To My Journal Babies
I can remember the day I walked into work, and your “Pap” had put the little message that your mama put on a caramel apple and surprised them with telling them that you were coming! I can remember it saying “something sweet is coming in October,” and boy was it right! Your MeMe and Pap couldn’t have been more excited. Our Journal family could not have been more excited!
The days before you were born, your MeMe was baking up a storm, trying to get brownie points with your daddy so she’d secure some “sugar-time” with you.
The day after you were born? If I heard your Pap say “she’s just a living, breathing doll” once, I heard it fifty-million times. What a proud day for him, and our Journal family. I could not wait to meet you. I didn’t have to wait long, your mama brought you by as soon as she could.
I fell in love with you as soon as I laid eyes on you. You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. When I first held you in my arms, you won my whole heart. Up until that minute, I had never had someone so little have me completely wrapped around her teeny-tiny pinky.
I remember you wearing your little denim overalls and your shiny red shoes, and I remember working while I held you, sleeping, and just being completely and utterly taken aback at how precious you were.
There was nothing that could brighten my day more than getting a sweet visit from you, Whitt, or Gus. All the Dora episodes watched, all the messes we made out in the store front, talking about “poh-ta-bot” hairbows, all the coloring projects we made, and all the “shopping” we did, were some of my most favorite memories from the Journal.
And the sweetest words I ever heard you utter were: “Aunt Leeta, I luh you.”
I was sitting at a restaurant in Carrabelle when I got the call from your MeMe saying you had arrived.
When I saw your big brown eyes, I swear my heart grew twice its size. I remember seeing your first little picture in those tiny overalls and being completely smitten. I never knew how much fun a little boy could be until you came along! No idea!
You brought so much joy to my heart. You’ve been “all-boy” since day one, and I have loved watching every minute of it. Bless your heart, you’ve been bossed by Allie since you were tiny. She thought she had to teach you the ropes, little did she know you’d be giving her a run for her money so quick!
You have made me laugh so much. From you walking into the Journal done-up in your cowboy boots and your cowboy hat, to hearing you say your MaeMae was a “donkey,” to having you tell me about Tiger football and baseball, to having you point at everything that looked like a deer and go “pow-pow,” to hearing about you and Allie running away to go see the parade, you have brought me so much joy.
I enjoyed every single ballgame we had in the front of the Journal. I enjoyed every single minute I spent with you. And my heart smiles at every memory of you calling out for “Aunt Leeta.”
I knew about you before your mama ever told me she was expecting you. See, your mama always seemed to have a hankerin’ for Mexican food when she was pregnant. Personally, I thought your big sister was going to come out with a sombrero. I knew about you as soon as she told me she was driving to Chiefland to go to the Mexican restaurant.
Your mama and daddy were so proud to tell us that you were going to be a little boy! They were so very excited! We were excited to have another little boy running around the Journal. God had different plans, though, and needed you with Him.
I never got to meet you, but I held you in my heart and I said a many a prayer for you. Your mama, daddy, and sister loved you so. Our Journal family loved you so.
I know that you are with Jesus, and I long to meet and hold you one day.
I was so very excited when I heard you were on the way! I can honestly say, I prayed for you from day one. You know, your little heart gave us quite a scare.
I had the least amount of time with you, but you were still so very special to me. I can remember holding you and your mama calling me the baby whisperer, because you fell asleep with me. Of course, I think this only happened once. You were a bit of a force to be reckoned with. Being around your big sister and Gus, I don’t know how you couldn’t be…just to get by.
You have such a fun personality. Part daredevil, part sweet boy. I cannot wait to watch you grow up.
Remember, even when Allie is bossy, it’s just because she loves you so much. Gus once tried to trade Mattie Mae for you, and she said “no.” Speaking of ol’ Gus, I hope that y’all get into as much dirt and mud as you can, I hope y’all get to ride oodles of tractors and boats, and y’all get to catch as many fish as you can handle.
I, like the rest of the world, am anxiously awaiting your arrival. I can just imagine you being the perfect combination of tomboy and girly girl. I hope that you have a love of huntin’ and fishin’, and a great appreciation of hairbows and handbags. I know that you will be the apple of your mama and daddy’s eye. And your big brother…well, you’re going to be the best present he could’ve ever gotten. He might be a little bossy from time to time, but just know that he’s the best big brother around, and he loves you so! He’ll be there to teach you how to play ball, he’ll teach you all about the Tigers, and he’ll show you how to play in the mud.
I cannot wait to meet you, sweet Mattie Mae.
I love you, Journal Babies. I hope you always know this.