Sage: 22 Months

Well, it finally happened. I knew that it would. I missed writing you a letter on the 24th.

I have reasons and excuses and justifications, but the bottom line is that I missed it. I feel badly about it, even though I know that you’ll probably never care that once I was a day late.

You’re growing by leaps and bounds — at least mentally. You’re showing SO MUCH imagination and verbal ability that we’re sometimes scared of how smart you may turn out to be. One of our favorite moments from this month: I was showing you pictures of baby animals online, and you saw a sloth that was slumped comfortably on a branch. You pointed and asked, “Bear?” I said, “Sloth. Sloth.” You immediately threw yourself down on the couch cushion, limp as a bag of jelly, and said, “I’M A FLOFF!”

You have started insisting on taking books to bed. Your favorites so far for that are an Old McDonald’s Farm book and Dr. Seuss’s ABC book.

You’re starting to get the ideas of letters — or at least that letters exist. This past Sunday I sat with you in the nursery at church and watched as you scribbled with a crayon on paper, saying, “A… D… S… P!”

You also are starting to count. You’re pretty consistent with “1, 2, 3,” but after that it’s a little unpredictable. Often, the next number is 8.

You like a few TV shows that we let you watch sometimes. Your favorite is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (or as you call it, “Mouse House!”). You like all the characters, but your favorites seem to be Mickey, Pete, and especially Toodles. You also really like Captain Hook from the show “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.” While it certainly doesn’t match up with your father’s memories of Neverland stories, Hook was always my favorite in those as well.

However, there’s one thing that has me concerned.

You’re obsessed with shoes. And phones. And purses.

I’m not sure if this is setting a trend for the future, but it worries me. In a fairly light-hearted way, let me assure you, but with a small streak of actual concern.

Nobody in my family has ever been a real “girly-girl.” For one thing, we’ve never really been wealthy enough to be fashion-conscious, but we’ve also all had a tendency to be more focused on ideas and learning. I tease your mother, sometimes, about having a lot of shoes — but realistically, she doesn’t have anywhere near the number of shoes of many other women I know.

Here’s the thing. While I want you to be smart and deep and thoughtful and so on, I’ve learned that you can be all of those things and still pay attention to fashion and appearance, so I’m counting on the smart part to pull through.

What I worry about is this.

I don’t know how to talk about shoes.

The point is this… I love you so much. I love sharing things with you. Right now, we can share pretty much everything in your life, except little things, like the fact that you like raisins and I don’t. I love that when you get excited about Mouse House, I can enjoy your enjoyment. When you like to play with your stuffed monkeys, I can play along with you. When you want to read a book, I can read it with you.

And your interest in shoes is starting to make me realize that at some point, you will develop a more complete personality and you’ll be interested in things that I won’t understand, or that I won’t even like.

As overblown as it sounds… as dumb as it may sound… it’s the first real sign I’ve had that you’re not going to be my little girl forever.

So, yeah. Your father has a tendency to take things to heart.

But I remind myself that I’m sure I didn’t turn out exactly the way my parents envisioned when I was not yet two. I’m not saying that I disappoint them; on the contrary, I know how proud of me they are, even when I make decisions that they’re not happy with (for example, living 700 miles away, or swearing).

I’ll never be disappointed in you for who you are. I may be disappointed in some decisions here and there, I’m sure. That’s just part of life and parenthood, I think.

But even then, I will love you so madly that frankly you may get tired of me. I’ll apologize in advance for not being sorry about that at all.

This month’s advice: try new things. I’m not even going to elaborate on that beyond the automatic parent-phrase of “within reason!”

Also, be yourself. Be who you are. Fight to be who you are. Fight the power, society, family, friends, and yourself in order to be who you are. You’ll feel better for it. (But fight fair. You don’t want to lose family and friends that you don’t have to.)

I love you, Sage. Your mother and I both do, so, so much.

And we will always love you, even if you’re all about shoes.

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