To My Cal,
When Hayes was a baby I used to write letters like these to him, too. They were all about my wonder and awe being a first time mom, chronicling every milestone, every new trick, calculating and comparing hoping he was on the right track. Writing my pride-filled moments down, knowing that one day he'd read them and know just how much I love him.
For some reason for you Cal, I just want to remember moments and gazes, your nuances and quirks. Things that make you the one and only spitfire, sharp as tack, sweet as honey, Cally-baby. I don't much care for those milestones this time around. If you must know you're ahead of schedule on every gosh-darn thing a pediatrician might check off a list. You've got two teeth and twenty pounds. From what we know of each other, so far, I think we both agree there are more important matters.
Like how you stroked your brother's hair for a good three minutes the other day, soft and delicately. Your determination to catch your dad's eye, you never demand it, you just watch him with an open-mouthed smile until he looks your way. How you sit in your bumbo chair and drop your head back, hold your arms out to your sides and smile at light-bulbs. How you lay on your back and grab your toes and sway side to side, tracing circles with your feet. When you're sitting up (all by yourself!) and your cheeks are so heavy and fat-filled they look like they might drip right off your face like beads of sweat. But, then you smile and your dimples pull them right back in. Those dimples are deep and so so sweet. Your skin soft and smooth and I can help but tickle it even though you bring your shoulders to your ears and shudder.
When I look around day after day I often find myself whispering to myself just one word: brothers! I am in awe of your rapidly developing closeness. I always say Hayes was more ready for you then I was (although now I can't hardly think what kind of life would be worth living without you in it.) Somehow, just saying "brothers!" encapsulates everything I wish and hope for you and Hayes. Brothers! means a life-long buddy. Playing catch in the yard, sharing a bed when you're too scared to sleep alone. Playing tic-tac-toe on a wooden pew in your white shirts and ties while I keep nudging you to pay attention at church. Running to sit by one another on the bus on the way home from school. Encouraging each other to try out for the team, sing the solo, interview for the job, ask her on a date. Writing each other letters while you're serving for our church, knowing that only the other one understands.
When I say brothers! it's a flood of these moments passing over my eyes. The only other person in this world whose experience in it resembles yours so closely. What it's like to be a boy on this street, a son in this family. I have so many hopes for your future together and so many joys at what I get to see each day.
I thank God all day in my heart, but every night out loud for sending you to me, for your sweet spirit and your happiness to just be near us. I hope you find happiness in the simple things for the rest of you life the way you do today. What a great life that would be!
The world is yours, Cal.