It has been nearly 5 years since I wrote that very first letter.
I was introducing myself to a child I had never met. A child I desperately wanted to hold, to talk to. A child that I carved a place for in my heart, and prayed for each night.
I was angry, frustrated, and most of all– hopeless. We were a year deep in infertility and nothing was working. I was running out of options, of fingers to point and blame to place. I was tired, and I was lost.
So, I wrote a letter, and it changed me.
It would be years before I would feel the weight of his body, but I wrote to him about every agonizing minute I spent waiting, wondering when I would feel his warmth on my chest. And I have written him countless letters since.
I detailed for him the moment my eyes filled with tears after they said, “Its a boy.” And the look on his proud daddy’s face. I told him how scared I was to lose him, and the promise to never let go.
I would explain to him the love he wouldn’t understand until he held his own child. The sleepless nights and constant worrying. I went on to reassure him that everyone was a rookie at one time, including his parents. And I’ve apologized many times since that he will always feel the burden of being the first-born.
I’ve opened up about the confusion my heart felt, missing life before these precious moments. Focusing on him, and letting go of me. The obstacles a woman’s heart can feel as she travels this journey. I want him to see the complexity, the sacrifice, the beauty. The kind of man I want him to be– for his partner, for his children, and for himself.
I’ve shared moments of our marriage. The strengths his daddy and I have as a team, and the demons we face daily. I need him to know we are not superhuman, and the struggles are very real. Some he will remember, others will go unnoticed, but all are important. I understand one day he will give his heart away, and I want him to see that it’s something you fight for, every single day. I want him to know I hope he finds someone who will fight with him, and for him.
I have given him advice on relationships and friendships. Pleaded with him to not be a dbag, and remember to always help with the dishes. I have shared little moments, and big. Told him about milestones and firsts, the life in these early years. The hopes and dreams, the promise to always be here for him, even if he can’t see me.
So, I write these letters- for him, for his brother.
You can leave your children a lot of things, meaningful or not. I believe if you want to leave them something that they can always hold onto- leave them their stories, and yours. Leave them the memories of these years, and the description of moments they won’t remember. Leave them the struggles you felt, and the proof they can overcome them. Leave them the words that you really want them to hear, to understand– uninterrupted and able to revisit. Leave them moments from every chapter– their amazing, crazy, beautiful life– from the very beginning.
Leave them letters.
*This piece was originally published at The Letters To My Children