Our printer hasn’t worked in over a year. As a writer, this makes me crazy. I am always worried about losing my work if my computer were to take a dive. I have things backed up to something called Google Drive, I think…I’m not very tech savvy. But it looks like something is saving there when I am done working on a piece. Anyway, there are three folders that I think I would cry for weeks if I lost them. They are birthday letters I’ve written to Noah, Luke and Grace. Each time one of their birthdays are approaching, I really reflect on them individually and write something for them. My plan is that when they leave home to join the big world, I will give them each their letters. It will probably have to be after college, too because I don’t think we ever fully appreciate our parents until we are paying a mortgage, experiencing the joys of marriage and/or holding our first child.
Each letter I write to the kids, I try to share some small insight with them so they’ll understand not only what they were like, but what their life has meant to me up to that point. Someday, they might want to understand “why Mom seemed so frustrated all the time” or “why Mom always tried to embarrass me by hugging me in front of my friends.” So maybe these letters will help them when they go through it themselves.
I wrote Noah’s last night and while it’s very personal, I know many people may find it rings true for their own lives. And if for some reason I’m not around to tell my kids when they’re older and Google Drive does bomb out or my house goes up in flames taking all of my work in the inferno, someone can vouch for how much I loved my kids even if I’m not here to tell them myself. I know, very dramatic for a Thursday morning. Maybe we just need to buy a new printer…
Tonight as I was tucking you into bed, I sang you a song and the whole time you wanted to be tickled. Normally, I try not to let your last burst of nighttime energy irritate me, but I was getting frustrated thinking of the dishes downstairs to be done and your lunch which needed packing for tomorrow and I snapped and said sharply, “Noah! I need to go downstairs!”
You started sulking and rolled to your side and said, “I don’t think you love me! You used to lay down with me to calm me down at night and you never do any more.” Well, that did it. You broke my heart in two because while you’re so wrong, you were right that I haven’t been the best about showing you how much I love you.
Buddy, we’re approaching years when you are going to test your limits. You are going to start getting louder and stinkier and sassier. You are going to make me want to yell at you. A lot. I can already see it now. You will find a noise that you like making and will do it repeatedly until I can only scream “Shut up!” to get your attention. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t ever say that to you.
When you grabbed my arm tonight and begged me with those big, hazel eyes of yours to stay and lie down with you for a minute, I remembered, you are still my baby. You are still that big-hearted, wide-eyed boy with more energy than God knows what to do with. You still like to watch Thomas the Train sometimes. You still won’t eat a raw tomato to save your life. You still get nervous of thunder storms and windy nights. And every once in a while you still need me.
And truth be told, I need you. I need your calm, big brother ways with Luke and Grace, always finding ways to keep them entertained even if it means making a giant mess. I need you reminding me where I leave things when Dad isn’t around; you always know where I put my phone! I need you to remind me when we’re getting low on snack foods in the pantry, because God help us if we’re only down to pretzels, cheez-its, goldfish and fruit snacks. I need your missing tooth smile greeting me every morning and every day I go to pick you up at school. I need your hugs, your furry little arms wrapping around me and your sweet voice saying, “I love you, Mom.” You know, you’re the first person to ever say that to me? I need you, my angel. I will need you all my life.
So you’re about to turn seven. Can you believe it? Well, I’m sure you can. Time seems to move extremely slow when you’re a kid. But for me Noah, I can’t believe it was seven years ago you were in my belly and I was waiting to meet you for the first time. For seven years, you’ve taught me something new every day and I know we have a lot further to go. But I promise you, no matter how crabby I get, I will love you with all my heart and soul.
Thank you for choosing me to be your Mommy. And yes, I’m still Mommy.