Each month, I’ll be joining with a few other moms as we write a letter to our children. Some letters are sweet and memorable, some are truthful records of life in the trenches of motherhood. After you read my letter, please hop over to read Holli’s Letter and so on.
Today is the first day of 2017.
I wonder what this year will hold for us.
My prayer is that we will grow and learn more this year than we have in the past. My desire is for us to spend more days together, enjoying each others’ company, without the distractions of the world.
I worry that I’m too distracted. That’s the theme of Martha, Martha, how to give focus to the important things and ignore the unimportant things that call out for our attention. I’ve developed a spiritual practice to wake every morning and give God the first moments of my day, but after that, I often place other things in priority over my time with you sweet children. Please forgive me for that.
It’s not like we never spend time together though. Some of my favorite memories from the past year are the night we made appetizers for dinner and built a “tent” in the living room to watch movies. I don’t remember the movie, but I remember snuggling in together and wishing we could leave it up all week. We got a basketball goal and spent time together as a family learning to shoot hoops. None of us are very good, but it’s fun to get outside and be active together. We also got all new tennis rackets and love playing around on the courts together.
Remember the day when we went to Laura’s house and then on the way home we thought, “wouldn’t it be great to be at the beach right now?” so we called Nonni and made plans to head out the next day for South Padre Island? I love those spontaneous moments, and I hope they last with you all your life as memories of a fun childhood.
To my Bitty Boy, at 2 years old, you are still “bitty” but growing into a kiddo more each day.
Though you’re small in stature, you are so big in personality and thought process. You amaze me and crack me up every day. This Christmas, we saw Santa Claus twice and you were not keen on him at all. You hardly like talking about him, and really weren’t too sure what you thought about him coming to your house, presents or not.
The other day, we were visiting Nonni and Pop, when Nonni handed me a small object that she found in your carseat. I didn’t immediately recognize it so I asked you if you knew what it was. “Yeah, eh present.” (“It’s a present.”)
I asked, “Oh, a present. Who gave you this present?”
You shrugged and tucked your chin.
That’s when I realized it was from a goodie bag from Santa Claus at one of our visits! So I asked you, “Did Santa Claus give it to you?”
You rolled your eyes off away from us and said reluctantly “yeah.” The tone said it all, “yeah, mom, it was Santa Claus, but I’d rather not talk about him!”
You may not like Santa, but you LOVE Pop, Daddy, and have recently become attached to big sister Moochie (whom you call by her given name, the name I don’t want to publish for all the world to read.)
To my Tiny Tinker, you are such a sweet blessing.
You’re always going to be my baby. Even though you’re six now, you still snuggle in my lap and feel more “baby” than your little brother.
I worry about your schooling, afraid I’ve not done enough to get you started off right, but then, I know you’ll catch up as soon as you decide to. You’re smart, darling. You see things with a very sensible and practical mind.
You’re also very maternal, an excellent care-taker. Just last night, I wasn’t feeling well. You motioned for me to bend down to your small self so you could place your hand on my forehead to “check my temperature.” Your response was adorable!
“Hmm, you’re a little warm. I think you need to go lay down but don’t get under too much covers.”
My dear Moochie, 9 years old is a hard age to be.
It’s a time for growing a little more independent, a little more responsible. As I write, you are in the kitchen working on selecting a muffin recipe to bake this morning. Your confidence is growing, and it makes me so proud.
You are so like me, it’s hard for me to notice the things that make you special, and it’s all too easy for me to defend you when you and your sisters bicker. I feel like I know what it’s like to live inside your head.
But I need to remember that you are not me. You may choose different paths. You may think different things. One day, we may not see eye-to-eye. That will be a hard pill for me to swallow.
This year, I hope you continue to grow into your own person, not always in your sister’s shadow. You shine on your own, darling. I would like to see you take charge of yourself a bit more, use your problem solving skills to find solutions to the things that aren’t going well for you. And keep your room tidier. (Did I mention you’re just like me?)
To my sweet Sugar Plum, 13 already?
Seems like only yesterday when you would get to the end of the sidewalk, where you needed to step down about 6 inches to the next sidewalk, and throw your little hand in the air waiting for me to support you so you could do it. And yet, it seems like you’ve been 13 forever, even though your birthday was just last week. You’ve always been ahead of yourself. When you were little, I used to say, “She’s been running away from me since she could walk.”
You and I are almost as different as Moochie and I are alike. You’re a go-getter, determined and powerful, but underneath you are tender, easily wounded, and sensitive. It’s hard to remember how gentle you need to be treated when you seem so strong and independent.
You’ve always fascinated me. I usually feel like I can’t keep up with all your talent. Am I supporting you enough? Am I offering enough opportunities and guidance while still giving you freedom to explore yourself and your ideas?
If I could change one thing, it would be the amount of time you spend on screens. You’re like your Dad in so many ways, and this is one of them. You have unlimited potential, but you often cast it aside because it requires effort and work. Entertainment comes so easily. It will be your downfall if you let it. I don’t want to cause you to resent me when you get older by cutting off your entertainment (even though we do limit it) and forcing you to “learn the value of hard work”, but I know that would be best for you. Perhaps a little resentment is better than a lifetime of mediocrity because you’d rather be watching tv than using your talents.
This coming year is going to be pivotal for us. As I was getting ready for your birthday party, you came in the room and caught me teary-eyed. I wasn’t crying because my baby is gone (you’ve not been a baby since you were 1 yr old, just like Bitty Boy). I was crying because I realized how important this year is. This is when you and I will establish something new and permanent, the relationship between mother and daughter that will grow to be a mentorship, and deep friendship, if we do it right.
I want so badly to do it right. I want to undo all the mistakes I made in your early childhood and grow into something strong and lasting. I want you to trust me now and when you’re 37 or 65. This is our chance to lay a new foundation.
Please be receptive of it when I try to do just that.
I know your 13th birthday was a huge disappointment, with half the family sick and us not getting to go to the grandparents’ like we had planned, but I’ll always remember our mommy-daughter sleepover, just you and me in the living room watching movies your little sisters were too young to handle by the light of the Christmas tree and eating candy. It may not have been our expectation, but I hope it goes down as one of your most special memories.
You are my sweet baby.
You are all my sweet babies, and I count it my greatest blessing to be your mom.
Next month, my letter should be shorter, this was a wrap up of the whole year before and a launch for the new year. These letters are just for fun, as keepsakes for my children, and as an honest look into the heart of my motherhood. If you relate to any of the words written here, or if you have any advice for me, I’d love to hear it in the comments.
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