It's my first official letter to you. In actuality, I feel like the last 11 months have been an ongoing letter to you. I spent the good part of a year wishing for you, talking to my belly, and now, telling you how much I love you and have looked forward to you.
I feel so privileged to get to do this whole thing again, every bit of it. Singing lullabies, comforting you, feeding you, even waking up at 2 am (and 4 am, and 4 :30 am). After such a long time, it's just so fun, and amazing, and just joyous to have my little baby.
Even though this is is my third time around, I am still finding myself confronted with my misconceptions, my misguided ideas, and my shortcomings.
Mistakenly, I thought that I would have a productive maternity leave. In each 24 hour day, I pictured myself finding time for at least an hour of exercise and an hour of study each day. I pictured you, laying serenely next to me as I worked on forgotten projects and cooked amazing meals. Instead, my daily accomplishments have been making the bed, getting dressed (not every day) and making sure that no one goes hungry. It's not just that I underestimated the fatigue of never sleeping longer than 3 hours in a row. I had failed to account for the fact that I wouldn't ever want to put you down. I don't want to miss a single smile, coo, or funny expression. I want to spend each moment I can, you snuggled against my chest where I can take in the sweet baby fragrance of your hair.
Mistakenly, I thought I would be so much better, so much more experienced this go around. While I may know a little bit more what to expect, I still find that I struggle trying to get you to sleep just as much as I did your brothers. I still worry about that possible rash or each funny noise that you make. I still wake up even more frequently that you do, just to place my hand on your belly and feel you breathing. I still can't always decipher all your cries and comfort you instantly. Mistakenly, I thought that experience would decrease the worry. It doesn't.
By far, the biggest misguided idea that I had was that things would be different this time. That if I didn't rush you, if I focused on just enjoying each moment, if I savored how precious this time was, not wishing away the difficulties of the newborn period - the unending feedings, the frequent diaper and wardrobe changes, the fatigue - if I just took it slow, that you would too. But this isn't true. No matter how much I try to hang on to each day, you are still growing just as fast as your brothers did before you. You are still changing so quickly that day to day, you are almost a different little person. And I know that, despite how darling each thing you do is, from your funny little baby crocodile call and cough when you are hungry, to your excited little grunts when we change your clothes; despite how acute and vivid these are to me right now, that eventually, they will fade. There will be a time that you will grow and these memories will be just a dull ache in the background.
I realize all that now. I realize I can't make this time last any longer just by wishing it. So, I will continue to snuggle you every moment I can, take an overabundance of pictures, and cheer on each new milestone. And above all, I will continue to feel privileged to be your mother.