Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dear Emmylou,

Forgive me for being so late with your monthly newsletter- you turned 13 months old on Saturday, three days ago. We've been busy and every time I was ready to write it, you learned how to do something new! I'm sure I'll miss writing about whatever it is you'll learn to do tomorrow, but if I don't do this now, who knows when I'll get to it.

Here's what you're up to: a couple of days ago you learned how to suck through a straw, but it took an additional day to learn how to swallow what you sucked up, rather than dribble it on your clothes or a pile of napkins I held under your chin. Your favorite game is chase- you'll run down the hall with a huge smile on your face and if no one follows you on the first try, you'll sneak back up and peek around the corner to invite us to "getcha!" Once we get up, you run down the hall laughing like a sweet maniac until we scoop you up and kiss you all over. You also happen to think that throwing food on the floor is a game even though I'm trying like hell not to laugh when you do it and tell you "no" about a hundred times during each meal. Today at a restaurant I even got up and borrowed their broom because I was so embarrassed by the display you left on their floor! You dance whenever music comes on, you clap when it ends, and you love strumming my guitar while I change the chords. Mostly, though, you are just busy. Climbing up, climbing down, exploring every object, nook and cranny, getting your hands on whatever is new and not a toy. You can open the front and side doors if they're unlocked and you like to climb into the dishwasher. I wrote earlier this month that I was exhausted but I've since recovered and find that I am having an absolute blast watching you grow and experiencing every single day with you. What a gift your daddy gives me to let me stay home with you! Your laugh has gotten strong and sweet and I could never hear it enough.

Emmylou, something terrible happened in our country yesterday. A shooting at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead. As I wonder how something like this can happen, my thoughts, of course, lead me to question what kind of a world you will grow up in. You were born during a war that shouldn't have happened, and the innocent lives lost yesterday are mirrored almost daily in Iraq but never receive the attention they deserve. You live in a country where many people refuse to believe that global warming is an actual reality, instead shrugging it off as an annoyance or a figment of "leftist" imaginations. To say that I worry about the country and world we're giving you would be a gross understatement. These days I actually get angry at people who don't recycle or make a conscious effort to conserve the environment and our resources, because in my mind, they are saying they don't care enough about you to leave you a healthy planet. And why do ordinary citizens need semi-automatic weapons? Fast forward 18 years and that could have been you sitting in a classroom in Norris Hall. Of course I take it personally because now, to me, it's all about you.

I know I sound disheartened, but in spite of all this, I really am trying to lose my cynicism and gain more hope. I see so much goodness in your soul even as you are so very little, and I have to believe that everyone is born with a similar goodness that could be combined to make a real difference. My hope is that you'll see the day that happens and never stop smiling. Until then, let's play and keep our spirits up- I promise to love and protect you forever and ever.

All my love,

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