I did warn you about a sap overload this week – and as promised here we are. From October through the 2nd of January, I am one happy camper. Cooler weather, fall leaves, apples, carmel drinks, sweater weather, and it all fades into beautiful crisp winter. In my neck of the woods that means blankets of white snow just beyond the decorated christmas tree, cinnamon and balsa wood filling the air. Of course this time of year also has my most favorite celebrations, A’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, and New Years. So many reasons to celebrate and so many blessings to remember. So to mark the second birthday of my little girl – what other than a letter?
Two short years ago I was just settling in for my first hospital stay. The end of a very uncomfortable last few weeks of pregnancy were nearing an end. Grandma dropped me off at the hospital to start my induction. You were all too happy to stay put and push my ands away any time I tried to touch my belly.
I wish I could write you a beautifully crafted note about all the ways in which you changed my life. The ways in which you made me a better person and so on and so forth. And all of those things are probably true but life before you is a distant memory. I know things mattered and had importance. I know that I had a life, but looking back it seems like that was all just ‘stuff’ filling up time before I truly started my life.
I won’t fill your head with misgivings about motherhood – it is hard and it certainly isn’t for everyone.
I also wish I could tell you that the moment you were born I was so overwhelmed with emotion, that I cried, I laughed, and that I was so overcome with joy and love. The reality is that I have loved you since before I even met your daddy. I didn’t become a mother October 8, 2012 – I have always been your mother, I just didn’t have to wait for you anymore. When you were born all I wanted was for all the medical staff to finish their poking, prodding, questioning, and educating, give us both a clean bill of health and get out of my room so we could get on with being a family.
Instead of tears and joy when you were born, I asked for cake. It doesn’t match the romanticized view we have of the day our children are born, but I would hope that if you should ever choose to have children, you would have a similar experience. Realize the moment is a ‘big moment’ and that it is special but like a wedding is, it is just a moment and what matters is the on going relationship. I didn’t think of it at the moment but when I said ‘I want cake’ (daddy did get that on video so it might be important to mention and explain myself somewhere), what I was really saying is ‘I have a new role, and I accept that as just part of my life. I want to start our lives without delay’.
I think we did that with a fair amount of success. We delivered you in a hospital without a nursery for healthy babies so you would room in with us no questions asked, and the day you came home from the hospital was your first Target trip. We went to the pharmacy where mommy used to work and where I met your daddy. I hope you have felt that over the last 2 years – even if you won’t have memories of these most precious times.
It seems like yesterday we were celebrating your first birthday. I was amazed at what a vibrant and bright little girl you had become. Reflecting on the past two years I am amazed at how much you have changed. There are little moments I try to capture in my mind and hold onto with all my might. As you get older you will probably get so sick of me telling you little embarrassing stories about when you were little – like how you give kisses with the most enthusiastic MUHHHA. Not cool when you are sixteen, but now I am trying to hold onto those little moments that are slipping through my fingers like little grains of sand.
The day you were born, I finally met my match. And I am so proud! You can be so stubborn and bossy and pushy. That sounds bad, but those skills are going to serve you well in your future. While a two year old throwing a tantrum isn’t cute and is hard to handle, a twenty-something who stands her ground and stands up for what she believes in is an amazing thing to be. A two year old who is as independent thinking as you can be is not an easy child to parent, but a sixteen year old who zigs when here peers zag because she thinks for herself is a sixteen year old I can be proud of. And of course a little girl who often elicits comments from her daddy of ‘you are your mother’s child’ or ‘you are just like mommy’ for exhibiting those qualities, is a point of immediate pride and flattery.
What is even better about you?
I can see your daddy too, and while I don’t often tell him this, I am so thankful. Mommy has passed on a lot of qualities that might make life a little harder in some regards, but you are so laid back and easy going like your daddy most of the time. Until you zero in on something, you are such a happy easy going little girl. Not many things seem to bother you – that you get from your daddy. I often worry that you are going to be a little too ‘type A’ that you are going to want things just so and that you may have a little anxiety when things are not such, but the older you get the stronger both sides of your personality become. I pray that your daddy’s go with the flow nature will balance out your tenacious nature just enough to let you enjoy life as it comes.
Today you and I have several battle of the wills – and it is so hard to be in it to win it when secretly I am beaming with pride. I am proud of how independently you think, how sure you are of what you want in those moments, and just how much I see me in your fight. I know in these moments I often ‘end your universe’ and I also know in these moments you win far more than I should let you … at least according to the experts.
I also know that I am not perfect and in the past two years I have probably made more mistakes in my job as your mommy than I can count, but I also know that not only am I doing something right but you feel safe and loved. I know because of the smile on your face in the morning when you see me, the way you look at me for encouragement when you are doing something new, how sometimes you just come over to be sure I am still near. I know because there is no shortage of hugs, kisses, snuggles, and ‘I loo you’s coming from your impossibly sweet self. And I know because of how happy you are to see us at the end of the day … even if you don’t want to go home.
I would love to tell you all the ways you have changed my life and all the ways you are wonderful and great. And you have and you are, but you are a little girl who challenges me everyday and to tell you all the ways life is better after you would require me to remember life before you. I know it was there and I know it was great in its own way – but I truly can’t tell you all the ways it is better because I don’t remember life before you.
I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.