After 3 hours of this cursor blinking at me across a blank, white page and mindless tv distracting me from this, I’ve finally found my way out of this procrastination enough to start this letter. You see, it’s your birthday. Your second birthday! And it’ll be many years and probably a child or two of your own before you understand how bittersweet these days can be.
It’s especially bittersweet with you this year, you who might likely be our last baby. You who, at 2, can no longer legitimately be called a baby. I’m going to anyway, though, just so you know. You are my baby–my delightful, funny, colicky, angry-elf baby, and I can’t even remember life before you came.
It’s funny, though, because before you came, I couldn’t fathom a life with a third baby in it. So hectic were my days with Gabe and Isla that by the end of my pregnancy when I was sick, everything just seemed…well…surreal. Is this really happening to me, I wondered. I did exactly what I’ve since learned about in Brene Brown’s work: I numbed. I disconnected from the depth of the present moment so I could merely survive through each day, not realizing that when you numb the negative, you also numb the positive.
When you were born, there was a brief moment after they pulled you from my belly that lasted a silent eternity. You didn’t cry, not right away, and I didn’t know if you were okay. So many things raced through my heart during that moment, things that have lasted long past that day. But the biggest and most important was this–no more numbing out. I want to be here, there, wherever I am, fully present.
This, however, has been a tall order. Your screaming and determination and neediness made many of the present moments awfully hard to endure. But now, you’re two! And I see a light at the end of what has been a tunnel fraught with very loud colic. You sleep–real, legitimate naps and nearly a full night’s worth every night. You even spontaneously started falling asleep on your own recently! You play, my favorites when you and Isla “chase” each other hand-in-hand around the dining room, little laughing hyenas that infect our home with joy. And your humor–how can a 2-year-old have comedic timing? But you do! And a coy little smile and a relentless willingness to pursue the laugh. How you delight me!
I wish I could redo these past two years with the knowledge that we really would come out on the other side. (Scathed, perhaps, but intact and pruned for growth.) Of course, logically I knew this would be the case. The cries of a colicky baby haven’t smitten anyone yet. But at 3AM, alone with a screaming newborn and a traveling (and, therefore, alone and asleep) husband, that reality seemed as elusive as unicorns and world peace.
But wishing doesn’t get me back these two years. So I need to put that energy to better use.
Jude, you and each of your siblings taught me something about myself. You, sweet boy, taught me to be brave–and not just to be brave, but to keep being brave. You are how I know I can do this, that I can learn to revel over worry, to dwell rather than perseverate, to be here, right now, in all things.
With you–enjoying you, especially, my little wild thing.
I can’t wait to see who you become in this, your third year. I can’t wait to explore the world with you and watch you learn to master it. Thank you for who you’ve helped me to become and for how you keep growing my heart. You are a treasure!
All my love,