to samuel at 5 months

My sweet Samuel,

Well, ok, let’s just gather ’round the elephant in the room and say, yes, son, you are getting ripped off. I wrote these every month for your sister, at least for awhile, and this – 5 months in- is your first.

Have we stared at that big dumb elephant long enough? I’m staring, staring… ok. It’s gone.

Let me begin by saying that you have given me a new answer to the question,

“How’s the baby?”

People ask that all the time. It happened twice just today, when I had you wrapped tight to my torso in your favorite place in the world, heartbeat to heartbeat, my lips to your head. I ‘wear’ you all the time,
1. because you are happy there, with me, and
2. because I like to have you close.

And when people stop to chat with me, or they notice the baby strapped to my front, they always ask some form of the question,

“How’s the baby?”
And all I can say, in complete honesty, almost apologetically, is that you are a slice of heaven. A golden slice of heaven, set gently in my arms and into our family. Oh my GOSH it’s so cheesy, it’s absolutely disgusting, but SAM! You are the nicest baby I’ve ever met. From the moment I laid eyes on you, from the moment I felt your tiny body against my chest, I have known a new kind of peace. A new kind of quiet. And let me tell you, my son, my boy-
it is good.
Your spirit is a good kind of quiet. Not serious, no, not the stern quiet of libraries. Not scary, not the tense quiet after a fight. It’s a smile instead of a laugh. It’s that far away hum and thrill of swinging alone in the park. It’s tea, not coffee. It’s bourbon, not rum. It’s a blade of grass bending towards the sunrise.

It’s different from your sister. It’s so different from me.
It’s a lot like your dad.

In fact, the two of us are constantly just sort of exclaiming over you,
“He’s so wonderful! Isn’t he so wonderful? Can you believe this guy? Can you believe he’s our son?”

You sleep on your stomach, and you always have. You’re not really supposed to do that, you know, they all say not to let a baby sleep on their stomach, but you always have. Even the nurses in the NICU let you sleep like that, which is sort of unheard of. Gosh, even they loved you, buddy. They would all come through your little curtained off cube and smile at your head of dark hair, your tan skin, and say

“He’s so calm.”
I never want to forget that.
Or these things:

-Your smile is THE BEST. You make people feel like they made your day, the way you light up whenever they make eye contact. I can tell you are smiling even if I’m holding you outward, because you smile with your entire body. Oh, my baby, how that smile makes us laugh and laugh. You are sunshine.

-You fall asleep so easily. No fussing. I’ll just be holding you, chatting with someone, and suddenly you’re asleep in my arms. Or I lay you down in your bed and maybe you’ll fuss for a minute? And then I’ll look up from working and realize you’ve been asleep for an hour. I didn’t know babies could do that.

-You lay your head on our shoulder when you are upset. Sometimes your daddy will hear you crying and ask me what you need, and I’ll say ‘he probably just needs a hug.’ And it’s true. You just need a big hug and a kiss and you settle right down. I mean, what the hell, man. It’s amazing.

-You are a ninja. You can wiggle and force your way out of anything I strap you into. How terrifying. Your sister never climbed, never crawled, she waited to move until she could walk. And we have strong feelings that you will give us no such break.

-You don’t like to talk unless no one else is talking, usually. Unlike other children I’ve birthed (ahem), you can go an entire day without making a sound. It’s like you’re saving it all up for when the aforementioned dolly goes to bed and then game on mom and dad because you’ve been waiting to babble and now is your chance! And it is happy, happy, happy gurgling and we really like it.

-Your sister, the way you watch her when she plays, it’s pretty fun to see. You smile at her, you laugh at her antics, and my gosh does she adore you. Every morning when she wakes up, the first thing she asks for is “brudder mama? brudder?” She kisses you a thousand times a day and you let her. She kisses your hands, she kisses your head, she kisses your stomach, she kisses your mouth, and you lay there with a welcoming smile on your happy face. You two are a joy to watch. I pray it’s always this way. Minus the open mouth kissing, I mean. That’s only cute for a short window of time, let’s be honest.

Buddy. You’re a dream. A sleep through the night, smile all the time, drool all over your shirt, make my day kind of a dream.

We love you so, Samuel. We love you so.

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