I’ve never written out a love letter to Sam, not in the way I’ve done for Madeline in the past.
The reason is, I was afraid that it would seem like he is my favorite. I was afraid that if I was honest about how much I love him, it would make everyone question the love I have for my husband, for Madeline, for Jesus.
The thing is, when I think about how much I love Sam, the only words I can access are “favorite,” and “best.” If there were better words, words that could somehow simultaneously express how much I love Jesus and Dan and Madeline, I would use those words. But I can’t think of any.
And today I decided that it would be an absolute shame, disgrace, failure in parenting if I never articulated how much I love my son just because it would sound too outlandish. The love I have for him IS outlandish, and he should know that. When I die, whenever that may be, I want him to have a written record, along with a giant box full of pictures, to remind him of just how madly and crazily in love with him I was.
So this is my love letter to my second child, my first son, Sam.
Sam, you are my best.
I tell you a hundred times every day, “You are it for me. You have ruined me. I am done.”
Sam, you changed everything.
You changed how I feel about having boys. I wasn’t sure about boys. I’d heard rumors about how much they love their mothers, how they are easier. But I also know boys. I know wild, rough and tumble, off-the-wall, uncontainable, uncontrollable boys that make babysitters call parents who are out on dates and say, “YOU HAVE TO COME GET THIS BOY.” And, to be honest, I was nervous about changing diapers and circumcision and everything happening down there.
But you changed everything. You ruined me. Now I want only boys, boys forever. But that’s not even true – I want only Sams, Sams forever. I’ve wanted to freeze you at every stage of life, so that I could keep infant Sam, 4-month-Sam, 7-month, 10-month, and 14-month Sams. You have always been perfect, and I cannot let you go.
You are the dangerous kind of baby, the kind of baby that makes me think that I could have a dozen more babies without batting an eyelash. But it’s a gamble, because the next one might not be so easy. Exhibit A: Your Sister. She is also my favorite person and makes me crazy with love, but she is the most spirited creature I’ve ever been in contact with. Wild mustangs are a distant second. Gamble is not the right word, because if we have another Madeline, we win – but in the event that your little brother inherits her spirited gene, I’m going to need more coffee.
The precious thing is, she loves you will all of that spirit. She cheers for you, loudly, every day. “SAM LEARNED HOW TO SAY BYEEEEE!!!!! YAAAAAYYYYY SAMMMM!!!!” She laughs at you and disobeys me constantly to do dangerous and unmannerly things that make you laugh. She, too, is addicted to your giggle. She, too, would do anything for it. Anything for you. She kisses you every night and tells you that she loves you. Last night you leaned out of my arms into a very impressive back-bend and giggled as she kissed you all over your face and head. You laughed and laughed together; she told how how cute you were, and you leaned further and further back for more kisses.
You changed how I feel about staying at home. I want to be around you all the time; I have to tear myself away from you. You are my best buddy. Not my “buddy” as a term of endearment, but my buddy as in the person I want to be around the most. We understand each other. There is a knowing between us – a secret language. We laugh together, like friends. I think that you have an old soul, and that our souls have been friends who love each other for a long time.
You are so affectionate it slays me. You toddle up to me and lay your head on my knee, wrap your arms around my thigh, and pat me – a little Sam-hug. You do this a couple times an hour, like you notice me sitting there and want to remind me every 20 minutes that you love me and that you’re my best. You climb up into my lap a lot, because you’d prefer to be there than anywhere else. I know that this will change, I’ve heard it does, as you become more adventurous, and that’s why I want to freeze you. Because I might actually die inside the day you stop climbing into my lap for no reason.
I cannot keep my hands off of you. I can’t stop combing your hair, squishing your arms, grabbing your fingers. I can’t stop stroking your cheek and your back. I can’t stop munching your toes and nibbling your ear lobes. I can’t stop tickling you or hugging you or kissing you. You are the softest, sweetest, most beautiful boy that has ever been. I cannot have you falling in love with another woman. I absolutely cannot have it. I am going to have to pray really hard about this for a lot of years in order to make peace with it. But not yet. I can’t even pray about it yet. Maybe next year, but probably not then either.
I have dozens and dozens of pictures of the two of us with our faces smashed up against each other. None of them are particularly flattering, because I take them with my phone, but it’s the closest thing I have to freezing you. I’m very serious about this freezing thing.
I can’t remember ever having loved ANYTHING this much, ever. I know I must have, because I love Jesus more than anything, and I love your Daddy so much it’s made me do more than a few crazy things in my life, and your sister – your sister made me a mommy and I have letter after letter about how desperately I love her. But when I’m around you, I can’t love anything more than I love you. You are a heart-stealer.
You are my buddy. My darling. My best.
You are it for me. My favorite person.
I am so, so, so, so, so thankful that I had a boy.
I am so, so, so, so, so thankful that I had a Sam.
I love you with my whole heart, forever. I will never stop loving you.