My Joseph Michael-
Happy second birthday my sweet boy. Can I tell you a story?
Last December, I went away with your aunts for a weekend. We went to Church at a beautiful cathedral in downtown Columbus (I know, I know, the evil state) and there was the loveliest statue of St. Joseph. I stood before him and begged him to help me be a good mom to you. To my little Joseph. Joey Michael who drives me crazier than I ever thought possible, and yet has a smile that melts me into a thousand pieces.
You see, for me, the second year of life is the toughest. Not quite ready to fully communicate your needs and yet VERY ready to cry when upset. Joey, I gotta keep it real, you spent the first part of your second year of life crying. Crying all.the.time. Crying so much we even made a song for you, “My Joe likes to cry all the time, cry all the time, cryyyy all the time” (set to the tune of ‘my girl likes to party all the time). You see, by the time I took that trip in December, I was kind of spent trying to meet your needs. But praying underneath that statue of Saint Joseph, I started crying. Big and real tears, crying because I love you so much. While praying, I felt pretty strongly something I had sensed before, you, my sweet child, just need a little bit more.
You need a little bit more cuddles than the average kid. I have always said you give the best hugs and you are the best snuggler, but in your second year of life, I learned those cuddles/hugs/snuggles are what helps you thrive. I learned that when I am spent and don’t have an ounce of energy to give to your demands (of the loud, screaming variety) 9 times out of 10 if I just hold you close, it’s all you need.
You need a bit more one on one time. That’s hard to come by in our house of busy with three boys. But I have learned during some bad weeks, that if I take you out for a solo shopping trip, or read a special story to you away from your brothers…it turns things right around.
You need a bit more discipline. This is funny Joey- but you LOVE to test limits. If I tell you no I can see you mentally calculating how much of a problem it will be to disobey me. If you figure you can get away with something, you sure do try! You also like to test my words. When I threaten ‘if you do that one more time, I am going to put you in time out’- I see you choosing to do it one more time, just to see if I am going to drop what I am doing and take the time to discipline. I am learning that I need to, and when I do, it helps you soar…because you know you are loved.
Joseph, the other night I had you in bed, just you and I. And we were cuddling and you were laughing. It’s funny, I love to wake you boys up in the middle of the night and sneak you in bed with daddy and I. The other boys can’t shake sleep off in order to enjoy midnight parties, but you my dear, always ALWAYS wake up with the biggest smile on your face. Ready to go. Ready to party. It is so endearing and that’s why (don’t tell your brothers) you are my favorite kid to midnight party with.
You love your brothers, but they sure do drive you crazy. The other week some people observed that you are kind of the boss with it comes to Little A. That’s true, but it’s only because you spent the first 15 months of your life going with the flow when it came to your brother. Now, you make sure to assert yourself, sometimes even, a little too much. It’s funny when your brothers frustrate you, you clench your jaw when you are frustrated. Your new thing is to steam roll them, just charge for the tackle. Although I always have to correct you, frankly, it’s a bit adorable. You and Aaron truly are buddies, but you occasionally show yourselves to be frenemies. Oh man, and when you tag team to drive me crazy…I.can’t.even.
Joey so many people love you. You continue to have an incredibly special relationship with your Har Har. You are so content when you are sitting on his lap. Papa is your buddy and you love wearing his baseball hats. Grammy and Busie both love you so much! Your smile melts them like it melts me, I can tell.
I remember someone saying to me, ‘That Joey is a character’. SO TRUE. When you love, you love big. When you laugh, you laugh big. When you cry, well, as I said, you cry big.
There’s no one like you joseph, with your tight curly hair and your smile that illuminates a room. And I am so blessed, beyond words, to be your mom. The fact that God has allowed us to raise you is amazing and if I take time to consider the miracle, it overwhelms me. I love when you blow Jesus kisses. You were the first one to know (on your own) that the picture in your room of the mother and child is the blessed mother and baby Jesus. You love to look at that picture. I love to think of the Blessed Mother watching over us all, and seeing you as the perfect gift you are.
*photos by rwasylyshyn photography (rwasylphotography.com)