Category Archives: Little Man Letters

Little Man Letters: Hard Love

“If you can think and speak and communicate in writing you’re unbelievably powerful in the authority manner because arguments move the world forward.” – Jordan Peterson

Dear Enzo,

49 weeks ago, you were born into a fallen world that becomes more chaotic and broken by the day.

I know, total downer way to start a letter. But looking around at the crazy and then down at my perfect baby…the starkness of contrast is startling. It demands my attention. So over and over through the past year, I have worried, prayed, written…about this crushing feeling of intimidation.

How do I raise a godly man amid such confusion and discord? Will I be smart enough to answer your questions? Will my actions guide you in the right direction?

You are a white male. Born into a city outsiders love to hate. In some circles that’s three strikes before you’ve even stepped up to the plate. Many who claim to hate stereotypes and assumptions will have no problem attaching them to you. Therefore it’s our job as parents to teach you to rise above, and prove them wrong.

Your dad and I believe in the imago dei. That all human beings are children of God, made in the image of God, and should be treated accordingly. Unfortunately that is not always the case, even in the most advanced societies. So we recognize that as Christians we are called to be on mission, to heal hurts and bridge divides. It is the primary and most important work of our earthly lives.

Sounds simple, and in some ways it is. Love God, love people. Got it. Done & done. The trouble (among other things) is government. It exists to bring order to chaos but currently it is creating quite a bit of chaos of its own. As a result a loud and rowdy crowd has emerged and there seems to be no acceptable way to disagree with them. Get in line or get insulted, those are your options. It is very difficult not to let your emotion overpower your intelligence when attempts at presenting a peaceful counterpoint are met with sarcasm, disdain, character attacks.

But I promise you, I am learning. I have stepped out of the debate ring and left the political arena in favor of study. I am dedicated to understanding the past and present, and effective communication. Challenging myself to be well-versed in all sides of the issues and then forming my own structured, complete arguments rather than always paraphrasing or regurgitating what is readily available. I hope by doing so, I will be able pass on the gift of perspective and articulation to you. Because aside from faith, I believe those are two of the greatest gifts your dad and I can give you.

They are not easy skills to acquire, but I am fighting mental fatigue and technologically-inspired laziness, facing my feelings of inadequacy, because I love you far too much to send you out into this world without the knowledge and confidence to stand up for your truth. The higher you climb, the more determined the opposition will be to tear you down. The mama in me wants to respond by keeping you sheltered under my wing, but that’s opposite of good parenting. You were made to be courageous, and I hope you will gain such a spirit by following (your dad’s and) my lead.

Love, 

Mama

When the wolves come and hunt me down
I will face them all and stand my ground
‘Cause there’s a fire burnin’ in me
They will see my strength in this love I found

Little Man Letters: Let’s Climb

Dear Enzo,

You are almost a year old. By day, I watch in amazement as you learn and grow. How did you get SO BIG, SO FAST? I’ll never know. By night, I plan your first birthday party and hustle to finish your nursery.

Planning a party and decorating a nursery are incredibly fun, yet difficult tasks for me. I’m a storyteller. A lover of beauty and meaning, metaphor and words. Never have those things been more important to me than now.

You entered this world a perfect miracle, ours for the raising. You won’t remember your nursery or your first birthday party, but I will. For me, they set the tone for everything your dad and I hope to instill in your heart and mind over the next 17+ years.

When I walk into your room or celebrate your first year, I hope to be reminded of the big picture. Small daily stresses have a way adding up, until they are consuming far too much time and energy. I want your room and your birthday to bring me back to home base.

I’ll try to explain.

Originally the theme of your little man cave was polar bears, until I found a cover for your boppy lounger with mountains on it. It snowballed from there.

Polar bears are still well-represented, but mountains have a commanding presence in your room. I love them in a literal sense, because you’re already a determined climber. But more than that, I love them for all the great metaphors they contain about life and faith.

The innocence of childhood is a magical, yet heart-breaking thing. I would give all I have to make it last, but that’s not possible. Therefore my job is to prepare your spirit for battle, against anything that tries to tear you down and turn you away from your God-given purpose.

It’s an age-old fight that seems to have intensified with time. This generation is increasingly hostile toward Jesus, the bible, and each other. Even within the Church, division is rampant. God’s truth runs counter to culture, making this whole mountain thing as much for me as you.

I feel like I’m standing at the bottom of the tallest, steepest mountain I will ever encounter. Daunted. Wondering how I, with all my sin and flaws, will successfully lead you to Christ. And do so in such a way that you will be more than just a casual fan, liking His teachings but never fully applying them to your life. I want what Jesus wants…for you to follow him. In order to get you to that point, you first have to follow (your dad and) me. The mere thought of it is humbling, terrifying, and motivating, all at the same time. 

Because while I don’t know exactly what God has in store for you, my gut says you will be called to ignite a ceasefire.

The devil has gained a foothold when it comes to unity, and it’s going to take an army of God’s soldiers to shake him loose. I hope you will be among them. Maybe even leading. Which sets a mighty high bar for us as parents. We are your first examples of how to walk in love while standing firmly in truth. A very difficult thing to do.

But there’s no turning back now. You’re here, staring up at us with big, blue eyes. Perpetually imploring What’s next, Dada? Where are we going, Mama?

Up, son.

May our every action, inaction, and interaction lead you in the right direction. So that when our job is done, and we’ve carried you as far as we can go, you will continue on. Taking heaven’s banner to new heights, for all the world to see.

Enough talking. Baby, let’s climb.

Love,

Mama

 

 

Little Man Letters: Your Father’s Heart

Dear Enzo,

Last year on Father’s Day all I knew of you were kicks and hiccups. And all I knew of your dad as a father was that he would put his whole heart into raising you.

It has been the joy of a lifetime to watch you change and grow for the past 9 months. And in many ways, I can say the same about your dad. 

Much ado is made of a mother’s love in story and song (and retail marketing). And it’s all true. I love you with a love that’s otherwordly. But you need to know even though society doesn’t always celebrate dads the same way, he does too. 

He is fiercely protective of you. As a doctor who has seen the devastating effects of a common cold on an infant, he took every possible precaution to keep you healthy through flu season. Remaining resolute in the face of criticism and constant jokes.

If you are in need, there is no end to the lengths he will go. Such as Walmart, in the middle of the night, to get a special swaddle. We could have easily made do until morning, but “making do” absolutely will not do, when it comes to you. 

He is all about anything that will make you laugh. Even if it results in a strained neck from whipping his head around like a crazy person. And he will keep playing a game with you long after I’ve tapped out, because he can’t get enough of your smile. 

He is not a big spender. His preferred apparel is cargo shorts, a $1 solid colored t-shirt, and broken crocs as old as the hills. Yet when we go to the store, I find him drifting toward the toy aisle in search of a Catch Me Kitty (because you love your great-grandparent’s cat) or a DVD of cartoons that might hold your attention. It will be a SIGHT, I’m sure, the first time you point to something on a shelf and look at him with big pleading eyes. His wallet won’t be able to open fast enough. 

He misses you when he is at work, and is a little jealous of all the time I get to spend with you. (So it’s okay if you say Dada first. I’ve heard you repeating it in your crib. Go ahead and say it to him.) His favorite pastime on the weekend is holding you while you sleep. I have approximately 2000 photos of you napping on him. 

These are just sweet, everyday examples of your father’s affection. And while I hope I never have anything more than that to share, I am certain should you encounter sickness, setbacks or despair, his love for you will shine all the brighter.

What I’m trying to say is your dad is usually a very reserved man. He holds his hand close to his chest, “trusting no one, expecting sabotage.” Except when it comes to you. His cards are on the table, he’s ALL. IN. And he always will be.

I pray as you come to understand the depth of his heart it will guide your steps and strengthen your soul. And that no matter how far you decide to one day wander, it will always bring you back home. 

Love,
Mama

Little Man Letters: For Such a Time as This

Dear Enzo,

For as long as I can remember, I have been in pursuit of excellence. No matter the arena, the game plan was the same: climb as high as I could, as fast as I could. I wanted to make a name for myself, as someone who worked hard and achieved great things.

So when my first grade teacher gave out a coloring sheet that said “If you ran the circus, what would you be?” Other kids were writing “Lion Tamer” and “Tight Rope Walker.” I wrote “Ringmaster.” Because that was the correct answer to the question (very technical 7 year old, apparently) and because even then, I knew I wanted to lead.

In third grade I dressed up as a Principal for career day. Later, as an athlete, I strived to be both the captain and the MVP.

My dreams evolved but the lofty aspirations always remained. Eventually I finished my education, and told anyone who asked that I was a children’s librarian, but my ultimate goal was to be a public library director.

So when I decided to stay home, you can imagine all the visions of success and superstardom, dancing in my head.

Then you arrived. And I waltzed into motherhood with all the composure of a bug in a bathtub. There was a lot of scurrying and flailing and general dying.

Because for the first time, whether I succeeded or failed would directly affect someone other than me. God gave me exactly what I wanted: a perfect, healthy baby. And when I looked into your innocent eyes I felt the weight of the world come crashing down on my heart.

The first few months of your life, the phrase “Oh son, what have I done.” crossed my mind a thousand times. I would turn on the TV or pull up Facebook and the news would bring me to tearful knees.

I wanted you. I wanted a family. I dreamed of your Christmas stockings, Halloween costumes, park adventures and sunset walks. I couldn’t wait to watch you grow. But suddenly all that felt so selfish.

This earth is full of beauty, but it is also overflowing with evil. Wars of every kind sprinkle, in some places flood, the landscape. Whether you choose to fight injustice/terror/whatever on your own, or it comes knocking on your door, at some point you will encounter the ugly truths that accompany living in a fallen world. And it will hurt you.

That’s not what I focused on when I planned for you, but it’s all I could think about when I held you.

Then at the height of my inner turmoil (as I was contemplating homeschooling and work-from-your-mama’s-home careers), I found this poster for your room.

Which lead a friend to send me this blog. 

What they have in common is the “You were born for such a time as this” bible reference.

Messages from heaven, reminding me that yes, you are mine and I am yours. But we were both made by God, in His image, for a purpose, first. He brought you, your dad, and I together because we each have something the others need to effectively fulfill those purposes.

So while it is my job to protect you from avoidable harm, it is not His will that I let fear be the guiding force in my parenting. You can’t be a world changer if you’re locked up and hidden from danger. As much as I love you, God loves you more. Far be it from me to block the path He laid out for you. 

Motherhood comes with some heavy emotional burdens, but it also brings such hope. I don’t know yet what you were put here to do, but I know you were created for a time such as this. I promise to set aside my worry and pick up courage, as I do all I can to support you.

Godspeed, Little Man.
I love you.
Mama

 

 

Who is this angel, sent here to change me,
Sent here to take me where I’ve never been?
Long I have wandered, weary and waiting,
For something to shake me and life to begin.

Holy water from my own veins,
Come and save me where I lay.
All this longing for beauty unnamed.
It has broken me open to welcome the hop
e that you bring.