Over the past almost four and almost five years that you have been with me, I have been blessed to witness your many firsts. First rolls. First words. First tottering steps.
First time to yell "NO!" at me. First time to tell me "I love you." First kisses, first tantrums.
As you have grown older, the firsts have become even more exciting. First time to ride a bike. First time to coin a song. First time to write your names.
Today, you both did a first. This one is a little different. I don't remember having any maternal fantasies of you rolling over or cutting a tooth - but this, this I have dreamed about. I have looked forward to this day with longing and excitement. Because this particular first opens an entire new world for you.
Oh, darlings, you just have no idea.
I thought I would see it coming. I didn't expect it to happen the way it did. But, most of the wonderful things in my life, especially since I met your Daddy, have taken me completely by surprise.
Shepherd, you asked me to read you a book. The house was an absolute mess and laundry was all over the floor, but in one of my better moments, I instantly stopped what I was doing and sat down on the couch with you. I opened the book, and said, "I wonder if you could read it?" and pointed to a word on the page.
"No, I dun't know how."
"Just try. Sound it out."
"S...ah...mm. Sam," you said.
"Good job! A-n-d is a sight word," I told you. "And. You just have to remember that a-n-d says and."
"Ok," you said. And then, my sweet boy, you pointed at the words on the page and said,"Sam...and...cat. Mat...and...cat."
And then we both froze. Your eyes were wide, and I am sure mine were too. We stared at each other. Both of us had huge grins on our faces. "You just read, sweet boy. You are reading a book!!"
"I did! I did read, Mom!"
We looked at the next page. You read, "Sam, Mat and..."
Eva Rose, you had been peeking over Shep's shoulder. Suddenly you cried, "Cat!"
My head jerked and I looked at you with the same wide eyes and grin. "I readed too, Mommy!" you said, and you were so proud of yourself.
Eva Rose, you agreed to wait until Shep was done reading the book, which Shep read all the way through!
Then, baby girl, you sat next to me and read that book from the beginning to the end. With only a little help from me.
And then the both of you took turns reading Book 3 (we can't find Book 1). And then you both read Book 4. And then I finally convinced you to stop for the day - you guys wanted to keep on going.
But I promise you both, without a doubt, that there will be many, many more books for us to read together.
Both of you just read three books.
I am so, so proud of you, my precious, brilliant son and daughter.
And I love you more than I could ever say.