Well, it happened. One of my kids' ages snuck up and surprised me. The first time I realized my little Richie-rooter a baby-duder was going to be four... that's YEARS old... it kinda knocked the wind out of me. Our chunk-lunka baby, our snuggly-sweet laughing guy has grown into a beautiful, thin, spider monkey with a smile a mile wide and blue eyes that sparkle like the morning sun on a clear ocean when he's happy, and flash like white lightning when he's angry. He has these golden blond curls that just make me sigh! And he's a funny little guy. He even made me laugh when I was less than a month from having him! He'd have a body part sticking out, and as soon as I'd tell Eric to look, it'd be halfway across my belly. Such a funny guy he is! I told everyone then that he'd be the family comedian.
I think I might have been right.
|Richie on his first birthday|
So Richie, all I can do is think of what I'd like to tell you someday, things I hope aren't overshadowed by hours, days, years, and months doing their faithful march. Maybe someday you'll read this, maybe when you're having your little ones, maybe just when you've slowed down enough to notice someday. I bet you will. We're kindred spirits that way, you and me.
|Richie as Bob the Tomato|
See, little Richie, I'd always wanted two boys and a girl. Always. Just seemed like the perfect family.
Right around the time you were born, we were just finding out about autism, and we were broken hearted for your brother. I could go on and on about how we watched your development like hawks, worrying you'd have issues too, but that's another post. We did watch you, though. We watched as your developmental milestones fell from the sky, each one putting some mortar in the cracks of our hearts, still broken from figuring out brother really needed help.
Your smile, your laugh, your voice in our family was and will always be such a gift. The way you speak, the way you mix up words, the sweet, precious play-talk you do when you're playing and you don't think anyone hears you are more than just fun to watch. They're healing.
God uses you every day, Richie. He uses you not only to teach me to be a better mommy, a better woman, a better wife, a better disciple of Christ, but God uses you to make me smile. I love holding you when you've asked me to "take care of Richie" when you're upset, arms wrapped around my neck, legs flamed around my waist, your soft cheek nuzzled up to my shoulder. I nuzzle you right back, begging God to let me remember that moment. Everything about it. The softness of your cheek, the tickle of your hair, the pout of your lip, the way your little head fits right between my shoulder and my face.
Watching you laugh, run, and play and just enjoy being a little boy is fabulous! Watching you and shepherding you through the hard parts of being a little boy are... well, they're hard sometimes. But I pray that in those times you're learning to be the kind of daddy you have, and the kind of man God wants you to be. I pray that you'll grow to be kind, giving, loving, peace-making, strong, and humble. I pray that you'll keep that passion and zeal that you have, because I know God will use it! He has such amazing plans for you, sweet Richie. I already see you caring for and loving your brother, your sister, and your daddy and I in your own Richie way.
And I am humbled and honored to be there when it all began, and to have the opportunity every day to watch you, shepherd you, and teach you.
So enjoy your watermelon, hot dogs, and waffle fries. You are more than an amazing kid. Thanks be to God for every beat of your heart.
I love you, Richard Allen.