Letter to Zeke: Twelve Months

December 20th, 2008 by Rainey

Dear Zeke:

You are a year old!  It is so hard to believe that only 12 months ago we brought you home from the hospital.  Our lives have never been the same.  We are so glad that you have come into our lives and changed them forever!

This month was a month of discovery as your personality continued to blossom.  Your signs of affection are continuing to develop as you give hugs and kisses and even make the MWAH sound when you slobber your kisses onto our cheeks (or heads, or backs, or hair…you are fairly indiscriminate with your affection)

We made the longest roadtrip in one day to date when we traveled to Ohio to visit your great-grandparents.  Your great-grandmother (Nana) was moved to hospice and so we spent the bulk of our week in the residential hospice center there in Perrysburg.

You didn’t seem to mind.

You loved walking in and out of the doors, closing them behind you, making your “rounds” through the halls.  You visited the fish tank, the family room with your favorite ceramic dog (that you loved to hug and kiss), and generally brightened up the place.

One afternoon the pastor from Nana and Gramps church came to have a family communion service.  Though I had taken you out to play during his visit the day before, that day you sat on my lap.  You just listened, focused and alert, as he read scripture, shared memories, and prayed.  You sat as we shared communion and said the Lord’s Prayer, occasionally nodding when you seemed to agree with what was said.  I told Pastor Tim that he had his own “Amen” corner, and though he was Lutheran, you were obviously a Baptist.  When we stood to recite the 23rd Psalm together, you tried to join in, speaking and hooting for the first time since we gathered.  I will always treasure those moments.  You seemed to know that it was important and something we were doing together for each other.

This month was also the month that you got as sick as you have ever been.  What started out like a cold devolved into diarrhea, vomiting, and a high, high fever.  Three sleepless nights for your parents.  One very sick little boy.  Finally, after the first night of not being able to keep anything down, we took you to the doctor.  Ruling out the flu and other normal maladies, she sent us to the hospital for tests.  They did bloodwork, a urinalysis, and chest x-rays.  And thank goodness your daddy was there, because when the nurses had a hard time drawing your blood, your momma had to leave so that she wouldn’t physically pull them off of you or say something horrid.

Seeing you waiting for x-rays in that hospital gown three sizes too big, I was filled with thankfulness that, for the most part, you are a very healthy baby.  The sense of helplessness and worry that I couldn’t tamp down as hard as I tried went away as you got better.  For parents who deal with long-term illnesses, I cannot imagine how they cope.  We are thankful for good medical care, good health insurance, and your good health.  And we pray for those facing more difficult times, even as we thank God for our blessings.

You survived.  And we did too.  And after one night of semi-good sleep, we gathered at the church’s retreat center to celebrate your first birthday.  In the midst of doing umpteen loads of laundry and trying to keep you hydrated, your daddy and I also were preparing two pounds of barbeque, a ridiculous amount of coleslaw, buying party supplies, making photo magnet favors, ordering a monkey cake, and making banana bread cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

We gathered at the lodge with some of your favorite people: some of the folks from my office, your buddy GHF and Miss Peg, your grandmas A and W, your poppa, your grandpa, your nanny M and her mom, Miss Mattie, Dan and Meg, and your uncles Tony and Mark and aunt Chandra!  :)

It was a great day.  You still weren’t feeling completely “up to par,” but you were a happy little clam nonetheless.  Miraculously, we averted a sleeply meltdown for the most part, and brought you home for a nap.

It was a good day.

As you get older, we are reminded each day of what a blessing you are.  We love your giggles, your silly games, the way you walk around patting your belly or with your hands clasped behind your back, the way you grab books and hand them to us to read to you, the way you get a gleam in your eye and a funny pursed lip smile when you know you are getting away with something, the way you shake your head yes or no when we ask you questions, and the way you fill our lives with laughter, new challenges, and fun.  Always so much fun.

We love you, little man.

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