Tag Archives: letters to Gideon

ten minutes later

Gideon James.

I cleaned out the chicken coop yesterday.  The raccoons are planning a revolution… I can feel it.  You helped me a little but soon wandered off to do your own work.

Ten minutes later, I found you on the big red tractor and listened to you from behind the tree, “Daddy on?  No on.  Me up?  Up.  Moooooo.  Eeeeeeeeat.  Moo.  Eat.  Hay.”

I helped you down and headed back to the hens.

Ten minutes later, I found you at the kitchen sink, washing your sandbox trucks. “Wash. Me wash.  Me no wa-wa.  Truck wa-wa. Me no wa-wa.”

I turned off the water and pointed you in the direction of your red barn and animals.

Ten minutes later, I found you sitting on the brown leather couch, feet splayed out in front of you, hands to your side, humming into a yellow kazoo with all your might.

I just laughed and left you alone.

Ten minutes later, you were on the kitchen stool in the dining room at the glass cabinet carefully removing all the bowls. “Out? Out.  Me eat.  Out? Out.”   You proudly showed me that each bowl had one piece of honeycomb cereal in it.

I helped you return all 9 bowls to the cabinet and the cereal to your belly.

Ten minutes later, I could not find you.

You were not on the swing. You were not on the porch.  You were not in the pole barn or on the tractor or on the couch. You were not in the basement or doing your own version of laundry.  You were not in Abe’s kennel, Abe’s food, or Abe’s water.  You were not giving yourself a bath or unrolling the toilet paper.

I made my way down the hallway…

You were sitting quietly on my bed, reading the latest Sundance catalog.

With my swimsuit bottoms strapped on like a shirt.


God bless you, Child.

God bless every wiry hair on your head.

Where did you find your kiddo 10 minutes later?

You’d think, wouldn’t you?

Gideon, if you want to go to the store with Dad and Rylie –in the truck- you need to put your coat on.


Gideon, Ry and Dad are leaving –in the truck- in 5 minutes.  If you want to go, you need to be a big boy and put your coat on.


Gus-man.  Ry and Dad are leaving –in the truck.  Grab your coat.


You watched them from the big porch window… and as the truck turned onto the road and reality sunk in, you panicked.

You grabbed your coat off your hook.

You put it on upside-down and (obviously) unzipped.

You ran outside and down the driveway to the mailbox… but it was too late.


And so I watched you from the big porch window.  Your face red and spitting tears.  Walking back up the driveway so very slow.  It was a hard lesson… for both of us, trust me.

You climbed up the stairs and into the house.  You crawled onto the rug and sobbed in a little ball of HeartBreak.

They came back, of course… long after your tears dried and and your coat was hung back on the wall, they came back.  I told Dad it had been a character-shaping moment for you and we both sighed the sighs of parents who have children with wills of their own.

A half and hour later, he gave you another chance.  Because that’s the kind of dad he is.

Gid!  I’m going in the truck to check on the cows.  You wanna go?  Grab your coat!

And with all the self-esteem you could muster, you squared yourself to the window and yelled,


You are my heart, Kid.

My big tears, big smiles, wholly-feeling heart.

I love you.

[My love.]

TWO times the fun

Gideon James,

You’re TWO!  Holy Bananas! And, goodness, if you aren’t just the cutest thing to ever walk the face of this Earth… or the messiest.  You’re 30 pounds of love and swagger. Bath time would be safer with a lifeguard, and your matchbox cars have seen the inside of diapers, the dryer, and looooots of dirt.

You have so many words, Child.  It’s been a blessing to hear you mimic and put sounds together.  It’s taking everything in me not to teach you bad words… everything you say is so dern cute I could put a bow on it.

The front porch is stained with fresh drops of crimson busted-lip blood… which you never cried about and only came inside because you wanted a drink.  You have two volumes: on and off.  On is reeeeeally loud.  But cute.  Off is observant and smirky and busy.

If there were baseball for 2 year olds, you’d be out there in a heartbeat.  Your right arm is a bit of a wonder, and your aim with food and balls alike is wicked accurate.  But your laugh… oh, Gideon.  Your laugh is something to behold.  Mouth wide open.  Head back.  Deep belly laughs… and we hear them daily and without bribing.

You are such a joy.

Slow down, Child.  You are moving too fast. Growing too fast.  I can just barely keep up with you. You do always stop… just a little down the road… to make sure I’m still behind you. And then with that laugh of yours, you are off again. Never in a straight line and rarely without tripping once or seven times.

Please always look back, ok?  You promise to always look back and I promise to always be there.

Love you so much.


log cabins

Gus and I (and, Abby now, too)… we spend a lot of time in-between.  Waiting.  Killing time.  Rylie Joy has some form of therapy or school each day.  Our Fridays are spent at a preschool while Ry has physical therapy, then occupational therapy, and then speech therapy back-to-back.  It’s really not enough time for us to master any worthwhile errands with grace and good humor, so we head to the school gym and make use of the tricycles and balls and water fountains.  By the time Rylie is finished working, 3 out of the 4 of us are usually wet. For several reasons.

Remember in school when the teacher would hang your artwork outside on the classroom bulletin board for all to admire?  It was so amazing to walk down that hall and see your work up there.  You were famous! Your parents confirmed you were the smartest in the class and assumed an art scholarship was right around the corner.  It’s ok that you went another way.  We all have to choose our own path.

This school is no different, and we often stroll down the hallways admiring the letters and pictures and crafts that decorate the boards.  You come to know some of the children.  Nathan is getting much better at writing his name!  Sara only colors with purple.  Xzavier is mad that his parents spelled his name so creatively.  He’s working it out with strong, serious lines.

Gideon is very familiar with the school.  He’s got 2 years of wandering under his belt and often scurries out of the gym and down to Miss Amy’s room before I can catch him.  Or to Patti who has the bubbles.  Or the exercise room with the rocking horse.  He’s not hard to find.  Often he returns with snacks or a sticker, a gift from teachers who have become friends.

This time: stick pretzels.  Every kid loves stick pretzels.  Gus loves anything he can grab by the fist-full.  Pretzels are also immensely crushable, which totally ups their cool factor for SuperKid.  He is out the door and then back again before I can gather Abby up and chase after him, so we share the pretzels in the gym.  He has such a heart, my little man.

We finish our snack and gather our chaos.  Park the bikes along the wall, put the balls back in the storage room.  And then on down the hall to pick up Ry, trailing a few pretzel crumbs as we go.  One of Ry’s therapists stops me on the way and fills me in on her progress.  We stop and chat, me bouncing Abby and watching Gus closely inspect the bulletin boards.

The current theme is President’s Day.  Flags and busts and collages.  And on the preschool board, log cabins… in honor of my favorite Mister Abraham Lincoln. So creative.

Funny that all the log cabins are a little wonky in construction… preschoolers are completely satisfied with the abstract.  Some cabins were missing windows, others chimneys.  Silly Laura, though… she didn’t even color hers in.  Just turned her paper in blank except for the marker outline of a cabin where Honest Abe was born.

Well, a marker outline of a cabin and some glue remnants.

Upon closer inspection, I see that the cabins aren’t colored in-  they’re physically filled in.  And, there’s glue on all of the cabin pictures… glue holding the pretzel ‘logs’ in place.  But Laura’s… there on the bottom row… all of Laura’s logs are missing.  Her cabin has been stripped bare.

It must have been so cold in that little cabin.

Oh, Laura.

I am so sorry we ate your cabin.

We owe you one.

And, that’s really all I can say.

little man

Oh, Gus.

You eat your sandwiches from the center straight down, which leaves a jam mustache from ear to ear.  Please never, never change this.

There was a day this week where you refused to drink ANYTHING unless it was out of a blue wine glass.  I just… well, I have absolutely no idea what to do with that.

You have the ability to go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye.  We will be low on decent pictures of you but full on technicolor memories.

You live fully, Kid.  There is no doubt about it.  You suck out all the marrow of life.  It is exhausting and breath-taking all at once.

We love you so very much… but me most… and Jesus best and above all.

Love, Mom


Oh, the things so very dear to the 2 oldest Littles around here.  The contents change every day or so without rhyme or reason.  But the baggage… the precious, the trinkets, the lovelies, the whathaveyou… it come-th with-eth.  If they are walking, they are carrying their bounty.  If they are sleeping, the Treasures are on the pillow next to their crazy little heads.

Lord, help us all if we forget a piece- for surely The End is nigh.

Many of you hear me loud and clear.

plastic horse, travel toothpaste, bottle, valentine

bulldozer, weighted plastic egg, slap bracelet

crazy 8 cards, magnetic rock, rubber lizard "Blue"

pink pen, koosh ball, play spatula, silicone cups

RANDOM.  What can they possibly be thinking?  As I carefully placed each child’s Essential Items in separate piles last night- easily found in the morning lest All Be Lost- it occurred to me that I have no cause to roll my eyes at their Beautiful and Precious Things.

For I have my own, though now invisible.  

Things I have picked up and chosen to carry with me without fail for years.  As I mentally took a long-overdue inventory of my own baggage, I realized I wanted the slap bracelet and travel toothpaste so much more.

How long have I been carrying the embarrassment of that one day?

The hurt of that other conversation?

The desire for that certain thing?

When exactly did the guilt climb on and stay about that one thing?

When did that picture of that ‘perfection’ settle in?

How long has entitlement been there?  Sneaky thing, entitlement.

If My Things were physical, I would need a trailer to carry them.

This Wednesday starts a beautiful season in the Church: Lent.  For me, it’s the final climb out of winter.  It’s 40 days of introspection where Believers intentionally pray, sacrifice, read, sleep, eat, or simply change to focus on their own relationship with God a bit more.  It’s where we wait for Sunday… for Easter. It’s where we take apart, re-order, and restock.

I don’t know about you, but some of that Baggage has got to go.  It’s heavy.  And, it’s old.  I don’t want it anymore, seen or unseen.  It’s getting in the way.

I need a clear path and a clear heart to do this thing… this life… right.

So, let’s get on with it already.

We’ve got a lot to sort through, Self!

Bring on Wednesday.

I may need to get a head start.

my little man

Dear Gideon James,

Hello, Little Man.  Jolly Monster.  You, my Friend, are my favoritest boy ever.  You are explosive and passionate and built like a tank.    You are constantly covered in a mixture of pasta, snot, grease, and toothpaste.  I cannot get enough of you.

You are independent, happy to play alone but in the company of others.  You have wicked balance and spacial awareness… I have watched you climb up, over, and through things that defy the physics of dexterity.  Sometimes- SOMETIMES – you run into trouble, and it is then that I hear a clear, “MAHM.  MAHM-IE.  MAAAAHM.” for me to rescue you.  Secretly, I live for those moments.

This week, I was hacking through Mt. Laundry while you made the rounds: Abe’s bed, Abe’s food, Abe’s water.  Rylie’s bed.  Rylie’s socks.  Rylie’s shoes.  And then, on to upstairs. In the bathroom (the pipes, Child… I can hear the water come down the pipes) where you climb onto the counter and help yourself to a raging water fountain and then flush the potty 17 times.

Generally, you join me not long after the potty-flushing since most of your life is a stage and you so enjoy the audience.  But this time you did not.  I heard the familiar crash of a bathroom cup hitting the floor and I heard you scrambling to get down… and then I heard, well… not crying exactly but more of an achy annoyed, “Booooooooo hoooo.”  Then, nothing.  I waited for the wailing.  But, nothing.  So I continued folding and you continued splashing with the occasional break to let out the whiny, “Boooo hooo.”  No, “Help.”  No, “Mahm.”  No tears.  Hmmm.

When I finally made it upstairs about 7 minutes later, I did not find you on the coffee table among-st your barn and animals.  I did not find you in the cabinets covered in flour and syrup.  The mitten box was undisturbed and there was no little patter of Gideon Feet to distract me from a disaster in the back of the house  welcome me.  In fact, there was no Gideon to greet me at all.

Because you were still in the bathroom… the back of your shirt hooked on the toilet paper dispenser that collared you as you tried to make your escape off the counter.  Rather than turn yourself in by calling for help, you made the most of your time by emptying the toilet of its water, filling it with the bath toys you could reach, and topping it all off with a layer of unrolled toilet paper icing.

And that is you in a nutshell, Son.  Always in ‘innocent’ trouble.  Rarely flustered.  Constantly looking for something else to do.

I fear for your future, but I am so excited to have ringside seats.

Love, Mom

Dear Gideon James,

I absolutely adore you.

Love, Mom

on your own

Dear Gideon James,

It has been nearly 2 weeks since Rylie left for Texas.  It’s just been you and me at home, the first and maybe only time you will be an ‘only child’ in your life.  You are 15 months old, 25 pounds, and a handful of awesomeness by any measure.

Without Ry you are desperate for someone- anyone– to watch, chase after, pester, yell to, steal food from, and whap with your swords.  You are very much a younger brother and so much of your identity comes from your sister.  This, as a mom, has made me happier than you can possibly realize.

You’ve started walking… though the ladies at church say “you have a long way to go,” as if we’re bummed you wouldn’t win any land races this weekend.  You are an ADORABLE walker, with your arms hiked up to your belly and your self-congratulations. 

You’ve had your fourth double ear infection and ridiculous dosage of antibiotics which do not seem to help… which is un-awesome.  Next week we will meet with an ENT to decide if tubes are in your future. Knowing how sad you are when you have them… and how sad that makes the rest of the family… well, it’s an easy decision for this mamma.  (Mammas, jump in here- they aren’t a super big deal from what I can tell.  Yes? No?)

You’ve lost most of your hair.  During a particularly brutal dinner one night, the peanut butter won and your father decided it was time for a Summer Cut.  Ten minutes later, my Victorian Golden Haired Child was gone and a little rapscalian had taken his place.  I must confess, you are ridiculously handsome either way and I am overly proud that your head is perfectly shaped. 


Child, the tractor.  Lord help us all with your Tractor Infatuation.  You must see it, touch it, drive it every day.  Sometimes, I even leave the house through the basement door just to avoid a visual of The Tractor and sending you into Meltdown Mode.  You are the cutest little farmer there ever was though, and So. Serious. up there working the gears.

I do believe you are my favorite son.  I cannot get enough of you or your wet kisses.

Love, Mom

Christmas will come early

Dear Rylie and Gideon,

It would appear that your parents have learned no healthy fear from the past… from emergency c-sections, from scary developmental diagnoses, from miscarriage, from in-utero diagnoses, from 5 months of colic hell,

from ANYTHING, really…

It would appear that your parents are still optimists when it comes to Littles, and that’s why I am so very happy to tell you both that…

It would appear, if science and God can work it out, you will be joined by another Little Mulder around December 20th of this year.

No- we do not currently have the appropriate car, bedroom, or dining room situation to make this happen smoothly.

Please see the above ‘optimism’ explanation.


Mom (and, in part, Dad)

PG13 version coming Monday.  Stay tuned.