I’ve been thinking about this letter for a while, but haven’t quite found time to type it up.
(In fact, I don’t really have time right now. I’m not even sitting at a computer as I write this, I’m thumb-typing on my iPhone while you watch Saturday morning cartoons. You just looked over at me and said, “no phone, mama,” which is BS because you’re sitting there on your iPad! But I digress. If this letter gets thumb-typed into my phone, I guess that’s how it gets written.)
It’s been two years and a few weeks since you joined our family. It feels like yesterday and another lifetime at the same time. Year two was, plain and simple, amazing. Year one was a roller coaster, but year two was like we suddenly hit the new normal. Everything was different than it was before you arrived, but it took that second year for me to fully realize how wonderful that new, different life was.
First, if any new moms are reading this right now, I have to say one thing: Year two is just so much better than year one. Literally, night and day. Motherhood is so hard at the beginning, but it gets so much better. Those sleepless nights, the exhaustion and frustration in the beginning, it lets up. Suddenly you look down and that tiny, screaming baby has turned into a human being who wants to wear the black shoes and have Mac and Cheese for dinner and eat it with a fork, please. It’s crazy. Every once in a while, I go through old photos and videos from a year ago, and they almost feel like a different lifetime.
This year has also felt more balanced than year one. At the beginning, parenting is so reactive. It has to be. Baby crying? Try everything. Try every single thing you can think of until it stops. Of course it’s exhausting.
But now? You can talk! Parents make a big deal out of milestones like smiling and sitting up and walking, but communication blows them all away. You can finally tell me what’s going on in your head! It’s nothing short of life-changing.
Instead of focusing on figuring out what you need, we can actually talk to each other. You have opinions! You’re excited about the people and animals you meet, you have favorite toys and foods and games. You’re this cool, fun little person who I’m excited to learn more about every day. I can’t wait to get to know you even better.
Things are so wonderful right now. So wonderful that it’s almost bittersweet to write this letter. It feels so final. It feels like the end of something instead of the middle, which is where we actually are. It’s hard to think about today without wanting everything to stand still, right now, and never change again.
But this year, I got a lot better at learning how to change. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it’s not. Everything else becomes easy when you can let things change. We had some big ones this year. Relaxing into them — letting them happen without trying to stop them or make them different — is the single thing that worked.
Change is inevitable. The only thing you can’t change in this world is the fact that everything changes. Your baby days are already gone. One day, I looked down, and you were suddenly a kid. Your second year is already past us. This moment, you sitting next to me on a Saturday morning, is over too. It never stops. We’re just along for the ride together. And I’m so grateful to be riding next to you.
Last year, I ended my letter with “I love you so much.” Of course, I loved you so much then. But now? Those words feel almost incomplete.
It’s not that I love you. You are love, to me now.
We are so lucky, you and me. To share this life, to love each other, to do our best for the world around us.
The word grateful doesn’t even begin to capture it.
All my love,
Photography: Michael Wesley