Dearest Sweet Caleb,
You have no idea how much I love you and how profoundly you have changed my life. I never knew I could love someone like this! I never knew such a tiny little being could teach me so much about life, about myself, about what's really important, and about God.
For the last 6 months or so you have not been taking a bottle before bed. A sad day for your mommy. That means you are growing up, and while there are such greatness and excitement to that, it makes me sad that a phase of your life is over and one I can never relive.
But, anyway, when you stopped taking a bottle before bed your bedtime routine changed. Now we read a book together (but you have to be covered with a blanket and holding "eee-ooo"), then pray and then go to bed. I almost always prayed with you before bed before, but usually in my head. You love to pray. You always hold my hands while you sit on my lap. Often you will stretch your head back to look up at me as I pray. Each time we pray for someone you repeat their name. And you are always quiet and still - no matter how long I pray. When we are done you say "a-meh" and raise at least one of your hands to the sky. It is so precious. You amaze me with what you are able to understand.
When we are done with reading and praying I always take you into my arms and we snuggle. You lay your head on my left shoulder, suck your three fingers on your right hand and play with my hair with your left hand. You do this anytime you are tired, need comforting, or just want to snuggle! The SAME position every time!
I am on the verge of tears each time we snuggle like that. I treasure these moments. Each night when we cuddle like that I notice how big you are getting. And I realize that these moments are to be treasured! Sooner than I would like to acknowledge you will be more independent and need cuddle time less and less. You will get bigger and do more on your own and as you grow. I will need to let go. You will come to me less often and need my hugs less as time goes on. I just hold you as long as I can before I lay you down in your crib. But then I realize I'm being selfish and you need to get some sleep, so I lay you down and you say "ba-ba" (bye) as I leave your room if you have enough energy left.
It rips my heart out to think of days coming sooner than I'd like that I won't be tucking you in. That we won't cuddle like that. That you won't need or want my hugs. That you will have times when you won't want to talk to me at all. That you will be grown and on your own.
But I am reminded so often (by God I think) that my job is to raise you the BEST I can. That I am to point you to God as often as possible. That I am to teach you about His character, to help you get to know Him and decide what role He is to play in your life.
I am to teach you to be a good man who loves, cares, who is responsible, thinks of others, follows God with his whole life. Lately you have been asking to read the book about your namesake - Caleb in the Bible. I get choked up each time I read the last page where it talks about God telling Caleb he will enter the Promised Land because he "had a different heart." That is what I pray for you. I pray each day with you and ask God to help Mommy and Daddy be a good mommy and daddy and teach you well.
You are such a special child for so many reasons! But you truly do have a different heart. You are sensitive and caring already. Sure, you have your defiant moments, your tendency for disobedience, etc. You are not perfect, but you are SO special! You are different from other kids, at least in my eyes!! I believe you do have a different heart!
I hope I can be the kind of mom who you want to be with when you are older. I don't want to be a creepy overpowering mom who smothers you! But I do hope that we can keep this bond that we have. I hope that as you get older we will weather the bumps and the natural ebb and flow of a parent child relationship in a way that we always come back together. I will mess up, you will mess up, but I hope we can always forgive and love!
And you can rest assured that I will ALWAYS be here for a cuddle, for a hug, for a prayer. You will NEVER be too big to snuggle with Mommy.
In the meantime, I will treasure every moment we have. I will soak in every one! Every snuggle I get. Every cuddle time we have. Every book we read. Every prayer we pray. And I will hold you and let you suck your fingers and play with my hair AS LONG as I possibly can!
I love you more than words can express!