I always intended to write you a letter for every month of your life like your Aunts Haley and Kelly have so beautifully done for your cousins. Today, however, you are six months old, (!!!) and this is the first letter I have to show for myself. I really do regret this, and though my excuse is inadequate, I will submit it presently: every spare moment I have had, I have invariably spent kissing your giant, irresistibly poofy cheeks. Even now, I am tempted to put down this computer and take you from Daniel and smooch those chubby baby jowls and your abundance of other fat rolls. Please excuse my utter inability to get things done. I can't help myself. I'm ruined.
After the beach, we went to Gam and Geez's house where you enjoyed your first four wheeler ride with Geez, Gam taught you to blow raspberries, and you hung out with your Aunt Kelly and cousins Clark and Griffin.
|You and Geez embarking on your 50th four wheeler ride in 2 days|
|You and Griffin share a tender moment. Mooshka to the max!|
A couple of weeks after we returned home from Mississippi, our church had a baby dedication service and the vast majority of your entourage drove to Nashville from distant lands to celebrate. After the service we had a barbecue at our house with lots of family and friends, and you spent the afternoon being a social butterfly and getting held by lots of people who love you, which has got to be one of your favorite things in the world.
|From left to right: Everybody in the world.|
Let me tell you, Leland; you are some kinda crazy about your daddy. You would stare at his face for days if he would only sit still long enough, and nothing delights you more than when the two of you play together. You will also sit quietly and contentedly in Daniel's lap without any additional entertainment much longer than you would ever tolerate such an uneventful stint in mine. Daniel usually travels out of town a few times a month for work. While he's gone, I am not entirely sure if you realize what you're missing (such a complex emotion would be more difficult to communicate nonverbally than, say, hunger, which you tell me about by opening your mouth like a baby bird and violently ramming your face repeatedly into the area from which you are accustomed to receiving milk, often growling ferociously.) but you usually get a pretty bad case of the grumps during Daniel's absence, and when he comes back you light up like a Christmas tree. It's so sweet to me to see how much you love your daddy, and I'll let you in on a little secret: I happen to know he loves you more.
The Johnny Jump Up
|Bathing in the glow of the fish tank|
Since you were under one month old, you have been very, very into the saltwater tank in your room, which contains several types of coral, a couple of clown fish, and incidentally, 2 sea urchins who must have lived as eggs in some of the live rock Daniel put in there until one day they just appeared, seemingly out of thin air. Daniel and I have often held you and stood in front of the tank, where your attention remains undivided for as long as it is in sight. It's bright and colorful and it has fish that swim and little fan-like motors that blow the coral like trees in the wind, and you find it absolutely mesmerizing. The only trouble with this is that during the day when you're supposed to be napping, you have been known to squirm your way into a position from which you can observe the fishes, which you do quietly and reverently for the entirety of your nap.
Leland, you are a little dreamboat. Everywhere I go, women fall over themselves and swoon before melting into puddles of goo, saying things like, "I cannot say no to your fuzzy baby head!" and, "Your tiny little mouth is the teeniest of tiny mouths!" (These are both actual excerpts from conversations I have overheard between you and our friend Hannah Hester.) You are clearly aware that the ladies of the world are silly putty in your tiny baby hands, which is probably why you've developed such an affinity for this particular demographic and have learned to pander to them, rapidly becoming quite the flirtatious little charmer. You enjoy fluttering your lashes and feigning shyness, flashing giant, toothless grins just before bashfully burying your face in whomever's chest is most conveniently located before you. I am not above being bamboozled into making the same kind of sloppy displays as other women, by the way. Daniel and I both like to narrate your thoughts, (Constantly. It's actually a little weird, I'm afraid.) and Daniel has often looked over at me cooing hysterically over you and said, "Mommy gives me whatever I want!" And alas, it is true. I do do that.
The first food we fed you was bananas, which may have been a mistake. The only way we can get you to eat anything else now is by mixing bananas in. I need not go on: this video of your first taste of nanners says it all:
I can hardly believe you are a six month old. I remember the first day of Leland Elijah like it was yesterday, and yet, everything from before you were here seems far-off and hazy. You are such a gift. Our days are infinitely sweeter and brighter with the joy that you bring to our world. The little details in our lives seem to hold a lot more significance, too, knowing that the habits we form and the individual choices we make day by day will all ultimately contribute to what kind of home you will grow up in, and what you will learn about the world from us. Everything seems profoundly more important, because you are so important and beloved. I hope that with God's help, ours will be a home where you will always know that you are loved unconditionally. I hope that you'll never hide who you are or how you feel, or even what you've done, because you'll know nothing can change how much you are loved. And it's a lot, Leland. A whole lot.