the perfect, old fashioned tale to tell about ending up with my Grandpa Bernie. I’m glad I asked her because now, I have that story to pass on. It’s a good one. It shouldn’t have been missed.

So when I’m older and I’m walking around the local lake with my cane (or holding the hand of my old, wrinkly husband) and I’m passed by some young jogger, I’ll smile and think of all of the wonderful stories I’ve accumulated over the years. Unless I’m senile. Then I’ll wonder where I am, how I got there and who is the strange man holding my hand.

Either way, you’ve given me an incredible story to tell. I hope you end up with my curiosity to know the stories of others. I hope you always remember that yours is worth telling, too…

Because even if you don’t, J and I are thinking about turning it into a book anyway :)

The No-pocalypse

21 Dec

Dear Little Man,

As I’m sure you’ll hear many years from now, the world was set to end (for the hundredth time) on December 21, 2012. That’s today. I haven’t perished yet, as far as I can tell.

J and I planned out Christmas get-together last week and without really thinking, we said, “Hey, Friday works for me!” not remembering that “Friday” happened to be the end-all-be-all of world happenings.

 

Here is why I don’t accept the December 21st apocalypse theory (a.k.a The No-pocalypse):

– I haven’t graduated college yet. I’m set to graduate in May. I want recognition for all of the gray hairs I’ve earned in the past four years. The world cannot end until I graduate.

– I already bought Christmas presents with what little money I have. I did not buy presents with the anticipation that they would incinerate before they could reach their recipients.

– You can’t rent a car until you’re 25. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to achieve that milestone.

– I want you to be old enough to understand your circumstances: all about your adoption, how it came about, everything since then and everything in between :)

– I want you to be old enough to hug me because you wanted to, and not because I chased you down.

– I want to be a grandma someday. Not for 25+ years mind you, but still.

– I STILL haven’t found out who Ted’s wife is.

– I want to know how mortgages work before I die.

– Actually, maybe I don’t.

– I have never been to see the circus. Neither have you. Go together?

– I’ve always wanted to plan one of those super cute, kid birthday parties that you see on super-mom blogs and Pinterest. You know, the ones with the incredible handmade decorations, adorable cupcake toppers, cute gift bags, etc. In other words, I want to plan a party like J can.

– I’ve never read The Lord of the Rings series. The Boyfriend has informed me that this is unacceptable and possible grounds for a break-up. But I went to see The Hobbit with him earlier this week, so I think we’re still solid.

– I want to see what you’ll look like in a year. And in five years. And ten years. And twenty.

– I want to watch you graduate!

– I want to see if Sports Man grows up to work for ESPN someday. I’m putting money on that.

– J’s craft shop Out On A Limb is just getting started, and is WAY to cute to go up in flames today.

– Because Grandma M, Pop-Pop and I still haven’t decorated our Christmas tree yet.

– The Boyfriend is in a far away land called Cleveland, or The Part of Ohio Where the Browns Are. I’d at least like to give him a good-bye kiss.

– I want you to fall asleep on me like you did when you were a baby, just one more time. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

– I want to provide you with a half-sibling (or two) someday :)

– Because watching you grow is way too much fun to stop now.

 

But here’s the really good news about today. Whether it’s the end of the world or not, I get to spend it with you :)

And no matter what day it is — universally significant or not — there’s no place I’d rather be than with you and the rest of my lovely (extended) family!

Happy No-pocalypse Day!

A Monumental Occasion in the Bedroom

28 Nov

Dear Little Man,

As a parent, I’ll be the first to admit that your child’s early life is all about milestones. The first words, the first attempts at crawling, the first steps. I was thrilled at all of your firsts, no matter how small or silly: the first time you tried to roll over. The first time you actually rolled over. The first time you called me Nay Nay. The first time I saw you work an iPad without assistance (I’m still wowed by that…)

This week you hit another first, but I find I’m not so thrilled. And if I’m assuming correctly, neither is J.

Here is this week’s milestone:

 

That, my dear son, is a toddler bed. The crib is no more. Bye bye baby crib, hello huge, blue toddler bed.

Or should I say, hello giant-blinking-neon-sign-screaming-Liam’s-Growing-Up! Again, I am always excited at your constant progress towards actual personhood, but this is just sad. How can I call you a baby when you don’t even have a crib anymore?

Oh wait, I know the answer to that one. I’ll call you my baby forever because I’m your mom and I get to do things like that. So HA.

Enjoy your toddler bed because with the frequency that you get up after you’ve been put to bed (and the lack of bars making it more difficult to climb out), I have a feeling you’ll be the only one in your household enjoying that bed.

I love you. Stop growing up.

-Mama Nay Nay

Dirt for Dinner?

26 Nov

Dear Little Man,

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and on that lovely holiday I reminisced on how thankful I was for you. Your existence was and always will be my own little miracle. Though I’m thankful for you every day I was reallllly thankful this past Friday because I got to see you!

You and The B’s came down to The Boyfriend’s farm in North Carolina and our families spent the day together. There was a tractor so you were all set for most of the visit, but I was able to tear you away to play catch with one of the dogs when you first got there. You actually spent most of the day with Pop Pop, and if you weren’t with him, you were asking for him. He was definitely the favorite on this trip. You wanted him around for everything. It was actually pretty adorable.

However, during the few minutes I was able to get you off the tractor, The Boyfriend and I took you to play in some dirt flats out by their driveway. You had a ball — you were picking up the dirt and watching it sift through your fingers, totally fascinated by how it felt, your little face screwed up in concentration as you tried to figure out why you couldn’t keep a hold of it. It was one of those “little kid moments” that adults witness and it makes them pause for a minute. And as we watch how filled with wonder our children are at the small things in life, we smile and realize how the small things really are what matter the most sometimes and how the world is filled with magic in places that we’ve forgotten to look as we’ve aged. I was having one of those moments as I wanted you dig your little hands into the dirt.

And then you ate it.

The magic was pretty much gone after that, but it was replaced by laughter and a familiar fondness that I’ve always had for your adorable quirks. You seemed pretty surprised that the dirt tasted bad…or maybe it tasted great and it was just the texture that threw you off. Either way, you made one of your ever entertaining funny faces and The Boyfriend helped you get the dirt out of your mouth.

I fed you some ham later. You had a better reaction to eating that.

But I just wanted to remind you that I am always, always, always thankful for you and your existence. You are the smile on my face and the warmth in my heart and I am thankful every day that I get to write letters to someone I love as much as you.

xoxoxo

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