A Letter to My Baby on Our First Mother's Day
This is my very first Mother's Day. Actually, it's our first Mother's Day. Before you, I would have seized any chance to celebrate me — I loved birthdays, I never minded being the center of attention. I'm a Leo, after all. But I can't take all the credit this time. I wouldn't have this holiday without you, for it's you who made me a mom. Mother's Day isn't about me. It's about you and me. Us.
Before you were ever born, for nine long months, it was me alone who carried you.
The day you came into this world, the moment we met, it was all about you and me, too. Sure, Daddy was there, but it was my arms — prickly and warm from the rush of adrenaline — that held you first. It was my bare chest that you needed to rest upon. It was my heart beating that helped regulate yours.
Your first few weeks, others got to hold you. But it was my body that sustained you. It was my milk that kept you growing, ounce by ounce. Pound by pound. It was still about you and me.
I only have so much longer when it's still really just you and me.
Soon, you started to take a bottle, and others got to feed you. But it was me who spent every waking moment with you. It was me who read you books and played with your toys as you watched, curious. It was me who noticed the slightest of changes — a glance held longer than usual, an arm extended by will and not just reflex. It was you and me.
After a few months, I went back to work, and someone else got to spend those days with you. But it was still me who would be at your side at all hours of the night, whenever you stirred. It was me who would wake up to the softest of rumblings to soothe you. It was me who was there with you at 3 a.m. when the world was dark and everyone else was asleep. You and me.
But then, you began to sleep through the night. After a few evenings, stretches of six hours then eight hours and then 10 hours, you no longer needed me there. And I cried.
I cried because I had to accept that it wasn't always going to be about just you and me. Of course, of course you'd still need me. But, with every passing day, week, month, it became clear that you were gaining independence. That you won't be a baby much longer.
Soon, you won't need me to carry you. You'll start to crawl, then walk, then run. When I'll try to hold you tight, you'll wriggle free, eager to explore the world outside my embrace. Soon, you won't need me to change your diapers. You won't need me to dress you. You'll want to pick out your own clothes. You won't need me to feed you. I haven't yet begun to mash up tiny slices of apple or cut up your chicken into bite-size pieces, but soon even those tasks will pass us by. You won't need me to read to you. You'll be able to sound out the words, and soon comprehend them, on your own. Eventually, you won't need me to listen to your stories, answer your questions, solve your problems. Of course you'll still want me to, I hope, and I'll oblige, but we'll both know you can do it on your own.
I only have so much longer when it's still really just you and me. In no time, your life will be filled with family, friends, classmates, teachers, and confidantes.
So this Mother's Day, our first Mother's Day, I'm not going to sleep in, however much I could use the rest. I'm not going to take Daddy up on his offer of a spa day, however much I could use the break. I'm going to be right here, holding you tight. Just you and me.