My sweet girl,
Sometimes I feel like we’ve known each other forever–and in some sense, maybe we have–but it’s really only been 22 months. How can that be, when your smile, your laughter, your singing, your hugs, your kisses, your hand in mine, even your tears, and the way you look when you sleep are forever imprinted on my mind’s eye? When these simultaneously familiar and extraordinary things have become the most important parts of my every day?
With this letter, I’m starting an annual tradition. Like I did last year, I’m writing to you as Mother’s Day approaches to tell you how much I love you, and to thank you for making me a mom and for all the joy you bring into my life. With your curiosity and carefree spirit, with your open eyes and open heart, with your bravery and kindness, you remind me not to take anything for granted; to appreciate fleeting moments like spotting a ladybug in the grass; to be nice to everyone (even random dogs strolling by on the sidewalks, each of whom you want to pet and hug and kiss); to be proud of all accomplishments, big and small; and to get excited about seemingly ordinary things–like peeing. Which reminds me…
On the morning you were born, July 7, 2010, the first thing I heard the doctors say about you was this: “She’s peeing!” True story. And then I saw your soft, warm, wriggly, wet body and, instantly, just like that, I fell in love with you. True love at first sight. But the peeing anecdote is especially funny to me now that we’re approaching potty-training time. For the past few weeks, you’ve been peeing in your potty every night before or after your bath and you get so excited every time, shouting, “Mommy, I peed! I peed.” And then you turn around and try to stick your hand in it or pour it on the floor or in the big toilet. It’s a good thing you like washing your hands and bathing almost as much as you like peeing.
Other things you like to do these days: You love brushing your teeth and having your hair brushed–and, lately, you don’t even mind having your nails cut (maybe because I let you watch Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer when I do it). You love jumping up and down, and dancing and climbing–in and out of your highchair, from one kitchen chair to another, up ladders and stairs; you’re obsessed with the playground (all of it–the swings, slides, and seesaw); you can sing the whole ABC song and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” and sometimes you even make up your own version by singing my name or your name or a stuffed animal’s name to the same tune. You can count to ten, but most times you skip four and five. You give the best hugs ever, complete with a pat or rub on the back. Most days, you want to walk everywhere, either by yourself or with your own little stroller. And you’re very excited about packing your own bag, complete with your own phone and keys. It’s all pretty adorable. You took your first trip on an airplane in December and you were an awesome adventurer; I can’t wait to share more travels together.
But wherever we are–near or far–you inspire, amaze, and comfort me. You make me truly, deeply, and utterly happy. There really aren’t adequate words to fully express how I feel about you. But I will try. I will tell you I love you, multiple times, every day, for the rest of my life and I will try to show you in everything I do. I will spin you around and try to make you laugh, often and wholeheartedly, and I will be here for you. In whatever ways you need. As Kahlil Gibran writes in The Prophet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and he bends you with his might
that his arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
so he loves also the bow that is stable.
–The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
Thanks for making me a mom, E. I love you–today, always, forever, evermore.
(PS. If you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging my sappy side. As I said last year, I know this is a more personal post than I usually write. I just thought it was a nice tradition. Happy mother’s day.)