Sage: 51 months

This is the most delayed your letter has ever been, I think. I feel pretty terrible about it.

I went to Boston for some training the week of March 14th; the week of March 28th, we were preparing to go to Indianapolis. I’m not sure what happened during the week between to make it difficult for me to write your letter. I mean, I know there was packing, there was planning, etc, etc, etc… but I should have done this before now.

We’re in the new house now. We’ve been in it for only a week and a half, and we still have scads of boxes we’re going through as we can, but we’re here. You’ve had a chance to play in the backyard, you love your new room with the rainbow wall that you requested, and in general we’ve done pretty well here.

It’s still a tough change for you, though. You miss spending time with Grandpa Ray and Grandma Max every evening, and you’ve more than once told us that you’d rather go back to live in Indiana (usually any time something doesn’t go your way out here).

I’ve hesitated telling you some things in these letters, because I don’t want you to think that things were worse than they really were… but I want to be honest with you. You’re going through a very difficult phase, in terms of your behavior. You’ve started whining a lot. You’ve started talking back a lot and telling us that you don’t want to do what we’ve told you to do. We know this is natural, but it sure can be difficult.

On the other hand, you spent several days without us in Indiana with your Grandma Carol and Papa, and everyone reported back to us that you were incredibly well-behaved and said “please” and “thank you” a lot. So we know you can behave; you’re just not always wanting to do it for us.

I think a lot of it has to do with the changes that are going on, and the fact that it is a little harder for us to give you as much attention as you’ve had for the past several months. We’re trying hard to balance things; we’ve taken opportunities to take you for treats and to spend a little extra time with you at home with crafts or books. But the bottom line is that you’re four, and it’s a tough age.

You keep proving yourself to be smarter than we expect, even though we expect you to be smart. On the way to Indiana, your mother pointed out pink clouds; you told us they looked like a constellation, explained what a constellation was, named a couple of them, and told us that the Little Dipper had a star in it called Polaris.

You use words like “responsibility” and “absolutely.” Not many four-year-olds do that.

You’ve started coming up with your own stories instead of just parroting back stories you’ve heard before; you combine ideas in a way that shows me you’re using creativity and imagination.

The one thing I really miss is snuggling with you. You don’t really let me do that anymore, most of the time. You’re too busy running and being active. And at bedtime, you usually are fighting the urge to sleep by trying to remain in motion. I don’t get many snuggles with you anymore… but it makes the moments that you do snuggle with me even better.

Your advice for this month: of course, the first is what I always tell you. Be who you are. To be honest with you, I’m still struggling to do this, and I’m almost forty years old; it’s not an easy thing to do, and you’ll run into lots of reasons not to do it, but try to hold true to yourself. Be who you are.

But the other advice: learn to apologize. It’s a difficult skill to really master, but it’s important. It’s important to apologize sincerely and without defense. It’s also important to not apologize when it isn’t warranted. Sometimes it’s better to say “Thank you for being patient with me” than “I’m sorry I took so long.” But here’s the real kicker: learning when to apologize also means that sometimes you may need to apologize even if you don’t feel like you’ve done wrong. If someone tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to tell them that you didn’t. Stand up for what you believe, but always try to determine which is more important to you: keeping peace and helping someone else heal, or being “right.”

I love you, Sage. With all my heart. Your mother and I both do! I hope as we continue to turn this house into our home that you’ll settle in to the new routine. And maybe we’ll snuggle a bit, too.

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