I’m currently writing this letter through tears. I don’t know if I’m emotional because Mother’s Day is coming up or if it’s because of the anniversary of a very traumatic event that happened to us, but I can’t stop thinking about what would happen if my baby had to grow up without me. I often wonder what I would want my baby to know if my time here on Earth came to an end before I had the opportunity to watch her grow up. I worry whether I’ll have enough time with her to teach her everything I need her to know, and to prepare her for navigating life.
I know it’s a bit of a morbid thing to think about. I try to push it out of my mind, but from time to time it creeps it’s way back in and I find myself fretting over it. You read stories about mothers who pass away leaving behind young children and you don’t let yourself believe that it could happen to you. I don’t want to be unprepared, so I wrote a letter to Grace for my husband or my grandparents to show her when she’s old enough to read it and truly understand what it means. Grab your tissues, guys.
May 12, 2017, 10: 22 p.m.
First, you must know that I love you. With every ounce of my being, and every power within the universe. Our love is deeper than any other force; the love of a mother and daughter. I will never be able to erase from my memory the first time I saw you smile, or the first time you wrapped your tiny, little arms around me to give me a hug. I spent the first two years of your life completely wrapped up in the beauty of motherhood, and for that I thank you.
How fortunate am I, that I was chosen to create you, to nurture you, and teach you. It is gratifying to watch you grow. To learn each new skill with ease. To watch you master new words and phrases, and smile with pride afterwards. You are still so small, and have so much learning to do, but you’ve already taught me so much. You’ve taught me to be present. That even though terrifying things are happening in the world, that there will always be light. Your smile taught me that joy can exist, even amidst darkness. Your tenacity and fearlessness taught me to take more risks and be less rigid, and your genuine, unselfish, and unconditional love showed me the true meaning of life.
I thought I’d had some of my happiest days, but none will ever compare to the time we’ve spent together. The way you laid your head on my chest in your first few months of life peering up at me with a grin. And our sunny picnics in the park when you were just shy of a year old. We would stare up at the clouds, on our favorite blanket, nestled in the trees. The serene mornings at breakfast, eating pineapple on the kitchen floor…Iron & Wine playing in the background. These images and moments are forever etched in my memory. They are the most mundane moments. They lack significance to anyone other than you and I. They’ve shaped me as a mother, and they’ve left me utterly in awe of how much I can love you. How much I can love being with you.
Here are some essentials that I believe are key to living a joyful, healthy, and complete life.
The only way to survive in the current state of our world is to serve one another. Giving to others, and doing things for them is the key to happiness. I cannot express the immense amount of joy you will feel when you get to help someone and show them kindness and compassion. Humans are made to serve one another, and it is essential that you learn this at a very early age. You’ve always been caring and selfless, so I wholeheartedly believe that this will likely come natural to you.
You CAN Change The World (And you will)
Never let anyone tell you that you can’t change the world. If you want to do something that will help our planet, people, the environment, animals, whomever…then do it. Do not let anyone tell you that your actions are in vain, for one simple, small action can speak volumes.
You Are Not Alone
In the age where social media is very present in the lives of children and teens, I feel that it’s absolutely necessary for you to know that your parents, friends, and family are here for you 24/7, no matter what, all judgement aside. We live in a very terrifying age where bullying forces children to take their own lives. I want you to understand that we are here for you no matter what you may be going through or facing; you must know that you are not alone.
I want you to feel confident in the woman that you are mentally, emotionally, and physically. Your body image is perfect. Your ideals, morals, and beliefs are perfect. The way you were created is a complete work of art, and you shouldn’t ever doubt yourself. True confidence and happiness comes from loving yourself first.
Be a Leader
Lastly, always lead; never follow. You will grow up with examples of strong characteristics such as determination, motivation, strong will, and maybe a bit of stubbornness (not sure who you will get that from…) and these are all things a great leader must possess. I want you to know that you were born to do something great with your life, and you will accomplish it. You’ve got the fiery willpower and the smarts to do whatever you want with your life. Go do it, my love.
I want you to know that I will always be here, daughter. You have intensely vivid brown eyes. They’re yours forever, and they’ll never change. That is your constant. When your world is spinning, and you feel afraid, lost, or tired, look in the mirror. Look into your own eyes. My eyes. Find your strength, tenacious nature, and unwavering power that lies within you, daughter. It is there. It will drive you.
You are capable. You are cherished. You are loved.
I love you,
(I’ll likely add to this letter later on as the “real” letter my husband can give to her. I honestly didn’t proofread it either. I simply sat down to write it freely, without limit, and let everything out in one sitting, and without reading back through it. It felt great, and I honestly don’t know if I can read it again tonight without sobbing.)
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.
If you are a mother, what are your thoughts? What would you add to this list? What would you want your babies to know?