My dearest Nathan,
My baby boy. My little man. My precious love. My only son.
Today marks a momentous milestone in your life...your 3rd birthday. Its the fun-loving year in age where you have left toddlerhood behind but aren't quite a full-fledged preschooler quite yet. Its a year packed with development...of understanding the world and those around you better, of desiring to learn more of what you don't know, and of trying to understand your fit in social situations and relationships with others. I find that the age of 3 is somewhat of a turning point in life...the time where we, as parents, realize for sure that if we don't soak everything up quickly, we will miss out on a lot.
I recently found some snapshots of you taken when you were just a few months old. Looking through the pictures, a feeling of uneasiness came over me as I remembered those many months of intense worry and fear regarding your health...and life. It seems that bad memories cast a shadow on the good ones, blocking the mind from being able to recall the happy moments as easily. I worry that this will be the case all throughout your life...that we will first recall all the intensely difficult moments before remembering how incredible your life is on a regular basis. Let me assure you, we have wonderful days most of the time...days of incredible happiness, days of dancing around the livingroom hand in hand, some days of wonderful monotony, and others of life's normal busy schedule.
In future years, I hope I look back on each preceding year of pictures and remember the good moments before the ones that make our hearts sink with worry and sadness. I want to remember the pitter-patter of your feet through the kitchen late at night as you try to sneak into our bed. I'll remember your soft hand finding my face, and your fingers stroking my cheek as you try so desperately to fall back asleep. I'll remember you wrapping your arms around my legs and uttering "I weally yove you, mama!" Your laughter and squeals of delight when I jump around a corner to scare you. The way you curl up perfectly to me after proclaiming "I wanna snuggle". I'll remember you calling Swiss Cake Rolls "chocolate boobies" for some strange reason that we will never know. And how you have perfected your "Spongebob Laugh". And the hilarity of watching you try so hard to tell knock-knock jokes the right way. These...these are the moments I want to remember first about this past year.
Your personality really blossomed through the duration of this last year. It was a rough few months there, but after you started on meds for excessive ammonia, you returned to the precious little boy we had always known. You are sweet...so very ternderhearted. Your lip pouts and you tear up every time you see either of your sisters crying. Watching your sense of remorse every time you get in trouble is rewarding and tough at the same time. That being said, you are still extremely strong-willed and stubborn. I believe that these two personality traits (if managed in the right way) will help you trudge through your struggles in your unique daily life. And I do have to add that you are indeed the third child, so we are guilty of letting you get away with more than we ever let your sisters. This is something we always struggle with...when to push you and when to relax.
Friendships have become more dear to you lately. You will automatically say that Emma is your best friend, and in all honesty, she is. You two have really hit it off this year...taking daily pretend trips to China, playing mommy and baby, and pretending to own a restaurant. You have a special relationship and friendship with both of your sisters on different levels. Abby mothers you in a genuine and tenderhearted way while Emma treats you like a pal. It has been so rewarding to see your desire for friendships and relationships develop lately.
My dear son, I never know what the next year will bring with you. This year brought only one hospital admission (yay!), a few tests, countless doctor and therapy appts, a few new concerns with different organs affected by mito, and some new meds to help alleviate the symptoms brought on by this awful disease. Looking back over the year, we have seen some increase in medical concerns and we have lots of questions about what the next year will hold for you. And we continue to pray for you daily...that God will continue to give you the strength, ambition, and desire to live life and honor him.
We love you, our precious Nafey boy. Happy 3rd Birthday, my darling son.