Dear big girl,
Listen, I have to tell you something : You really really rock my socks off. I have absolutely no clue what my life was like before you were in it (truly, your mummy has a very poor memory, and cannot recall much of life before the fall of 2003). Your dad was kind enough not to ask me if I had lost my marbles when I quit my well-paying, engineering-degree-using job in 2001. I didn’t know it then, but the universe knew that I just needed a gap year or two before embarking on the greatest adventure of my life. Becoming a mother.
Now don’t get me wrong, it was not all easy breezy. Quite the opposite in fact. You were on task to shatter all my illusions of what motherhood was about and frankly nobody had told me the cold hard truth. On day 2 after you were born, I wanted to kill your father every time he handed you to me because you were hungry (which was like every 10 minutes). I was in so much pain. Fourth degree lacerations in the nether regions (pretty sure the doctor wanted to go home and watch the telly, so forceps and a lovely episiotomy ‘helped‘ you out) and bleeding nipples and my milk had not come in yet. Need I say more? He was kind enough to lend me his hand, not to hold but to bite down on so I did not let out a blood curdling scream every time you latched on. But on that 2nd day, I refused to nurse you. I said No. Sorry, I am not going to feed this crying baby who looks like Chairman Mao. Take her away. And your dad and your Amamma panicked. I heard conspiratorial whispering and soon they were feeding you using a dropper and some formula that the hospital had packed. You ate like a bird and I eyed you with disdain from the other side of the room and felt like a complete failure as a new mother. Failure that I did not want to nurse you. Failure that you were drinking that “poisonous formula” (I know how completely deluded and indoctrinated I was now). Failure that I was not feeling full of bliss because you were in our lives.
Lactation consultants, lanolin and enemas later, things started getting better, but not easier. You were never going to be an easy baby. You had to be swaddled and shushed and walked around. Once we even wrapped you tightly and put you in the laundry basket on top of the dryer. Apparently that really soothed you. Crazy baby. You wanted to walk since the day you were born. I had to take a video of you and take it to the pediatrician. “Umm.. doctor, why does my baby move her arms and legs all day long, even when sitting in a stroller“. He didn’t know. I knew. You were walking in your imagination. Not just walking, you were running, riding a bike, chasing the birds and catching butterflies.
Sweet girl, that fierce spirit of yours has tested my patience and brought me to my knees in parenting failures over and over again. I firmly believe you are the exact child I was meant to have to test my weaknesses, to challenge my faith and make me whole. Now I see that very same spirit rattled sometimes, by the unkind words and actions of your friends, by experiences that I am not a part of and sometimes not privy too. And my heart breaks into a million pieces that I can’t be there to soften each blow and each dose of so called ‘reality’. Once again I feel like a new mother, clueless, scared and in enormous pain. I read books, I talk to other mothers, I talk to you and we try and figure it out together.
How do I describe this journey of motherhood? From the outside looking in, children can seem to be a blot on the landscape of a charmed life. I mean I certainly didn’t imagine swaddling a baby and walking circles in the living room every evening. How do I explain the greatest love I will ever know or experience? What words can I use to express how trivial, how without meaning my life was before you were in it? How I can I fully explain that I would give up a thousand trips to exotic places, the finest restaurants, and ‘intellectual’ conversation because our home and our dinner table with you there, regaling me with stories about what happened in school, is worth more to me than any of that? Where seeing your face and giving your cheeks a kiss the last thing before I go to sleep is like the Universe giving me a hug and validating why I am here in the first place?
Becoming a mother is all I ever wanted to be, ever since I was your age sweetheart. You, my fierce spirit, made me a mother and every day you teach me to become a better version of myself. You really rock my socks off.
Love you to infinity.
hugs and kisses, Mummy.
Now go forth and enjoy the lovely Sarah Cornish’s letter to her daughter , and follow the entire blog circle of love letters. Sarah is mom and business owner extraordinaire who lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. For all you photographers out there, she offers online mentoring as well as lots of editing tools in her My Four Hens Store store.