Letter to Zeke: Fourteen Months

February 18th, 2009 by Rainey

Dear Zeke,

On January 13 you turned thirteen months old. The next day your great-grandmother died. Needless to say, we had very little time to celebrate your milestone.

We whisked you up to Ohio to be with the family for Nana’s funeral. When we arrived we, and most of the extended family, fell victim to a dreaded stomach bug that forced your daddy to miss most of the visitation (which was no small feat, since it lasted from 2-9 pm!) and made you a pretty miserable little bird for most of the trip. It also caused your cousin Andrew to miss all of the visitation, sent your great-grandpa to the hospital in the middle of the visitation due to exhaustion, dehydration, and low blood sugar, made your great-great uncle Lyle miss the funeral and just generally added an unneeded damper to the trip.

As we traveled the eight hours home following the funeral, you threw up in your carseat repeatedly and were just generally unhappy. The only redeeming factor was that your aunt Katie was there to comfort you.

When we returned home, the dreaded bug stayed with you for another week and you managed to also pick up a cold somewhere along the way (probably from your Aunt Katie who suffered from one the entire time we were in Ohio.)

It was not a great beginning to your fourteenth month of life, but it did prove to us, yet again, that we can make it through tough times and survive.

2009 has not yet proven to be the best of years. We are still grieving over your great-grandmother. We have all been sick. The long-time minister of music at your Poppa’s church decided to move to another position.   Your daddy’s parents have been going through rough times.  One of your mama’s youth hit a true rough patch that led to some less than ideal situations. And various other things have hit us pretty hard.

The bright side to all of that is that you continue to grow and learn and smile and thrive.

This month you have begun waving in earnest. You climb the stairs and rush headlong towards them to go down on your own…though we don’t let you quite yet. You are becoming more and more proficient at going down them on your bottom with momma and daddy’s help. You are very much a fan of your momma right now, though you will deign to spend time with your daddy if she leaves the room.

You have had some special bonding times with daddy as of late though.  Mama has had to lead a weekend youth retreat at our retreat center, which put her out of sight and out of mind for the better part of two days.  I also took the youth skiing and was away from you for about 12 hours–the longest I have been away from you ever in your short life.  It was probably a good bit harder for me than for you.  You seemed like life had treated you pretty well while I was gone.  :)

Your daddy and I sure do love you a lot.  We love reading you books and watching and hearing you try to read them back to us.  You love dancing to music and especially love your Raffi cd that comes on every night before your bath.  You light up at the first notes and tilt your head left and right in time to the music, lifting your hands and fiddling your fingers as if you were conducting a tiny little orchestra.

We have solidified your bedtime routine.  Now, instead of nursing to sleep, we listen to Raffi, read books, and then nurse downstairs.  Then it is upstairs with daddy for bath, brushing your teeth, singing, pj’s, and bed.  You are becoming a better sleeper. We have found that all the traveling and sickness has put sleep on the back burner somewhat. But we are getting there.

This month you spent a weekend with Mama at Duke in which you were able to have two whole days of bonding with Poppa while I was in meetings.  You toured the entire campus, falling asleep on your grandpa’s chest in Duke gardens (it was an unseasonably warm day)…you spent the next day at home making sure everything was growing in the gardens and that your little red wagon was still operating correctly.  You are certainly the apple of your grandfather’s eye.  And your grandma likes you pretty well too!  :)

You still love crowds of people, showing off and laughing, pointing out things you see to complete strangers.  At church you demanded that one of the older men pick you up at a Wednesday night dinner and then asked for a cookie by pointing and grunting.  I think you are figuring out that other people might let you get away with things that your parents don’t.

You are still working on language, pointing to things and grunting “dat?”  We answer and you seem to file away all that knowledge to use at a later date.  You do say “out” and “go.”  Which both make sense.  You grab your coat and urge us to help you put it on.  You bring your shoes to us and cry if we ignore you.  You want to be on the move at all times…especially outdoors.

For a few days we had warm weather.  You got a taste for walks up and down the sidewalk and exploring the great world around you.  It has been a cruel joke from Mother Nature that today we got snow and sleet…

Soon it will be spring.  We look forward to the change in weather, hoping it brings brighter days for all of us.

We are so thankful that you are part of our lives. That, even in the midst of Very Hard Times, you can pull us back into joy.  You are a gift.

We love you,

Mama

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