Oh My Precious Little Love Bug,
I cannot believe your third birthday is already here. It has been such a joyous three years with you. It seems that just yesterday we received the phone call that you would be born in just a few hours and instantaneously switched gears from being “Wes and Diana” to “Mommy and Daddy.” As soon as I could catch my breath from the excitement of that completely unexpected phone call, I immediately bowed my head and prayed some of the most fervent prayers of my life. Instantly, my prayers became those of a mother. Within hours of that phone call, you were safely born. And within 36 hours of your birth, we found ourselves sitting in the a hospital waiting room, for hours on end, wringing our hands and waiting to hear if you would be our precious son.
When it was finally time, we stepped onto to the elevator and headed down to the nursery. After a lot of security checks, I looked through the nursery windows at all the little babies wondering which one was my son. They were all beautiful babies. While I starred in wonder at the babies, my hand gently touching the window, our social worker chatted with the charge nurse while our hearts pounded in our chests. She returned after a few moments, but to us it felt like an eternity. They called us back to a tiny room behind the nursery. Daddy and I (along with three social workers and two nurses) waited for you in a room that was probably only 6 feet by 6 feet. We were crowded and it felt like we had an audience for what would be one of the most intimate moments in our life. And then they wheeled you in. All 5 pounds of you. You were calmly resting and wearing hospital-issued baby t-shirt that was WAY too big. Instantly, I thought you were the most beautiful of God’s creations. The nurse gently picked you up and placed you in my arms and tears gently rolled down my cheeks. Within moments you opened your eyes. It was as if those eyes of yours belonged to someone so much older. They looked right through us, to our hearts. You, Payton, were the unexpected blessing that we had prayed for. We were so in love with you then and still are.
After our nine days of travel and hotel living in two different states, we finally arrived home as a family of three. That very night we sat down on the floor of your nursery and read to you from Max Lucado’s children’s book, Just In Case You Ever Wonder. I don’t think I have ever wept so hard with such happy tears. As we read to you, our tiny babe, it was hard for me to imagine you being old enough to understand this simple little book. But now you, no longer a baby but a tiny tot weighing in at a whopping 26 pounds, do understand. And, as Lucado wrote in his book “You’re bigger now, and you do more things.” I love watching you master new talents and grow stronger and become the little man God created you to be. Over the last few months you have grownup so quickly. You started preschool, moved into your “big boy bed,” worked on potty training and have a vocabulary that could rival an 5th grader (seriously). It truly is incredible to me how much you have grown. You are an avid breakfast-bar (brekbawrs, as you call them) eater, a jumping enthusiast, a gifted dancer, a budding musician, a Spanish learner, a snuggler, an awesome little brother and soon-to-be big brother, an expert on all things Thomas and CARS, a grammer-correcter (is that correct?), an animal lover, a jump-in-every-mud-puddle kind of spirit, sensitive to other’s emotions, an artist, and my favorite, you are still a mama’s boy through and through. Nothing can make my heart sing like walking in the front door from work and having you run to me, leap it to my arms, and squeal, “Mommy’s HOME! I missed you so much, Mommy!” And then you squeeze my neck oh so tight and give me the most precious kisses. Oh Payton, please know that no matter how old you are, my arms will always ache to hold you and comfort you. “Because as you grow and change, somethings will always be the same. I’ll always love you. I’ll always hug you. … And I want you to that… just in case you ever wonder.”
Patey Kite, it is hard for me to imagine any other child of mine embodying my personality and heart the way that you do. We may not share the same DNA, but son, your attitude, your compassion, your boldness, your temper, your love, your passion, your loyalty, your emphasis on perfection, and your spirit are all so closely connected to mine that there is no doubt you are my son. Maybe your brothers will one day replicate some of these traits too, or maybe not, but you seem to have inherited my strengths and my weaknesses. God certainly knew what he was doing when he connected our families. I pray that you will learn to use all of these traits to bless those around you.
Payton, I love you to the moon and back,