To My First Baby

Katie Kleinjung Dear Shep, Life, Our Family Leave a Comment

My first baby.

The one who made me a mom and made Stephen a dad.

March 29, 2014 // First Family Photo

March 29, 2014 // First Family Photo

My sweet boy.
My now one year old.
My soon-to-be oldest baby, you’ll always be my first baby.
Before you were born, Dad and I spent a lot of time waiting on words from God about you; what you’d be like, what you would need, how He wanted us to pray for you.
Some of the things He said right away to us were: you would be sensitive, you would have a lot of feelings- many of them tender, you would be content being with just me and Dad- that you may even prefer small amounts of people over large ones, that you would be a people person, that you would be particular, that you would not always be easy but you would always be worth every single thing we have to give you in trying to figure out what you want or need.
That your name would be a prophetic declaration over your life. That you would in fact be a shepherd to people, that you would lead by living among and that your service and dedication to others would be your invitation and authority to lead.
I can’t speak to your name being prophetic yet, but I can say for certain that every single inkling we had about you and every word God gave us has proven true.
You are so much like your Dad. You are so sensitive, you are so tender. You love to love and be loved. Your little tender heart comes out via resting your forehead on us when you’re tired and gingerly touching babies with your first finger and snuggling as much as we let you.
Tender little one.

Tender little one.

You’re the definition of a people person. If people are clapping, you join in. If someone waves to anyone, you wave back. If someone walks by, you yell hi and smile and wave. If we laugh at something you do, you do it ten times in a row. If anyone around you is laughing or happy, you assume it’s because of you and you try and join in or respond.
So many people comment on how happy you are, which is totally true. But you also spent the majority of the first couple months of your life crying. You were sad a lot, for reasons unknown to us (or medical science it seemed). But we adored you the same. We fell in love with you while wearing you and bouncing you and Dad would sing to you “The Song of The Day” and mom was a pumping lunatic. In those first couple hazy and hard months, you killed off any selfishness we had at home. You had a lot of feelings and needed a lot, and nothing made us feel more whole then being your solution.
Big feelings. Many.

Big feelings. Many.

We would lay in bed with you between us and just look at you, Shepherd. Dad and I continually marveled at how much we loved such a new human we hardly knew. We would laugh the hardest we’ve ever laughed at the faces you’d make or the situations we’d three get in. We spent a lot of time just being together, the three of us. And we loved it.

My First Mother's Day; look at that tired, scared, happy and in love face you gave me.

My First Mother’s Day; look at that tired, scared, happy and in love face you gave me.

You and me, Shepherd, we have a unique bond. When Dad had his third surgery, it was just you and me. Yes, people helped and some even spent a night with you so I could be at the hospital overnight with Dad, but day in and day out, it was you and me. We’d wake up, pack our ten million things and head to United and camp until bedtime. You napped there, I pumped there, we even celebrated Dad’s first Father’s Day there. You were my buddy, my piece of Dad to hang onto when things were scary and hard. For better or worse, you gave me a huge sense of purpose and comfort for those few weeks. We were a team, you and me.

You, my first baby. My now one year old baby.

My baby who loves to swim and play with animals. My baby who slams his head against my belly when he’s tired. My baby who rubs his nose face down against the mattress before falling asleep. My baby who is a daddy’s boy and cannot get enough of whatever Dad is doing.

My baby who moved four times in his first year of life.

My baby who has a Thai Visa.

My baby who became a missionary with his mom and dad.

My baby who slept in our room until recently.

My baby who is so known by God and so loved by his mom and dad.

My baby who will live among people and lead them through service and dedication.

My Shepherd boy.

This pose.

This pose.

As your turn one, my love, know that there are feelings and moments and memories that will only ever live in our hearts that have literally changed us. You won’t know what’s happening tomorrow, this year you will not remember. But we will.



You, in making us parents, have made us become more the woman and man God created us to be. Part of His call on our lives is being your parents. And part of parenting you, my love, is allowing Him to parent us in new a deeper, harder ways.


So yes, we know this first birthday (and honestly probably the next couple too) is more about us. But it’s about us in that we are yours, now. We joke around that you know we belong to you. Joke or not, there’s a lot of truth in that as a family, we go together.

A year ago you came into our lives and made us different. Your presence in our lives has made us more of who we are.

So, Birthday Boy, thank you.

My boy.

My boy.

Thank you for showing Dad and I that yes, we can do hard things. Harder than we thought. And for teaching us that our capacity, our capacity for struggle, for frustration, for lack of sleep, for love, for understanding, for compassion, is much more than we thought it was.

Thank you for showing me a whole new kind of love, Shepherd. A love that can keep going when it feels impossible, a love that has no bottom, a love that endures and chooses the other consistently.

Our family was born in the midst of pressing and hardship, and you were the light through it all.

It is an honor and a joy to have you, to raise you, to parent you, to get to call you ours. 

Dad and I are committed to hitting our knees on behalf of you, You belong to God, and we have been gifted you for such a short span of time. We take the weight and the responsibility of raising you as God wants seriously. Just as we waited on Him for words about you and direction on how to be your parents before you were born, we do even more so now.

You are better than I dreamed, Shepherd. And I will love you forever.

Happy Birthday, my dear.



(professional photos curtesy of Everbranch Photography)

Posted by Katie

Posted by Katie

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