A letter to my firstborn

I’ve been scouring articles from Scary Mommy lately.  This website is full of parenting advice, opinion, and jest.  One article I read was a mother’s letter to her firstborn child.  It expressed her emotions to her firstborn that she missed him.  She loved having two kids and wasn’t regretful, but she missed the two-of-them moments.  As I read the article, I wept bitterly.

Cocoa Bean was a surprise.  Now. please understand a surprise doesn’t mean something unwanted.  A surprise, especially a child, (at least for us) is a gift from God.  He is showering us with the children we wanted to fill our home with. After years of infertility, we feared we might not have the privilege of raising the children we desperately wanted.  God has granted our requests to be parents and we are forever grateful.  The timing of welcoming these children hasn’t been on our time frame, but God has provided every step of the way.  God has given us the children we wanted and needed at exactly the right time.  I know this.  Anyways, I digressed a bit.

I feel like this letter might be preemptive.  Secretly, I wonder if we’ll meet Cocoa Bean.  It is likely we will.  However, whenever you endure a miscarriage, there is trepidation in expectation.  People comment on your growing girth.  They ask questions about your anticipation.  They don’t mean any harm.  Most don’t even know your history.  Still, after enduring that loss, I fear I might be writing this a bit early.  Regardless, I still feel another sense of loss that this letter elaborates upon.

My beloved Willow,

You are a curious girl.  I admire your persistence and tenacity in reaching for items you desire.

Sometimes you do the most hilarious things without even realizing it.  My laughter spurs your giggles and the amusement is a continuous and contagious cycle.  The other night, you were intrigued by my teeth.  Yours are coming, albeit painstakingly slowly.  To relieve the pain you used your gums to chomp on my teeth.  Most people are disgusted at this.  Since you roared with laughter after doing this, I couldn’t help but peel my own squeals of laughter out.  You have a great sense of humor.

[I know some might raise eyebrows at my analysis of your personality.  You’re only one.  Yet, even as it has yet to fully mature, I can and am getting great insight into your traits, ones that I am astonished and amazed by.]

I have to work.  I hate that.  I want to be home with you.  I can’t protect or shelter you forever.  You’ll make mistakes.  Mistakes help you learn.  I’m here when you need to be picked up and assured that it is worth it to press on.  There will come a day when you don’t need me as much.  That day will come all too quickly.  Right now, you rely on me (and your father) to meet your every need and want.  When I come to retrieve you after work, you want to snuggle and nurse.  I love that bond.

I’m tired though.  I want to continue nursing.  It is a special union between the two of us.  Yet, my pregnancy with your brother or sister is draining enough already.  Nursing requires even more energy, more caloric output.  I don’t really have the zeal to maintain this form of nourishment for you.  I know we can bond in other ways.  Other means exist by which to comfort you with.  I need you to wean, but you aren’t ready.  I’ll let you continue until you are willing to stop.  People think I’m crazy for extolling such energy when it drains me so much.  I am a little crazy.  However, forcing you to stop might cause more hurt in our relationship when I can simply pray for an extra dose of strength from God.  (He has granted me supernatural energy before when I requested it.)

You share mine and your father’s bed.  We don’t mind it.  Your father and I enjoy the extra cuddle time since we both work (praise to God on that front since Daddy was laid off recently, but has been able to find work even if it varies day-to-day).  Our bed isn’t big enough for four.  We could potentially make it work, but it would most likely be tight and slightly stressful.  Having you in our room and our bed gives us comfort to know you are near, snuggling next to us.  These snuggle times are so fleeting.  We want to take advantage of every chance we can have for these times now.  It is contrary to Western culture to want this attachment. (Westerners fear dependence and needy children, however in trying to foster extreme independence in our infants, it seems we’ve perpetuated adolescence in later years and allowed adult children to be extremely dependent.  Note how Japanese families bed share and nurse and their adults are often very independent.  I’m not saying there are exceptions for individuals, but societal trends in each culture seem to back up this claim.)  Anyways, transitioning you to your own bed needs to happen and sadly, faster than we anticipated.  It is occurring faster than you might be able to comprehend.

Please understand that we aren’t trying to replace you.  In fact, you are the child every parent dreams about having.  (Although the one thing most parents might change is the fact that you don’t sleep through the night.)  You are such a happy and laid-back child.  You nap, even if it is brief.  You travel well.  Whenever you meet a new person you say hi repeatedly.  There are very few people you cry at.  (I am confused as to why you cry at Paul, but you have your reasons, even if I find them unjustified.  You can’t quite yet convey why you don’t want him, specifically, to hold you.)  You are always smiling and giggling.  Rarely do you fuss.  (You really only cry when you are hungry, have a soiled diaper, or are overly tired.)  We adore you.  Willow you are a prayer come true.  Every personality trait I prayed you would have radiates from you.  You are the epitome of my prayers.  I am so blessed to have you as my daughter.  I’m privileged to be your mother.  Having another child is by no means an attempt to replace you, even if you feel that it is.  It most assuredly is not the case.

I love Cocoa Bean too.  As much as I do love this second baby, there is something special about the two of us.  I am going to miss it being the two of us and getting to meld our characters as just the two of us.  I was looking forward to doing mother-daughter dates.  I know we still can.  We can have moments that are just ours, but it’ll be different.

Sadly, you’ll probably be hushed as you want to squeal.  You are inquisitive.  You will probably want to poke at and pull at your sibling the way you do our dog.  Mitzie is patient with you, thankfully.  We are trying to teach you to be gentle and it is a learning process.  We will not be as calm or patient when you are shoving your sibling, even if it is unintentional and merely a result of your inquisitive nature.  Please forgive our impulses to rectify the situation if we are gruff in how we solve the issue.

I miss it being just the two of us.  I know I still have some time, but I do notice my body changing.  You have too.  (Oh my goodness, it is so funny that you want to play peek-a-boo with my protruding belly button. You have also been known to try and suck on it.  No, you aren’t getting milk from that protrusion my dear.)  I miss not getting so drained when I nursed you.  I miss not having to worry about how we’ll finance daycare for multiple children.  I will miss the carefree and quiet times with just us.  You are really good at independent play.  You aren’t extremely demanding.  You and I mesh well.  There is no guarantee how Cocoa Bean and I will get along.  He or she is my child too and I will love him or her equally.  I know this.  The fact still remains, so far, you and I know each other well.  I understand your personality and it works well with mine.  You are a daddy’s girl.  (He’s able to quiet you down sooner and you generally gravitate to him.  That’s okay.  I understand.  I was a daddy’s girl too and I don’t mind this.  In fact, it gives me time to be still before God more often than I might otherwise be able to.)

I miss you and I alone already.  I love you Willow.  You are my first and while no longer my favorite child (you all will be that), you are my favorite Willow.  As my firstborn, you will always hold a special place in my heart, reserved for you.  Only you have been able to fill the void intended for you to fill.  Only you have been able to enrich my life in the means God intended.  I love you little one.  That will never change.

Your father and I just had more love to spread, it appears.  You will always be our firstborn. (That we physically met anyways…Teddy Graham was lost at 5-6 weeks gestation, sadly. If we hadn’t bid adieu to that baby though, we never would have been blessed with your presence.)  We love you so abundantly my dear.  You’ll never fully grasp how much we do, I’m sure.  May you always know how much I treasure the times when we are alone, just the two of us.

Love always,

Mommy

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