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If you’re reading this letter, then you’re much older than at the time this letter is being written. Right now, you are 4 years old and you are the absolute light in my life. I’m writing this letter to you because I feel like I need to explain, or maybe justify, the first 3.5 rocky years of our relationship.
When Daddy and I decided to have you, I thought I was ready to be a mom; In reality, I wasn’t at all and I realized this quickly, within the first few hours of your precious, little life. This really isn’t the worrisome part, though. There are many women out there who become moms when they aren’t ready and they handle it quite gracefully. They’re naturals. I’m not – and that was the worrisome part.
I was an insecure, anxious, crying mess; And you, my sweet boy, were giving me a run for my money! I would have struggled with becoming a mom even if God had given me the easiest baby ever known to man. Instead, he gave me you – a challenge! I wasn’t prepared, and I was failing miserably.
What I didn’t see then is that there was a brilliant, unique, and creative little personality that drove your difficult temperament. It all makes sense to me now. But at that time, I didn’t understand. I didn’t know why you cried all the time, why we couldn’t ever put you down, why I couldn’t soothe you. I couldn’t figure out how other moms were able to snap cute pictures of themselves with their smiling babies, how they had time to do their hair, or how they were able to bring their babies to public places without causing a scene.
When the doctor labeled you as “colicky” and “high needs”, I left her office crying right along with you. I felt as though you were broken and it was just confirmed that there was nothing I could do to fix you. I didn’t know what that meant for you. I obsessively wondered if you would be unhappy for your entire life.
Sadly, I began to further emotionally withdraw from you. It breaks my heart to know I did that. You see, Jakey Face, I was succumbing to postpartum anxiety and depression. It really had nothing to do with you. None of this was your fault at all. You were a blessing to so many people, including me, from the very second you were born.
This sickness kept me from seeing the light that you were in this world. I see it now so clearly: So much so that sometimes I think my heart will burst with my love for you.
I didn’t get help for my sickness because I didn’t think I was sick. I thought I was just a bad mother; Someone who wasn’t meant to have children.
For the next 3 years, I faked my confidence in my role as your mommy. Inside I felt uncomfortable and inadequate. During these years, you grew incredibly close with Daddy. He seemed to understand you when I couldn’t. I secretly resented the relationship you had with each other, which pushed you both even farther away from me. To this day, you two have a bond that any father and son would be envious of! Now, I’m grateful for that.
Even though I loved you so much, I didn’t hug you, kiss you, or comfort you as much as you needed. I didn’t think you wanted me to. And, as insane as this is, I was scared to. I was so in my own head that I didn’t see how I was going wrong. Now I see that you wanted nothing more than for me to show abundant affection to you, even when it didn’t seem that way.
There has not been a second that’s gone by in your life when I didn’t love you with all of my heart; But I wasn’t there for you on the level that I should have been. However, something clicked for me in the last 10 months and I finally started to find my stride in motherhood. I became the mommy that you deserve and need me to be, and it’s been so wonderful! We’ve grown so close. In fact, you actually prefer me over daddy many times (shhhhh) ;).
Our bonding time didn’t go as it does in the movies. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs. Would I change any of it? I’m not sure. The relationship that you and I have now is beyond what I ever dreamed – and maybe we had to go down the unbeaten path to get here.
I guess what I really want you to know is that I love you and am so proud of you. The things you do that used to drive my blood pressure up are now some of the things that make you YOU. When you push back and challenge me and Daddy (which you constantly do!), I secretly swell with pride!
If you’re reading this as an adult, I hope that you have stayed strong-minded, opinionated, and brave. I’m certain you are still sweet, polite, and kind. I bet you’re coloring outside the lines of life, and the best part about that is that you don’t care what anyone else thinks. My wish is that you stay this way forever. Don’t let the world dim your light.
You won’t be good at everything, and that’s ok. Know your strengths and capitalize on them. Continue to push boundaries and ask questions. Keep your curiosity. Use your boldness to lead others. Speak your mind with respect and kindness. Use the energy in that temper of yours to move mountains. Keep your love of music and stay open-minded.
Jake, you are truly one of a kind. God gave me you for a reason. I have learned more about life in these past four years than I had learned in the 30 years before you. You have given me a deeper meaning and brought true perspective to my life.
I promise to be the best mommy that I can be and I am here for you, always. I love you, I love you, I love you.