As I type this, I am less that 24 hours away from being induced and paving the way to meet my daughter. This has me in a ball of emotions, as it’s the last day I’m a mom of one, the last day we’re a family of three. I feel like I’ve been crying for days and finding every moment I can to just stare at my little guy, trying to memorize pieces of his face and the way his hair smells because I know that in just one day, I won’t have the luxury of that kind of focus any more. And, while I’m beyond excited to meet the cherub-esque gremlin who has taken residence in my body for the past nine months, I’m also lamenting the loss of my time of just being “Aiden’s mama.”
Parenting is such a bizarre business and it has changed me in ways that are so profound, I know that I will never go back to being the person I used to be. When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I was ecstatic. And, despite the general ickyness and discomfort of pregnancy, I’ve maintained that perspective for most of this process. But as the time approaches, I’ve been surprised to discover that sadness and guilt have crept their way into my heart. I hear this is normal. And also, you know, hormones, so I can blame a lot on those. And that’s all ok, because most of parenting is a mixture of joy and guilt anyway. But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m somehow betraying Aiden by forcing him to share me with someone else. And, weirdly, I find it somehow comforting that maybe my mom felt the same way about me when she was about to have my brother. Maybe this is a rite of passage to becoming a mom of two.
So, on my last day being just Aiden’s mommy, I wanted to honor the last three and a half years we’ve spent together because one day–maybe when he’s an angsty teenager with emo hair and headphones growing out of his ear canals–he’ll know how much he taught me about being a mom. Thank you in advance for indulging me in this basket of feelings.
A Letter to My Son
I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell you this, but I didn’t want a boy at first. I teach boys, and I don’t understand them. They smell and make strange noises and wrestle all the time. Girls make sense to me. So when I found out you were going to be a boy, I wasn’t sure I would know how to connect with you. I didn’t think I’d get you. But I was so wrong. I can’t imagine my life any other way than being a mom to a little boy, to you specifically. We connected the moment I saw you, and you spent every single day of your first year literally hanging off of me. Watching you grow into your boyness has been my favorite thing, whether you are furrowing your brow over a puzzle, exclaiming, “It’s a match!” or zooming one of your nine million cars along the edge of the couch, or running in circles around the kitchen island because you have so much energy in your little body, you don’t know what to do with it. It all makes my heart explode with gratitude for having the chance to watch you become the person you’re meant to be. I know you’re only three, but you are this whole person already; you’re independent, kind, sensitive, silly, and smart. And I totally get you because you’re mine.
I want you to know that before you came into my life, I didn’t really understand how love works. I love your father with my whole heart, but that love is a choice, one made every day through actions and compromise. It’s a love that has to be nurtured, that grew from something that wasn’t love into something that was, that needs to be tended each day and year. My love for you is different. My love for you was instantaneous–born the second you were born with overwhelming intensity that has not wavered or changed since that moment. I have loved you with every fiber of my soul from moment one. A mother’s love isn’t a choice; it’s instinct. It is fierce, roaring, and primal, and it radiates out of my very marrow. It illuminated a part of my path that I hadn’t recognized previously, that my whole purpose in this life is to protect you. I did not know I was capable of this kind of love until you.
I want you to know that you have changed me for the better. You have taught me patience. You have taught me the beauty in slowing down to admire the small things. You have taught me how to block out the inconsequential. You have taught me awe–how there is such joy to be found in a balloon, that nature is magical, that airplanes and lights and trains are mesmerizing. You have taught me what it means to live selflessly. You have taught me the weight of responsibility and the power of fear–that living in constant worry sharpens your senses and strengthens your resolve to be and do better. You have taught me just how much family means to me–that at the same time I discovered the depths of my love for you, the love I have for my husband, parents, mother-in-law, brother, niece, and nephews would swell and deepen. In your short time on this earth, you have given more to me than any other person in my life.
And lastly, I want you to know that this new baby is a gift. I know there may be times it may not seem like it, and you may get frustrated or jealous. And that’s ok. I’m an older sibling too, just like you. I was the same age as you when Grandma and Grandpa brought him home, and I was worried because I thought they were going to forget about me. But as it turns out, my little brother was the greatest gift they could have given me. He has been my partner in crime for life, my built-in best friend, and I could never imagine my world without him. That’s how it will be for you two. You are going to be the best big brother, and you will be her hero forever. There is no one I trust more to play this role.
This is not an end; it’s a beginning. Know that the last three years of my life have been my absolute favorite, and it’s all because of you. You will always be my first-born. You will always be the one who made me a mom and changed me. I love you forever.