I know I've probably asked you how old you are almost every day since it happened - but it's just that I can hardly believe it. You turned 4. My baby is four years old.
You wouldn't agree that you're a baby by any means. In fact when you asked to watch a video and I called it by it's name "Baby Einsteins : Noah's Ark" you argued with me that it wasn't for "babies." I hope you didn't see me giggling. Because honey - it's totally for babies. And I find it quite hilarious that you've taken an renewed interest in a video I used to prop you up with pillows to watch from 4-6pm (aka "the bewitching hours") waiting for Daddy to get home when you were about 6 months old. But you go ahead and watch it sweet boy. Watch it along with Peter Rabbit and Sofia the First and Jake and the Neverland Pirates and every other kind of cartoon/commercial/preview you love my little TV-holic. And I will continue to only slightly lie to your pediatrician that you watch less than 2hrs of TV a day.
(Some days we just have to watch "The Incredibles" twice, people. We just do.)
I'm sorry we don't let you watch the oldSpiderman reruns from the 1960's (that Daddy found on youtube) anymore. You love those so much! And we thought they were perfect. The dialogue was so dull and innocent - and the "violence" consisted of cartoon fights covered by clouds of smoke or an occasional close up of either spiderman or the villain. And the song is so catchy. It seemed perfect for a the budding superhero fan. Until you started waking up 10 times a night talking about snakes, bears, lizards, owls, aliens, skeletons, vultures, and everything in between. (None of which we had any idea why.) Those weren't apparent themes of any of your videos. But we thought perhaps things were just getting a little "too big, too fast." So we decided to do a little "detox" and deleted the youtube app from our phones so you couldn't find it (you crazy techno-genius) and went back to Chugginton and Curious George. You know - safe, normal shows with talking trains and a destructive monkey who can somehow communicate with any given person and lives with a man who only wears yellow.
Oh my. Jet you are just amazing. You probably know that. In fact I'm pretty sure that's what you hear in your head every time I talk to you because you smile gloriously at almost anything.
Me :"Jet - did you make this at school?"
Jet : "Yes!"
Jet's eyes: "Yes! I created that out of no where! And I have no idea what it is or how it came about or why my name is on it - but I'm pretty sure I made it and it's the most fantastic thing anyone has done since I made that other thing yesterday!"
My heart could burst.
You are my sour patch kid. My make-the-biggest-mess-I've-ever-seen kid. My I-won't-eat-ice-cream-but-I'll-eat-a-pina-colada-flavored-dumdum kid. (??) My Boo. My sweetheart. My incredibly stubborn, smart, yet fearless let's-point-at-mommy-and-say-something-bossy-and-see-what-she-does kid.
You mystify me.
I can't always predict your reaction anymore. I still can read your emotions like a book - but have no idea why you're feeling them. There are times I have no idea where you learned what you know. Or why you said what you said. Or why you're looking at me like I'm Wonder Woman in the flesh one minute, and like I ate the last cookie the next.
Ok maybe because I sometimes do eat the last cookie. And I could say I was sorry. But let's be honest.
I love you honey.
I love you so much.
I love you so much that I sometimes stop breathing when I'm rocking you at night - praying so hard for God to let me keep you just a little bit longer. It probably seems a strange way to think (and not very healthy for me to stop breathing). Why am I afraid? You are a precious, perfect, picture of health right now. Why would I worry about that changing? And I don't really worry. Not really. What would it accomplish? But I know Who holds your life and mine in His hands. I know Who made you. I know Who you belong to. And I also know His plans do not and will not always coincide with my own.
I know that.
And I trust it and am terrified by it at the same time. I can't wait to tell you more about Him. To share with you this journey of faith and fear and everything that comes with it. To see you understand it and to watch your understanding grow and change. And I pray I get the chance - and that your Daddy and I raise you right in His eyes.
And in the meantime I strive to take nothing - not my life, my family, my home
and especially not my most cherished blessing - you - for granted. Nothing is guaranteed us. Nothing is owed to us. Everything we have is His. So we should cherish it.
That doesn't mean we are perfect. Well...you're still pretty close. But I know you are like us. And one day your mistakes will grow from spilling milk on the couch or throwing a rock at a dog or slapping a baby on the head (Yes honey. You have done all those things. And you repeated my mortified apologies in the same tone as one would say "happy birthday!") But you will make more serious mistakes - and face more difficult consequences. You will feel Awkward. Embarrassed. Guilty. Ashamed. Angry. Vengeful. Confused. Hurt. You will face heartbreak and retaliation. You will feel alone even though you are not. You will feel unworthy as we all have felt. You will feel lost at times. Or betrayed. At times you might even feel betrayed by the person you though you were.
But know this.
You will never be less loved than you are at this very moment. Not by me, nor your Daddy, nor our Father in Heaven. Our love for you has only ever grown with time - and it will only grow stronger, purer, more refined with every passing year of your life. You will never fully know how strongly my heart beats for you. How fervently I pray for you. How beautiful you are to me. How feircely I would fight for you. How willingly I'd die for you. And even if you break my heart someday - and you probably will - it's been broken before sweet boy.
I think God and I know how to put the pieces back together by now.
It won't change my love.
It's amazing - how God not only demonstrated His love for me by sending His son to die for my sins - but then He made me a mother to a son whom I love so much it hurts sometimes. And the knowledge that my love for you may be a drop in the ocean compared to His love for you, and me, and all His children - that my sweet boy - is impossible to comprehend. But I believe it. And that faith keeps me going. It will keep you going one day. I pray that you let it.
Four years ago this past May 26th, I was the most nervous I'd ever been in my life. We'd been through some of the scariest times in our lives - some major ups and downs - and then there we were at the hospital. Getting ready to meet the miracle baby we'd been praying for. My mind was racing and I remember thinking "I can't do this." There was a nameless fear on my heart that I couldn't shake and I seriously contemplated ripping the iv out of my arm and
running waddling out of there before they could take me back to surgery.
But when I saw you...heard you...when they held you up in all your baby
gory glory. I felt a peace like no other come over me. For up until that moment I thought I had loved you - and in many ways I had - but in that moment, true love was born in my heart.
I was acutely aware of God's love for you - that He gave you life.
And God's love for me - that He gave me you.
I don't know if every mother feels like this about her baby. Or father for that matter. I don't know if I'm embarrassing your future self by referring to you as my "baby" at the ripe old age of 4 and frankly, I don't care. ;) I don't know if it's the same with every child or different for every person. I cannot help but feel I have more of this love to give and therefore I pray God will bless you with siblings one day. And of course, I pray someday you and your wife will feel this for your children. But for now, Jet Montgomery Penny, I want you to know that from before you were born, and at 4 seconds old, 4 days old, 4 months old, and 4 years old (ok....I'll admit it...4 months old was a little "touch-and-go" there for a while) - I have loved you from the start. You are my sunshine in every way. I love being your mommy even with all the challenges it brings and all the tears I have cried - my every hope has always been, and will always be, for you to grow and live a life full of Love. Because it's the only way to live, angel. It's the only thing we have sometimes. And it's the closest thing we have to understanding God, His plan, and our Hope in heaven. So as wonderful as life can be - as each birthday has just gotten sweeter to celebrate - just imagine how amazing it will be to spend eternity with the One who gave His son for us, long before He gave you to me.
Happy 4 years little boy.
I am so proud, blessed and honored to be the one you call Mommy.
Or "Hey babe!" when you're calling from the bathroom.
I understand your reasoning behind all those.
And I love you for them as well.
For all the silly and the sweet things that make you who you are,
And for all the stubborn and flat-out startling ones as well,
I love you to California and back.
Because let's face it - California is way more awesome than the moon.
It's got beaches and Disneyland and great weather and so many friends and Chewy and Gumbo!
(ok...I know I just lost some of you there - but this letter is for Jet so just go with it.)
And we both know I'm never getting anywhere close to a rocket ship.
Or a blimp. Or a whale. Or a replica of a dinosaur. Or giant inflatable gorilla.
And if we're lucky, you will understand all those things in time.
(come on....you and I both know I kiss you an absorbent amount of times)
All my heart,