On Henry’s Third Birthday

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Dear Henry,

3 years ago, today, my water broke. It was a Friday. It was the beginning of what would be the longest weekend of my life because we were on our way to meeting you. When you entered our lives three days later (yes, three. one, two, three. you were born on a MONDAY and I labored all the days in between…) it was, in a word, magic.  I never could have predicted what our lives would look like with you in them. And I didn’t really want to. For the first time in my life, instead of being goal oriented and next step driven, I was ready for the ride.

And now, you are starting preschool. These three years have flown by. And I am overwhelmed by how much you have grown, matured and changed.  You are loving, affectionate and sweet. You can be generous and so, so kind. And if I have learned anything about you at all, it is that you are consistently more capable than I think you are. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to watch you meet and rise to potentially difficult and stressful transitions.  You have conquered several challenges before our eyes over the past few months that we thought would be harder. But they weren’t. And it simply serves to remind me that I do not have to worry quite so much. Also, that I need release any expectations that I have of how you will handle or react to things.

I really like this age on you.  You are so communicative.  You like to list things (people you know, who your friends are, what movies you like, etc.) and recount things that happened during the day. You are also definitely growing into your big brother role. You show a lot of concern for Cora when she is upset or wants something. You have made it your job to inform me of her needs, as you interpret them. If Cora is crying you will tell me any number of the following things to explain why: “Cora sad”, “Cora misses Daddy”, “Cora wants milk”. “Cora wants to go to the park”, “Cora wants her shoes on”. It is so sweet and so insightful into how your mind works. And you do not just stop there when Cora is having a rough time.  You will often bring Cora toys, books, food or a blanket to calm her down. In fact, one of your favorite activities is to sit on the couch with her, under a blanket, and watch tv. It doesn’t usually last very long because Cora has little interest in sitting and watching tv for prolonged periods. But, it gets to the very core of me, because one of my favorite things is snuggling on the couch to watch tv. And I love sharing that experience with others as well.

Some of the other things you do that are super adorable these days: when you want to know what I am doing you ask “Mom, what are you doing to me?” even if it has nothing to do with you. You like to walk around the house and look at photos and label everyone who is in them. Sometimes you will day “Mom, that looks like you” and when I say that is because it is me, you laugh, like you are playing some kind of joke. You have starting going “what is that noise?” when there isn’t any noise. And when we ask you what noise you mean you say “it’s an owl. hooo hoooo. see! an owl!”. It kills me. Whenever we ask you what you want to do next you answer “go to Starbucks” 85% of the time. Overall, you are a very content and warm little boy and that makes me so, so happy.

Henry, sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with all the ways in which you are changing and developing. I am consistently amazed and impressed by you. And I continue to feel lucky that you picked us, that you made me a mom and that I get to spend so many of my days with you. In the last three years I have learned volumes about love, relationships and vulnerability. Sometimes life is hard and I am afraid I have spent too much time bracing myself against the future. I have been “preparing” myself because I am afraid you may grow up and not like me, or not call me, or go to college and move very, very far away. I felt like I had to prepare myself for those potential outcomes because I do not want to be one of those moms who has a mental breakdown when her kids leave for college or doesn’t have a life of her own or doesn’t know how to live a separate life from her child. And I do not ever want you to feel responsible for my well being – emotional or otherwise – because it isn’t your job to take care of me. But I am beginning to see that my emotional bracing means I am worrying about things I cannot control. What needs my focus is you right now. I just want you to know that no matter what choices you make, what things you do, what dreams you attempt, or whether you fail or succeed that I love you. Wholeheartedly. And I am going to keep working on it, working on myself and my relationship skills so that I can be the best mom I can be for you. I love you little man. You are such a joy in our lives. We love you!

(I wrote this on January 22 and am just now posting it. Illness!)

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