As I put away paperwork from your 2-year doctor visit, I stare into the drawer and see your baby book. Guilt fills my chest as I pull it out and flip through. Spottily written in and so many blank pages, I always feel a sense of failure with you, our second son.

Your older brother’s baby book is pristinely organized. Dates, locations, names, everything. I would sit down and write on the 26th of each month his accomplishments, his firsts, his likes and dislikes, all the little things I could think of. Every. Little. Detail. I had a new outfit for each of his monthly pictures and wrote a beautiful paragraph painting a picture of that month. Photographs, notes, cards, mementos spill out of the pages.

My heart spills out the guilt.

Along came you. My sweet, mischievous, sassy second son. Second to none.

I tried to keep up, but motherhood the second time around with a newborn and a busy toddler was a whirlwind. I managed to take the monthly pictures, admittedly late sometimes, but I tried to keep up. The baby book? We wrote out some sections at the hospital upon your birth, and then it was placed in a drawer in the China cabinet where it still waits to be filled.

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My sweet child, although your baby book isn’t full, my heart is full of you. I remember hearing your laugh for the first time as I kissed your little feet on the changing table. Oh, those baby chortles.

I remember those first very wobbly steps on our tile floor and hovering around you as you proudly looked at me.

I can see you gazing at the wild ocean for the first time with those big, beautiful eyes as I snuggled you close, wind whipping at our noses.

I remember you wrapping your arms around our dog, Roger, and snuggling his furry neck saying “goggie.”

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I can close my eyes and see all the pictures play through and see your little face light up at all the newness and firsts. And those are pieces of you I will never not carry.

So yes, my sweet second child. Your baby book may not be full of dates and writing, but your name is written on my heart. Forever.

Emily Finke

Emily is married to a New Yorker dreamboat and is a mom of 3 boys (2 human, 1 fur) living the Florida life. She grew up in mid Michigan and will always be a Michigander at heart.