Friday, September 25, 2009
Message in a bottle... a love letter to our child
My sweet, my love, my precious child(to-be),
This is my first letter to you. My first love letter. I just want to tell you how much I love you, how much I love just staring at your beautiful face, how just watching you sleep makes me happy. I don't even mind that you don't let me get a full night sleep! Or the diapers. Or your for crying for no reason.
I imagine your whole life ahead, the possibility, the joy, the disappointments. I love to watch you discover the world.
I can see you running towards me, "Mommy, I want to show you something!" You hug me. Your little face is dirty, from jam or dust, your hair in swept across your forehead, cowlick sticking up.
You open your little fingers, and show me a special sea shell, an acorn, a rock that glistens in the sun.
We sit down together and you ask me to tell you how the sea shell, acorn, rock got there. You snuggle in my arms, sitting on my lap so I become your chair. Your hair is so fresh, so soft.
"Once upon a time," I begin and together we are transformed into mer-people, diving under the sea. We are walking in the footsteps of the first people to walk under these trees. We will hear the grumble of trolls, the whisper of elven arrows through the deep green canopy of leaves. Sometimes you stop me and ask, "why, mommy, why did that happen?" I reply, "Shhh, be patient, little one, all will be clear..."
I love you for the black eye you got fighting back at the bully, even though your dad told you that next time you should just disarm him with a joke. I love you for bringing home the baby bird that fell from a tree that you tried to nurse back to life, and balled your eyes out for when it didn't make it.
I will always be there for you, to bandage the skinned knees, to console you if you lose a game. I'll be there for the bruised ego, the broken promises, the time-outs. I know you'll probably hate me at times. You'll yell, "You're not the boss of me!" just like I did to my own mom. And you'll be wrong and right at the same time.
Later, much later, you come to me to cry on my shoulder as your teen-aged heart is broken by a lost love, a mean girl or... wait, is that you shooting hoops with Mr. Jem, laughing and discussing Red Sox pitching? Is that the sound of a car door slamming at 11:58 p.m. two minutes before curfew. "Mom, dad, I'm home!" We roll over. Now we can sleep. And now I understand my own mother's worry. Her relief when I would come home on time, in one piece.
I bake you a special cake to celebrate first your birthdays, then your acceptance letter to the college of your choice (not mine, but I'm secretly pleased), your betrothal (is he/she good enough? If you love him/her, than we do, too!) then your own children's birthdays.
I tell you family stories about your great, great grandparents immigrating from Europe. I show you the pictures of the people who would have loved and cherished you so, so much. Gazing at the sepia photos, people in lace shirts, strange hats, stiff poses stare back at us. Somehow, across the years, we feel their love, support and remember them.
I tell you about my own adventures in my 20s, living abroad, learning French, traveling and then choosing to come home to America.
I love you so much for you, for the choices you make, for paintings you bring me so I can hang them of the fridge. I love you for your mistakes, for the time you decide the cat and you both need hair cuts. I'll try not to laugh too much, but if I do, you'll have to forgive me. I can't even promise the whole thing won't end up on You.Tube. What's You.Tube? I'll explain another time. It was all the rage in my day.
I love you for you.
Your mom forever, Jem.
OMG, I hope I don't jinx this IVF cycle by posting this letter to a child who has not yet even been conceived! He or she is definitely a tinkle in dad's eye!