Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love letter to our little

Callen is 18 months! Man, I love this age!

This past Sunday, we formally dedicated Callen to the Lord. Of course, we'd done so many time in our personal thoughts and prayers as we sought guidance and asked for blessings for him. But Sunday our church community joined us in committing to do our best to show him Jesus, to give him unconditional love and to entrust him into God's hands day after day.

For a bit of background, in our church we treat dedication as more of a commitment on the part of the parents and church family to love and guide the child in the way of the Lord, rather than as a guarantee of the child's right-standing with God. We believe when the child is older, they still must choose for themselves whether to follow the Lord.

Our church invites parents to write a letter to their child expressing how the child is a gift and how they hope to guide the child. Our letter is as imperfect as we are parents, but also as full of love. Here is it (with some parenthetical notes).

Dear Callen,
You are our pumpkin bear, our chicken wiggle, our little man. (Josh asked that I read that first line. It might have, maybe, possibly had something to do with the fact that I critiqued his pronunciation of "pumpkin" during the letter composition: "Honey, it's more like punkin..." Knowing I would never make it through the whole thing without crying, I let him take it after that.) We are crazy about how God knit you together, though we know we will spend a lifetime getting to know all the wonders he has put inside you. We love your big hugs and little pats on the shoulder. You make us laugh with your silly ways, and we love watching you as you learn how to do it on purpose. You take joy in the small things and help us see light on dark days. And the way you and Gavin play is just awe-inspiring.

We are so, so grateful that God has chosen to make us your parents. Woohoo! (Somehow, the woohoo was not read aloud...hmmm...) We for sure hit the jackpot with you and Gavin. And we are so humbled. You and your brother make us want to be our best selves, and though we are frail, we know that the Lord is faithful to do more than we ask or seek as we continue to rely on Him.
Today we, with our family and our church community, pause in this sacred space and commit to do all we can to help you know and take stock in the love of a God who spared nothing, not even His own Son, to make a way for you to be His forever. How we hope that at each step, you say “yes” to what God has for you. Yes to grace, yes to joy, yes to love, yes to the adventure of faith. How we pray that the clumsy, imperfect way we walk this walk somehow still helps you see life with Jesus as the truest north, the greatest reality and worth anything you have to give up to pursue it whole-heartedly.

We pray that as you get to know your creator and as you live in community with your church family, you are inspired: (I added a few lines below after we read the letter in church because I kept struggling with how to say what I wanted to say until I was cutting up pineapple in a quiet house the next day. Doesn't that happen to everyone?)

To be kind – taking the time to make the world a better place in simple ways
To wonder – taking in the countless ways God weaves beauty into our lives
To be compassionate – seeing others as God does and acting out of a loving heart
To join God in his ongoing rescue of the oppressed – shining light in dark places
To keep your heart open – listening to others, giving help and being ready to receive help

Callen, you are already such a valued member of our community. We take joy in knowing that God will continue to use you to teach us. We look forward to learning from what we hope you are bold enough to share, and brave enough to ask. We pray that you and your brother love and lead, being always ready to humbly point people to Jesus.

As we share a few of the hopes and dreams we have for you today, we want you to know that we will love you no matter what you do. We hope you will always see our love as a safe place to come home to, and yet the love we have for you cannot compare to the love God has for you.

You are a treasure. We love you, son. 

Daddy and Mommy

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What Callen is doing at 14.5 months

I wrote a handful of these "what he is doing" posts for my first son, and in typical second-child fashion, I've done none for my second. Nor are there any pictures of him hanging on the wall. No photo books. His baby book is empty. Sigh.

But, our lives are full of joy, full of all kinds of chores and tasks, full of adventure, full of giggles and snickers and belly laughs -- full. And that's good. And here are some of the things that are filling us up lately.

Just today:

  • He was saying "du-du" for duck and making a Donald-Duck-type quacking sound (that he surely learned from daddy).
  • He was making a kissing sound! He's already blown kisses and given kisses, but today he just made the sound when we were talking about kisses and then later when we were tucking Gavin in for his nap. (Awww.)
  • He signed "milk!" (He's already doing "all done" and "more.")

Also recently, he's started saying his version of "blehck" when I say something is yucky (and just today, he did it when I said something was "not for babies" -- precious! And when he wants picked up, he holds his arms straight up and stiff now instead of relaxed like he used to and looks at us like, "I'm cute. I know this is cute!"

Last week, he started making the chomping sound when he eats something, or pretends to eat something, or when I find a scrap of paper on the floor and pick it up before he can grab it and put it in his mouth.

And when he finishes a sip of his drink, he sometimes says, "Ahh." Which he learned from his grandma. Ha ha!

Other sounds he makes: the vroom of a car or plane, the toot of a train and animal sounds for elephant, cat, dog, cow, horse.

His words are (in order of appearance):
da-da (just before 11 months)
ma-ma (used sparingly, usually when he's mad, just like Gavin did)
na-na: can mean any food, but usually banana, orange (because in Spanish it is naranja); he uses it more when he's eating something he loves
ba (can conveniently mean button, berries, ball, box, or any number of things) 

He loves to dance, even to something as simple as his brother's beat boxing and guitar sounds. He loves to clap, and if he doesn't have two hands free when he wants to clap, he'll pat his chest. He claps after songs, when he hears others clapping or when I tell him "good job." Be still my heart.

He loves toys! For as long as I can remember, he has loved them. Such a change from Gavin, who only loved playing outside or playing with me until he was about 3. Callen especially loves nesting cups, stacking, putting lids on containers and stirring with a spoon and bowl, but he will imitate almost any action with a toy the first time he sees it (if developmentally able). This should come in "handy" when his brother employs him as an accomplice for all his impish ideas...which I'm sure will happen way sooner than I think. Like tomorrow.

And finally, Callen's love tags: those sweet names that don't always make sense but are inspired by pure baby cuteness and flow out of my mouth when I'm all caught up in it. As you'll see below, the love tags have tended to revolve around anything having to do with pumpkins and bears. (I don't know why.)

Pumpkin Bear
Sweet Bear
Pumpkin Butter
Pumpkin Muffin
Wiggle Worm
Chicken Wiggle (because of the Slugs and Bugs songs that is just so perfect)
Cuddle Bear
Huggie Bear
Snuggle Bear
Snuggle Pop
Snuggle Pocket

And if you think some of those are weird, you should check out Gavin's baby/toddler love tag list. It was way weirder.