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A Letter of Love and Thanks to My Healthy Son

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There are days when I think my son’s sole mission in life is to make his little sister miserable. A well-timed shove, a subtle pinch, a biting scratch. These are the tricks of his trade. Other days, he’s his sister’s best protector. He teaches her to shoot baskets. He chides the neighbor who leaves her out. He sits by her side while she does her daily respiratory therapy for her cystic fibrosis.

My boy can make his sister cry in the blink of an eye, but he can also make her laugh like no one else. At the age 9-years-old, he knows more about life than many others his age. But he’s also just plain good at being a kid.

I don’t get to spend as much time with my son as I’d like. I feel like the days are passing by so quickly, and each time I look at him, he’s grown a little older. He’s gone from a gummy-smiled baby – to a front-tooth-missing little boy – to a little man with braces in no time. In moments like this, I just want to press the “pause” button and capture him as he is. Right here. Right now. Forever.

So here you go, Goose.  Here is my open letter to you.

My Dear Baby,

It’s been over nine years since you were born. Can I still call you my baby? Because when I come to kiss your nose each night, I still see the same sleeping boy that I first held all those years ago.

I’ll never forget the moment you were born. The doctor lifted you up over the sheet, and you blinked your little eyes at me. From that very moment, I knew that I would go to the ends of the earth for you. I had never felt so much love. You gave that gift to me, my goose. You made me a mama.

One of the best parts of my day is our morning snuggle. Your feet are so cold as they burrow under the blanket in search of a cozy spot. And I ask you the same questions every single time: “Who’s my goose? Who’s my sack of goose feather sugar? Who’s my smart, strong, brave, kind, funny, handsome boy who Mama loves with all her heart?”

When you answer, “Me,” my heart sings. There is no place I’d rather be.

I know you see how much time I spend with your sister. I know that sometimes you’re frustrated when we pick her choice of movie, over yours so we can get her to do her respiratory therapy. I know that sometimes you get frustrated when Sissy gets cookies for a bedtime snack, and you don’t.

You know what? I’d be frustrated too.

But I want you to know something important. I see you. I hear you. I love you just as much as I did the day you were born. And I’m so, so very proud of you.

You are one of the smartest boys I know. Last night, you looked at a friend’s drawing that I thought was just a bunch of smudged lines. You saw a race car that was driving down the road with the sun shining overhead. Holy cow, Goose!  How did you see that? That’s exactly what it was, but I never would have seen that in a million years.

And you’re fast. I’ve never seen a boy run down the soccer field like you do. Gracefully, like a deer. Determinedly, like a warrior. And always that ear-to-ear grin on your face.

You’re kind too. I know I get mad when you don’t want to share with Sissy. Or you two fight the minute you’re in the same room. But I also see the way you protect her when you’re outside with friends. The way you include her. The way you encourage her.

Remember that time you ran home because Sissy had wandered off down the street? You knew she’d gone too far, and you sprinted home to get someone who could help her. See, even though you like to throw a well-timed elbow, I know that you love her. And you’ll always look out for her in the end.

Remember that night we wished on a star? I asked you what you’d wished for, and you said, “I wished for Sissy to grow up.” I did too.

We don’t talk about things like that because you two are just kids. And we have a lot of faith that God and scientists will work together so that we don’t ever have to. I don’t know exactly what your wish meant that night, but I do know where it came from. It came from your beautiful, brave heart.

I know you don’t like the idea of college because you want to stay home forever. But in 10 years, you’ll probably feel differently. You’ll be ready to spread your wings and soar.

I just hope you’re OK with me still singing you “Edelweiss” before bed. It might not be in person, but maybe I can call you or send a text.

Or maybe you can just hold that song from me in your heart. And anytime you’re feeling sad or scared or just want to be wrapped up in love, you can remember: You’re my goose. You’re my sack of goose feather sugar. You’re my smart, strong, brave, kind, funny, handsome boy who I love with all my heart.

And I will forever and ever.

Little girl and her young brother are holding hands

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: February 17, 2020
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