Dear Nia & Sam,
You know what I'm going to say so I am tempted to not even continue. I'm late. Very late. Should I go on with the excuses and let the begging for forgiveness commence? Neither one of you have letters from me on your last birthdays, but you did turn three and six. I swear, I saw it happen with my own eyes. Sammy, you are going to be turning four in a couple months and I am thanking God for two things:
1. You finally stopped pooping in your underwear
2. I see your Ujak in your sweet face often
He passed away ten days before your third birthday, and while my heart held so much love for you and I had so many feelings I wanted to document for you, his death crippled me for some time - and still does - in a lot of ways. But the most important thing for you to know is that the reason it is so difficult for me to process is because of the love I have for him. It's a love that you and your sister will have forever. I am so overjoyed for you both that you get to receive such a blessing. Don't ever take it for granted. I see so much of us in the two of you. God blesses me with this moment after moment.
You are best friends, and Nia, I know he tries your patience at times, but he is the first one to remind you how much he loves you when you are sad. He is the first one to run to you when you get home from school, and sometimes he even makes you laugh harder than Daddy. Now THAT is something! Sammy, I can't wait to see what this year brings, but then again, I can. I can wait. Because I feel like I have been in a fog this past year, and I want to soak in every single second of this next one.
My Antonia, when did you get to be such a little lady? When did you learn to read chapters and dance the actual steps, and know them by name - in French?! You are such a sensitive soul and I absolutely love your heart. You woke up yesterday morning with fangs, and I tried my best to keep my distance lest you drain me of life. And then, out of nowhere in the early afternoon, you turned to me and said, "Mama? I was mean when I woke up and I hurt Sammy's feelings. Do I have to say I'm sorry, or can I just feel it?" After I choked down my tears I said, "Oh honey, I am so glad you are feeling better. I bet Sammy would love to hear that you are sorry so that he can forgive you." You didn't say anything right away, to me or your brother. This is where the pieces of me have collected inside of you.
You had to feel, and you had to think about how you made him feel, and then you had to feel badly about it. You had to feel so sorry in your heart, repeatedly, and then come to the slow realization that if you didn't get it out it would consume you. I know this process well. People think it is stubbornness, and maybe it is, I don't know. But maybe it's that the feelings are unbelievably strong and they reverberate painfully in your brain and they're so loud you can't speak over the silence right away. You can't make sense. It's not until later that your words come into focus and you realize there isn't anything that could possibly stop you from making it better. And that's when I heard you from the other room.
"I'm sorry I was rude to you."
"Do you forgive me?"
"Wanna pyay Mario Brudders?"
And all was right with the world.
You both should know something in reference to yourselves and the place we call home:
This little house was built brick by brick. It crumbles in places where the seams are weak and it wears with time. But God makes firm, this house, from the foundation up. It will continue to be a work in progress. A beautiful mess. A constant renovation. And if you let the light in (and maybe a friend or two), it won't be dark for long.