Welcome to our world! We are completely in love with you – all four of us. You are such a snuggle-bug and I hardly know if I’ll have time to write this letter before you beg to be held again. I love it that way. I’ve done very little aside from hold you for the last thirty days, and it has been very good. The times I have to be away from you are, I think, almost as frustrating and for me as they are for you. Your first week I don’t think you were ever put down for more than a couple minutes at a time. Every time you slept, you slept in my arms. It’s hardly changed since then except that you are doing well sleeping in your cradle at night, falling asleep in our arms sometime around 9:00. We lay you in your cradle when we go to bed and you sleep till 12:00 or 1:00 a.m. After that you are out like a light again and usually quiet in your cradle till 3:00 or 4:00. And on a particularly good night you’ll go back to the cradle one more time after that. Otherwise I bring you to bed with us and you sleep in the crook of my arm until the day begins. I love it this way, even though it means I wake up in pain from not moving all the while you’re in my arms.
This week you’re changing fast. Two days ago was my first solo flight, the only grown-up, alone in the house with my three people for several of the day’s longest hours. It was like you knew, because for the first time you settled for watching (or sleeping) on the sidelines without fussing immediately. The next day was your first adventure, crashing Mommy & Daddy’s date on Daddy’s birthday, accompanying us to shop the outlet malls for school clothes for Daddy and charming everyone in sight at a restaurant afterwards. It was your first long car ride, and consequently also your first long screaming fit, but you managed well enough and the next day, yesterday, was another impressive feat: I put you down, drowsy and swaddled, in your cradle, hoping to get ten minutes of work done. You slept and slept until, four hours later, I finally decided to fetch you because I missed you so much.
You’ve grown newly alert this week, I imagine equal parts growing brain and developing vision. You are clearly watching the world now, and interested in what you see. We joked a lot in the first few weeks whenever we had a rare “eyeball sighting.” Our first impressions of you were three: you liked to snuggle, you had as little interest in being awake as your daddy does, and (last but not least) you were fully aware of your rights. We laughed so much at how you’d make your particular desires known or protest when you weren’t attended precisely to your wishes. Not that you are a cranky baby. You are very calm and content. The only thing you hate with a fiery passion is your car seat.
The reason I hold you so much is that you are important. We are so glad you are here. We wanted you so much, looked forward to you so much. We dreamed of you together, your brother and sister and Daddy and I, and prayed for you. One thing four years of mothering two already-so-grown kids has taught me is that there can never be too much love, and that there is always not quite enough. I’ve learned, too, that this is my weakness – showering affection (time and undistracted interest) on my special little people.
I can’t presume at this moment in time that you’ll never know this about me, but I can hope and intend. Your arrival in our lives coincides with a chapter of my story that was unusually transparent in its meaning. I remember the earliest days of motherhood for me. Until about 18 months ago I had plenty of time to give my kids, even if I chose to spend it ironing or writing or giving them space to be independent. But my plate got too full last year and things reached a frenzied level in the spring as I prepared for a professional trip to England, practicing long hours, taking on extra work, and saving every penny we could. There was the non-profit work I’d taken on besides, and one day it was like I woke up all in a moment and I remembered my principle, abstract before, real now: that I wanted to be a full-time mom when my kids were little. Instead they were the part of life I tried to “manage,” keeping it going just effectively enough that I could do the “work” I had each day.
I hated how this felt and loved the way I began to miss my kids. Those were the moments of clarity. There were many other moments of selfishness and frustration and anger when I saw my kids as if they were in the way. The best thing I learned last year was to hate this feeling, and the best thing I did was to re-imagine life until this point we’ve arrived at with your arrival. I still have commitments and obligations here and there, but life is different now: you are here. And I am here, too. Not just for you, but for Jacob & Meredith too. And I’m praying for wisdom to see you – really see you – each day. And to love you, and to remember how important you are, and to create for you a world of happiness and peace and a self-confident sense of your own value.
So, dear “Doshua Weevi,” as Meredith has taught us to call you, welcome to the world. Now please can I hold you again?
I love you.