Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Lydia

happy, happy little girl
One of my favorite bloggers, The Feminist Breeder, is doing a guest post series entitled Letters to our Daughters. Although I neglect Lydia's baby book, I wanted to partake in this opportunity because I think letters are a fantastic way to communicate our deepest feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it's easier to write out what you're feeling rather than say it out loud. I hope I never have that lack of communication with my daughter, but in writing this I'm glad she'll have a tangible record that she can read over and over (or rip up in her angst-ridden adolescent years, if she so desires). So, without further ado...

Dear Lydia,
At this point in your life your father and I have known you for almost sixteen months; ten in the womb, and six glorious months on the outside. We found out you were alive around the seven-week mark in our pregnancy, and from that day (I took the test on January 17th at Applebee's...long story) forward, you've been well...our life. Some people choose to say "part of our lives;" the reality is that our lives revolve around yours, little one. And that's alright. I feel like it's the territory that comes with giving birth, that my life (and your dad's) immediately should switch gears to your needs, your wants. I dropped my life to pick up yours.

In letters like these I feel like I'm supposed to outline my deepest dreams, my brashest hopes, my most indescribable joys in raising you toward a future of success. But to be honest, I'm not really there yet. With you, focusing on the days are enough for now. I joke that you'll be admitted to Harvard next week after you finish their entrance exam. That we'll have you carted off to a boarding school so Daddy won't worry about those pesky boys we're sure you're bound to gather. I pray you'll love being in the kitchen and share in all the hobbies we hold dear, and that you'll become the person every intentional and progressive mother hopes her daughter will be. When it really comes down to it, though, the little moments you and I have together every day form themselves into the dreams I thought I'd be dreaming up myself. Your dad and I will look back after you've graduated from Yale and realize you've been doing it yourself all along, concocting the amazing person you're already becoming.

One of those little moments happened just a couple weeks ago. You and I were bored out of our gourds, having played with all your toys twice, fed your fishies until the water was decidedly murkier than before, looked out the window at the squirrels fighting in the trees...let's just say that Mama expired her repertoire of things you're fond of doing. So into the tub we went, at two in the afternoon. We splished and splashed, played with toys and kicked water all over the place. At one point my hands slipped, and down you went; you did a sort of back flop as you sat down and flopped into the water. I rushed to lift you back out as your ears went below the waterline, but then stopped as I saw a massive grin spread over your face. Your big blue eyes closed in complete bliss as you floated and stretched, and it was such a joy to see you so happy over something you'd never experienced before. Being a concerned new mom (yes, even though you're six months old I'll say new mom at this point) I lifted you up after you'd been floating for a few minutes because I was scared you'd get water in your ears, then we'd get ear infections, then you'd get tubes in your....well, you get the point. The moment passed, we got out of the tub, I dried your ears very well, and we nursed the next hour away, cozy and drowsy.

I wish I could record all our little stories. I used to be so deliberate in my journaling, recording with painstaking detail the moments that made my life seem so fulfilling (or not, depending on the situation). I have journals upon journals to give to you after I die, journals in which your grandma Paula and I even wrote to each other. Maybe it's a bad excuse to not write, but it seems that my days get eaten up so fast and that stories like the one of your tub experience slip into the back part of my brain, never to see paper. And I think that's okay too. If I spent a quarter of the time recording memories you and I shared together every day that I do playing with you and writing your life story, I would...well, I'd have a treasure trove of written goodness and a serious case of carpal tunnel. But I don't know if I believe in recording everything anymore. Part of the beauty of you is living moments as they happen and letting some of the details slip away, happy to have happened, happy to make room for more.

I love you more than you'll ever know. I love you with such a fervent, intense passion that it breaks my heart every day. I love nursing you, I love playing with you, I love rocking you to sleep, and I love watching your life unfold before my very eyes. Your father would say the same thing. Someday, maybe when you have your own babies, you'll get a glimpse of that love, and then I'll feel complete, like my life has come full circle. I can't wait to teach you the ways of womanhood. We all write our stories in one way or another; whether journal or blog, memory or scrapbook, mothers write on their hearts the journey we travel every day in raising our babies.

Goodnight, my sweet darling sassafras. Mama loves you.


  1. Hey babe- what a sweet letter! I just wanted to ease your fears about the water in the ears. (I'm a poet and don't know it!) The ear infections happen on the other side of the ear drum which is a barrier so she won't get an ear infection from water getting in the ear. Our pediatrician actually told us that the warm bath water flowing in and out can help with wax reduction. My boys always have the "potatoes growing in the ears" look, so I let them dunk their little heads whenever they feel the urge. When my boys were about Lydia's age, I started giving them baths by filling the water to about ear level and laying them on their backs. They loved it! They'd kick and splash to their hearts content! I think your little miss would love it too, she sounds like a risk taker ;) So, anyway- that's my little tidbit of medical info!! Enjoy bath time mama!

  2. That's so good to hear, Becca! I was worried I wouldn't be able to do that again with her. Thank you for the info :)