8 years ago today I was in the hospital about to have our second son, in massive amounts of pain. He was doing his own thing and taking his sweet precious time, which makes perfect sense to me now, 8 years later. It’s so the way he does life. Chill. Laid back. Relaxed. Whatever man. That’s Josh.
As a baby he was our hardest, which is ironic. Hardest delivery, hardest baby, easiest kid. He had the kind of reflux that required a large sink when he spit up. He couldn’t keep anything down, and I spent most nights lying next to his swing re-inserting his paci. I didn’t sleep much that first year. He couldn’t sleep in his crib because of all the spit up, and the swing didn’t exactly survive his first year either. I think it went straight to the dump as soon as he outgrew it.
We spent that first year in and out of Dr’s appointments, generally just living in a state of frustration that no one seemed to be able to help him. We did the swallow test and saw the reflux specialists. I had to thicken all his food and he was on the strongest reflux medicine available, and still, sick.
He had infections all the time. Antibiotic after antibiotic and still…..sick. I have the world’s best pediatrician and staff, and we joked at how much I had spent on co-pays in Josh’s first year of life. I was in and out of their office all the time because just about every 3 weeks he would get sick. Finally, I took him to an ENT who was a God send. He found bacterial infections that weren’t getting better and connected the dots between all his infections and his adenoids and reflux. He did emergency surgery the next day, on his day off no less, and after that Josh’s entire world changed. He was healthy. He started talking and walking and has hardly been sick a day since. He also got his tonsils out a few years ago, which helped him stop snoring. Vacations in hotel rooms with that kid were totally off the table. Talk about a freight train coming through the room. His snoring shook the walls. Good bye tonsils.
Josh is easy. He has his quirks of course, no kid is perfect. But he’s solid. Sure of who he is. He has a deeply rooted sense of right from wrong. He has the ability to sense sadness from a mile away and will be the first one in my arms at the slightest hint of an off day for me. He’s always asking if I’m ok.
He’s aware and intuitive and he feels deeply. Ya’ll. He LOVES penguins. I mean, it’s so endearing it’s ridiculous. Since he was 2 he’s wanted a pet penguin and he still sleeps with two of them, one in either arm, every. single. night. I hope he never stops loving penguins.
He’s kind and smart and funny. He’s sensitive. He gets his feelings hurt easily and shuts down the minute he feels anything less than praise, which drives me insane. My mom and dad said I did the same thing as a kid, so I guess there’s that, coming around to bite me. Hello parenthood.
Josh is cuddly. Invading your personal space every chance he gets, and if you show any sign of not wanting to be touched, he’ll go in for the kill. Josh is like a really big dog who thinks he’s a puppy. He’ll crawl up into my lap all the time and I’m pretty sure he’ll do it well after he’s too big to. He wants to be a kid forever. And that’s sort of ok with me.
He never wants to leave home, so he says, and cries already at the very thought of college. We’re working on fostering some independence, but secretly I tell him it’s ok. Stay at home with momma as long as you want you cutie.
Don’t tell Rob I said that.
Josh is tender. He’s the one putting his arm around his friends when they’re sad or when they get an out at baseball. He’s the quarterback of his flag football team and I’m seeing glimpses of this leader he could emerge into one day, when he does finally get out of his momma’s lap.
He loves to eat and when he gets hungry, he gets mean, so watch out. And if he’s tired too? Run away. He can eat an entire plate of pancakes the size of his face in one sitting, which makes him even cooler, and has a never-ending belly for his Gigi’s green beans. He’s a connoisseur of really good fries, which he apparently gets from me. Hello cholesterol. We’re watching that too.
I’m not really sure what life would look like without him. He’s such a bright spot in our family, all of our kids are, but Josh is particularly easy to love and like. He’s a good friend, a sometimes annoying brother, and an amazing kid to us. He’s going to move mountains one day, I know it. But until then it’s our joy to get to watch him grow up. To become a little human adult one day. Isn’t that the coolest thing about parenting? That one day our smelly kids who can’t find their socks will get to be actual people taking part in our world and we get to be a part of that? It scares the crap out of me sometimes, this raising kids thing, but I wouldn’t want to do anything else with my life, and Josh has a way of reminding me of that just about every day.
He LOVES baseball and football. He’s into trading cards and he’s so totally into accessories. He’s currently sleeping in boxer briefs, a Seattle Seahawks jersey that he got for his birthday and, wait for it, 5 bracelets. The cool rubber ones with sports teams on them and one from his teacher for his birthday, not the girly ones. He’s been known to sleep in helmets and sunglasses. Another thing that makes him particularly awesome.
We love you to the moon and back. Thank you for always giving me hugs, especially when I’m failing at life and parenting. Thanks for always noticing when I need some extra attention. Thanks for loving my pumpkin bread. That will forever bind us together. Thank you for loving your friends more than you love yourself and for bugging the heck out of Lila, because she’ll grow up to stand firmly on her own two feet because of you. Thank you for giving your all in everything you do. You make me want to be better, try harder, and foster more patience and kindness in my own life. What kid does that? Thank you for being who you are, and knowing who you are not.
Thank you for loving life, and pancakes, and ranch dressing. Thank you for playing with my hair and hugging me in the cafeteria, when lots of kids your age are totally too cool for that stuff. You make me smile and laugh and cry and sometimes scream, but that’s normal, so it’s cool. Thank you for loving Molly and rescuing every animal known to man. We love life with you and can’t wait to see what God does in your life and who He raises you to become. Stay kind, love Jesus, and love others as you do now. Care more about the needs of people than your own, and be the kind of kid that everyone wants to be around for all the right reasons. Be the one to stand in the gap for those in need and don’t be afraid to speak truth. Because you are a truth speaker. You are a leader. Work hard and don’t make excuses for your mistakes. Own them and learn from them. Respect authority and strive to make the world a better place, putting Christ first in all you do. Because He is the only true reward and prize. We are so unbelievably proud of you and so thankful we get to be your parents. We love you Joshy.