Shortly after baby was born, I had this daydream: it was Pookie's wedding reception, my turn to give a speech. I stood up, opened a little book, and read a passage about some heartwarming thing that had happened when she was two (since, in real-time, it had just happened). Then I read something from her teen years, and something about her fiance. Then I explained to my beautiful, teary-eyed, bride-daughter that I had been writing her a long letter her whole life, and here it was, in book form, on her wedding day.
So, I opened a document and started. I recorded funny things, (hopefully) wise things, encouraging things her father did for her, special visits with friends or family--anything that came to mind. I did the same for baby.
And then...life happened. It's been ages, but I'm ready to start writing in their letters again, and I'd like to share what I wrote as a re-introduction:
Dear Pookie and Scrunch,
Your letters have gone untouched for far too long. It has been a very difficult season in our house: at 3, Pookie has been terribly willful; as a baby, Scrunch has been a poor sleeper and colicky. Both seem to finally be getting better, and I feel like there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.
I don’t write any of this to make you feel bad; in fact, I hope you’ll get quite the opposite from this. You see, I feel immense guilt for letting the little things slip by unrecorded, like the other day when Scrunch grabbed my prosthetic lotion and automatically lifted her own left foot. Or how Pookie watches E.T. and all but enters the television. Or how, increasingly, I find your sweet little heads bent together—either giggling or fighting over toys.
One day, when (if) you are mothers of your own little ones, guilt will assault you. You will get behind. You will not accomplish everything you wish you could (or even all the things you should be doing, in some seasons).
And life will go on, and God will still be good.
Let me encourage you, dear ones, that your babies will still need you and love you and look up to you, despite your imperfections and shortcomings.
Hopefully, as you are grown and reading this, you will think, “That’s easy for her to say; Mom had it all together and did everything.” Did you chuckle just now? Truly, I hope that you had that kind of childhood, that kind of happiness where I was your security blanket, your party captain, your 5-star chef, your dearest companion.
I really hope and pray that’s so…but it might not be. Right now it looks like a long shot: it’s 3PM and I’m in my pajamas. Our tiny apartment is a mess even though I felt like I spent all morning cleaning. You girls wipe me out most days—you need constant physical contact and mental attention and I just wants five minutes without little hands or mouths on me.
So, all that to say…you’re going to be in this place someday. Weighed down by the responsibility of your children, brought low by whatever deficiencies you see in yourself. Just remember that Mama was there once, too (probably more than once), and that we survived it. Together.
There will be hard mothering days, baby girls. On those days, do these three things:
1. Read the words on this page and let them help lift you up.
2. Go to Jesus. He will lift you up.
3. Call me. There’s strength in numbers when taking any path, especially when one party has already been there before.
Okay, enough playing catch up; I promise we’ll get back to the everyday observances that this love letter is made up of. Like your current food phases: Pookie is a total yogurt snob (nothing but Chobani passes her lips) and Scrunch has taken a shine to sardines—but if they aren’t Chicken of the Sea, she will know, and throw them on the floor.
I love you girls, even in the hard.