I wrote this letter to my son partly before, and partly after his birth. I had it saved on a different blog, but will copy it here in its original form
To my son,
Your daddy will pick on me for being wordy and putting down on ten pages what ought to be able to be said in just one line.
“Why not just say, ‘Dear Puppy, I love you,'” he says.
But he knows that I write as much for me as for you, and he loves me so much, he would read through a hundred thousand pages if that’s how long it took me to say what I needed to.
I guess mostly what I want to do here is tell you a little bit about your daddy and me, and to get down on paper just what it is we set out to do here, bringing you into this world. I just want you to know who we are and what we wish for you, before you get here. So no matter how life turns out, this is what we were aiming for, for the record.
I didn’t know I would marry your daddy the very first night I met him, but it didn’t take me very long to figure it out. By the third or so time I saw him, I knew, and I even gave him a hint that night to say I knew what was to come for us (but that’s another story I’m sure we’ll both give our own versions of to you one day). But I will tell you this much now: Your father is the best man I have ever known. He loves me like one loves an old familiar song from childhood, and I love him that same way. He thinks of me before anything else, and my happiness fuels his own. My heart swells up three times with overwhelming love every day as he crosses my mind, and I will thank whatever gods are appropriate for his presence in my life forever. I really am the luckiest girl in the whole world, and I could never, ever rightfully ask for any more than I have right at this moment, for all the world’s greatest things have been given to me in your father.
Until now, that is. I still marvel at the idea you are coming, and am wholly unprepared for what I am told will be the new best day of my life. How does one prepare for such a day? You aren’t supposed to get here until November 23, but I can feel you getting bigger all the time and have a small fear you will get here before we’ve finished all the normal preparations. I could be a mother any day soon, it’s really all up to you.
But let’s back up for just a minute — my first hope for you is an important one. I hope that one day when you find someone to love, that you love them the way your daddy loves me. And that you find someone who can love you the way you deserve to be loved. Be kind to each other, remember to say “please” and “thank you;” be the one to get up in the middle of the night to get the water, and find someone who offers to get up instead. If you can do this,darling, I promise you that everything else in your life will fall into place. Everything. If you can get the love part right, I will guarantee you happiness.
I want you to know that there isn’t a whole lot in life you can get really, irreversibly wrong. What’s important is that you always try to do the next right thing, and sometimes, that won’t be very clear. It’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to go with your best guess because you don’t know the right answer. Life is not about getting it all right. I sure didn’t. (I bet your Grandma Jackie will be happy to fill you in on the details of my delinquent teen years). But even as an adult, I have messed up a lot of things. I have made wrong decisions and wasted time and money. I have hurt people I loved and hurt myself, too. What makes all that okay is that I was willing to go back and fix it. I mended the broken things and made up for lost time. I earned more money and apologized to those I hurt. I began to treat myself well. And things turned out alright. So it’s okay to mess up. Just own it.
I remember the first time your dad talked about planning for you to get here. It was about three years ago. He knew that my life’s goal and purpose was to “have a regular family and not mess it all up” (more on the kind of upbringing which produced such a goal later, when you’re older), and he was finally ready for a family too. We struggled trying to get pregnant for a long time, and there was a time that we thought you were on your way, but I lost you to a horrible monster called The Blighted Ovum. My heart was so heavy. I had felt a sense of unease about the pregnancy all along, so it was less of a surprise to me and more of a nail in the coffin I thought God was telling me I deserved. I almost gave up for fear that the heartache of another loss would be my undoing. But your father picked up my broken soul and hushed the alarm. He told me you would get here. He told me it was okay to be sad. I collapsed into his arms more than once in the coming months, but they were strong arms, and I healed slowly in them.
The second time a pregnancy test yielded a positive result, I had only taken it out of habit. I had no symptoms, and my period wasn’t even due for another week. But I grabbed the stick and walked into my closet to peek at the results. Falling to my knees, I spoke aloud to myself, “I’m pregnant.” It was a whisper, more than that, it was a prayer spilling out of my mouth, hushed so that no one would hear in case it went unanswered. But I knew. I knew this time you were really, really coming. I fell madly, desperately, wildly in love with you kneeling right there in the messy floor of the walk-in closet that your father built for me, wide-eyed, white knuckles gripping a drug store pregnancy test, surrounded in dirty laundry.
Since then I have only thought of how to be the best mother for you. I have fallen in love with your father all over again, his giddy, boyish excitement overtaking him on a daily basis as he readies for your arrival. He may combust with hungry anticipation, his readiness to be your father drips off of him. We are both completely inconsolable in our impatience.
So that’s why I’ve started writing to you. Not just to say what I want to say, but as a kind of exercise to keep track of all the important things I want to teach you as your mother. This will not be the only one, but I think it is the most important. Love, my dear. Love with your whole heart. It will never fail you.
In all things I am hopelessly yours,