You are four today, and the biggest guy in town! I kept looking back at you today when we were driving to Ogden and noticing how bright your eyes are. You have an anticipatory face...you look forward to things so intensely. When we give you good news, you gasp and clap your hands. We’ve been counting down to your birthday for weeks and it’s finally here! You went to the ranch in Wyoming alone with Daddy this weekend. He wrote me that when he put you to bed you told him, “My gosh, I can’t believe I came here! I’ve never seen this before!” He said, “I’ve just been in awe of our Chai, Rachel...he is judicious, rambunctious, wild and kind! I’m missing you a lot. I wish I could talk to you.” You woke up to balloons and they made you feel so joyous that you jumped off the couch over and over again and asked for your best running song.. (You also love “Say Geronimo” and don’t understand why I can’t always find it on the radio). You were so excited to see Sparrow after a few days away and kept hugging her. I picked you up in my arms and took you into the kitchen and told you where you were born, how I lifted you and rejoiced over you, and then we walked to the couch and cuddled there and talked about my first experience feeding you and how excited I was to meet you. You LOVED it and I loved that you loved it. I hope that connection we have of me giving you life is something we can always appreciate in some form.
We celebrated you with a Big Dog Party in Ogden. I had planned games for all the aunts and uncles and it never quite got off the ground, but we had a shaving cream fight, you were the junkyard master in Car Lot and called forth the long-necks and t-rexes and tagged them all. Everyone enjoyed you so much. You played on the playground with Sparrow and Akane and you held Akane’s hand and announced that you were going to marry her. You ran and slid and jumped and danced under the parachute. Grandma Lolo made you spiderman cupcakes and you got a double-sided superman/batman cape and water toys for the splash pad! Doug and Emme also gave you another vase that Doug had sculpted to hold your “collections” since you broke the other one. We had a birthday wishes circle for you and you asked that we sing Tender Shepherd. Some of the wishes were about learning a lot in school and making new friends, Daddy wished for you that you would always tell us how you are feeling. I wished that your friendship with Sparrow always be strong, even if it changes forms.
Chai, it was so fun to watch you open your presents and be so happy. You are constantly voicing your thoughts, which maybe in a narcissistic way reminds me of myself. I see you engaging with the world in such a social and physical way and I love that you don’t hold back! Nothing has yet taught you that it doesn’t all belong to you. Although I hope that as you grow you understand the need for sharing space, for empathy and for letting others have their turn to speak and shine, I think your sense of your own magnificence is so beautiful. You are a vibrant, loud, and vivid person. You are fierce and have wild dreams and expectations that are sometimes crushed. I know that I yelled at you and scared you more this year than any year before and I am so sorry about that. It was a hard year with a new baby and you and Bahbo are still so young. I would have remained more with you than I was able to. I want to be a soft and safe presence in your life and no kitchen disaster or even precious broken things are more precious than you are. I know this, yet I still lose it, yet you still love me. The other day I was putting Sparrow in her bed right after I had yelled at you both and you told me, “Mom, I’ll always forgive you.” I asked you how you knew about forgiveness, and you said, “Because I know love. And I’ll always forgive my family.” It was such beauty to the ugliness I had thrown out. I want to be so much more careful with you. I regret that I haven’t found the time to write down every word you say. I like the songs you sing to Sojo about him being the little bro and you being the big bro. The other day you jumped on our bed in the morning and cried, “Oh, I couldn’t wait until morning came so I could see all of you again!” You are creating a world and a life and I am in awe of your quick mind, sharp memory and loving heart. You tell us how you feel, even the things that later people might teach you are unacceptable, and I am so glad you do. I hope that never, ever stops. You are constantly running up to me and saying “I love you so so so so so so MUUUUCH!” and throwing your arms around me. You love to help Daddy with anything and you trust him. He makes you feel safe. You call for him at night and he helped you when you were sick and vomiting this spring. I love that your father has always been a nurturer to you and that you see him as someone from whom you can receive that gentleness, affirmation and affection. You are SO loved and have some privileges from being the oldest, like the attention and focus of your aunts and uncles, getting Moh so much of the time, and your relationship with your grandfather Jay, that make me so grateful you got here just in time. You have a special playful relationship where you dictate the adventures and he willingly, patiently follows. You love your friends and superhero stuff and you often talk about being a good hero or a bad hero. I’m often quoting you on facebook and Laura says we should make a meme just for you called “Emotionally Intelligent Chai.” Everyone knows this about you--you express yourself well, creatively, and delightfully. You are funny and silly and sweet. I love the freckles on your nose and I love how seriously you take yoga at circle time at night. love reading with you! Some of our favorites are “all the world” (you love to point out you, Bahbo and Sojo) and “The Journey” (the girl with the red crayon).
You laugh for joy and it is holy to witness. Your laughter belongs to you and is internally felt and you don’t need to wait for anyone to share it or provoke it, it just spills out. You bring so much fresh delight to my life. You are protective and loving to your sister and Jon always says you are “thick as thieves.” You do often get into mischief together and it’s frustrating but sweet to see you plotting and whispering and running around together. I feel grateful that you are such good friends now, because no one knows what will happen tomorrow, and you will always have this time and this sweetness as a baseline for moving forward, your first best friend in your own home.
Chai, I can’t believe you are four! I can’t believe it’s been four years since I snatched you out of my midwife’s hands and howled and wailed at the early morning. You were so tiny and new, you filled up my entire world and heart bigger than anything I could have imagined. We fell asleep on the couch and bleated together for food. I had to get up and stagger to the kitchen to make my own, and slowly you learned milk. I was just a little girl learning, but I was there for you, I cradled you and you threaded through all of my thoughts. I love being your mother. It’s strange that already now you don’t need me in the same way, my role has shifted from caring for you with my body to making you food, planning activities and taking you on adventures. You run ahead. You will always run on ahead, and I know this. But I remember being the first one to hold you. I am so lucky to know you. There is so much ahead for us to embrace and endure. This may be one of the first years from which you retain some memories. It’s weird that the dawn’s early light of your life is just mine to recall. I will hold it close for you. Thank you for a wonderful, robust year. We both had some growing pains, me in my soul with yet another tiny baby pushing me to subtract and divide, and you in your legs that I rubbed out at night. I’m excited for FOUR and everything you will see and all we can see through you. I love you, my beautiful boy, my little son.
Love, your mother, Rachel