Dear Jude, I love that you love your little blue bath tub. I love that once you’ve forgiven me for washing your hair, you continue to enjoy splashing about in the water, and drowning all the bath toys I put there for company. I love your scrunchy face that manages to squeeze all the light in the world into a single gap toothed grin, as you catch me watching u with a smile soppier than the 2 rags required to get you clean some days. Can I interrupt this sentimental moment to just ask that in the future you remember that daily baths/showers are not optional, but mandatory for any child of mine. As you grow, please remember that expensive cologne and clean clothes should only ever be used as a SUPPORT to- and NOT a replacement for- an honest to goodness, real soap involved, scrub behind the ears bath. EVERY. DAY. And if you ever need it, I’ll probably still have a bottle of your baby bubble bath anyways. You may borrow. Please return. Chances are, I sniff it occasionally and remember these blue baby bath days….
Dear Jude, regarding apologies: they are inevitable. I know you’ll be hearing a lot on when or how or why to apologize- even whether or not you should do it at all. Do it. As for when and how and why, apologize when you are wrong; apologize when pride isn’t worth the loss of or strain on a relationship of any kind; apologize when it’s the RIGHT thing to do; do it as quickly as possible, as sincerely as possible and do it independent of the outcome. It takes a brave person to make the first move of any sort, and a humble one to do so at cost to their ego. Now once you’ve apologized from that genuine place, I’m afraid your part is over. Never apologize to MAKE someone forgive you; apologize to ALLOW them to do so more easily. They may forgive, they may not. That is secondary. Primary must always be your response to your inner compass, placed there by God, and reinforced by your mama.
Dear Jude, always treat every female like a lady. It doesn’t matter what you think about her, or what you’ve heard about her. You don’t know her story, and her background is not your business. Do not ‘sweet her up’ for your own purposes, do not ‘diss’ her for your own convenience. Every single female is to be treated with respect. Please remember, as we continue to teach you, that being a gentleman is NOT the same thing as being a push-over. Do not listen to friends or performers or strangers on the street who may try to tell you your manners make you “soft”. It takes strength of character and of conviction (not muscles) to be a real man, and you my son were born to be a Real Man. Be brave. Be courageous. Be honorable. Be a gentleman. As long as she is before you, regardless of her age, stage or any other detail, you will respect every woman as if she were a queen. This, my love, is non-negotiable.
Dear Jude, who you are is always enough for your mama. Wherever life takes you, whoever you become, never doubt that in any second of any day of your whole entire life, your mom will love you as much as she did the day she first heard your heartbeat. More. Whenever you want me, come find me. Whenever you need me, I’ll come find you. Nothing will ever be enough to break the love I have for you. You will never escape it, not on the days you want to, and not on the days you feel you don’t deserve it. God taught me to love like this, and every day you give me more practice. Until you find your own way to God, let my love prove He’s real…
Dear Jude, when you were a tiny cuddly ball of baby, I could so easily write you epistles as I imagined who you would continue to unfold to be. Now that you’re such a big little boy :-), full of your very own personality and prerogatives, I find myself so amazed by the complexity of you, and by my increasing love and awe of you that I’m frequently tongue tied. (Pen-tied?) What do I say to a little boy who spends his mornings singing along to my devotions with such abandon, eyes closed mimicking mommy? Who knows the sign for “dirty” and will dutifully use it to indicate that the mud he is squatting in is indeed ‘dirty’? Who bites the tops off tins and canisters with such ease, but is confounded by his flip top cup? Who knows he must always say please, leading to “no. please?” Who gives the fiercest bear hugs, the sweetest kisses and the widest smiles I’ve ever seen? Who runs 100 miles a minute but can pull to a sudden stop just for some cuddle time? Who grows and explores ‘more-ness’ every day, without ever leaving my heart? All I can say, my love, is: Mommy loves you. She just loves you.
I cannot live my Christianity in a comparative state. Everyone on the outside of my skin will have their own ideas, ideologies and individual perspectives & interpretations of everything I may think, feel or believe.It is not my goal or my calling to be in constant combat with ‘other’; rather I seek to live in constant alignment with God’s custom designed plan for my own life. I let Him select my battles. I let Him equip me for those moments. It may confuse you. It may even confuse me. But if I’m doing God’s will, those options are both okay with me.
Dear Jude, you’re my proof that some good things I’ve hoped about myself might just be true. Loving you teaches me how to love me too
Jude is more than just my beloved son. He is all mankind- in a size 4 diaper. Whenever Jude is stressing me out most (non-stop Mommy Mommy Mommy, up down up down Mommy Mommy) I have learnt one easy-but-difficult trick: love him even more. In the midst of his most strung out sessions I scoop him up and plaster him with kisses and hugs. Sometimes I’m loud and smacky-kissy, sometimes it’s just a silent firm hug. It has yet to fail me. Climbing over the hump of I’M TOO TIRED/ANNOYED TO HUG is the challenge. Watching his overwhelmed, overwrought body melt into calm is the reward. Beyond the Calming of the Jude, it’s reminded me that really, people on a whole need the most love when they’re most unlovable. It’s a fresh reminder for me to extend grace to the ‘beasts’ around me in life. That’s this mom’s 2 bits: learning to love like Christ, one toddler tantrum hug at a time 🙂