Dear Beatrice // Week 4

Dear Beatrice,

As I type this letter, you’re snuggled up in my arms. 

This is a picture of you in my arms while I'm typing this.

This is a picture of you in my arms while I’m typing this.

Almost one month ago you came into the world, and now, you’re sleeping soundly with your head in the crook of my right arm and your feet resting on my belly button. Maya Angelou said, “This is a wonderful day. And I’ve never seen this one before.” and that’s how I feel every day thanks to you, my love. Since you’ve arrived, I’ve remembered how precious each new day is.

This week. . .

*Each day has seemed so long, and you have taken advantage of every moment to grow. You are changing dramatically right before our eyes.

*There is so much to say, so much to tell you about. Each week I think that I won’t have time to write this letter to you, but as I go through the week I keep little notes on my phone in Evernote about the things I want to remember to tell you. 

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*Gigi has been here since last Wednesday, and the three of us have been having a blast.  A few days ago she was holding you and I asked her, “Can you believe you have a granddaughter?”and she shook her head and said, “I’m just so grateful.”

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*We made ink impressions of your footprints, and it was like an episode of I Love Lucy. There was ink all over  you, me and Gigi, but we sure got some cute footprints. 

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*Your dad gave you your first bottle, and you hated it. But eventually you got the hang of it and drank an ounce or two. Then a few days later we gave you your second bottle, and you really hated it,  but you drank all 3 ounces.  Watching you scream at the bottle nipple made me cry big crocodile tears. I knew I could just nurse you and make everything better, but we also wanted you to learn to take a bottle so that daddy could help sometimes. It  hurt me to watch you scream and reminded me that I won’t always be able to give you everything you want or make everything better even if I can. That seems one of the hardest parenting lessons I’ve learned so far. 

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*There was a heat wave, and we don’t have air conditioning (most homes don’t in San Francisco).  Ninety degrees with no AC and a newborn is no fun. You got a bit of a heat rash, and Gigi and I felt like we were in a sauna, but we survived.

A few highlights of you this week:

facesofbea*You’ve been showing us more of your personality. Your face is so expressive, and your noises sound like your own little language. Your sounds are beginning to have more meaning, seem more specific. You are so funny.  I swear I can tell when you’re frustrated, when you’re hungry, when you’re tired. It’s hilarious how much personality comes through with your sighs, grunts, and squeaks. 

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*You seem to be changing so fast. Life is moving so much more quickly now compared to life before you came in the sense that I am literally watching time pass as you grow before my eyes. I know that I am going to love and enjoy each phase that is headed our way. Each will be so precious. And yet. . . I have to admit, I feel so unprepared! Watching you grow and change is such a treasure. This week you just seem SO big. When I think back to how tiny you were in the hospital it makes me tear up. The first few weeks you were gaining a lot of weight, but we couldn’t really tell that you were changing physically. Now! you’re so big my darling. When you were first born, you fit from head to tush on my forearm in the space between my elbow and my wrist. Now you’re way too big for that! Poof! Just like that our tiny little newborn is gone. I was so scared when you were that little. Now every day you’re getting stronger and sturdier. I love each day. Each moment. And I just keep telling myself that hopefully I’m changing and evolving all the while (even though you can’t see my changes like I can see yours) to be ready and able to be your mom as you grow.

Oh, and also, your second chin arrived this week, and it’s the best.  I’m so proud of that chin! It means we are both doing exactly what we need to do!

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*You made and held eye contact with me for bursts of time this week, and it’s been breathtaking each time. It’s like suddenly you know I’m here. I can’t even describe it.

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*You have the most perfectly round head. I know this may sound random, but it’s true. Someday if you want to shave your head but you wonder what your head would look like, trust me, it’s perfect. Shave it! or Don’t(!) and just know you have a perfectly round head. Also, this hair at the back of your neck–I adore it. 

This week I:

*have had moments where I felt that I was meant to be a mama and others where I completely doubted that I have any mothering instincts at all. It’s a shame that these so called mothering instincts don’t come with a strong daily dose of self-confidence. I’m trying to trust myself more, but some days I do better than others. 

*have never cared less about my physical appearance. I don’t even consider putting any makeup on at all for any reason. There are just so many more important things, mainly just you. :) it’s wonderful and completely disorienting how my priorities changed so completely overnight.

*have often felt like the days disappear so quickly with so little to show for the time. Between feeding you and enjoying you in the quiet moments when you’re sleeping and napping myself when I can, the days disappear almost before they’ve begun. When my friend Janet was visiting, she mentioned that she had felt similarly after her daughter was born, and she had said to her mom that she felt like she had accomplished so little at the end of each day. Her mother told her to look at her baby. She said, “That’s what you accomplished today.” I love that. I just keep reminding myself. You’re my job right now and as long as I’m keeping you fed and cared for, I’m totally knocking it out of the park! This time with you is such a gift, and I don’t want to waste a second worrying about stupid checklists or things undone.

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*realized that my mom held me once like this-the way I’m holding you now. It is powerful and emotional and life changing to be a part of a cycle that connects me to so many women past and present. We are all so different across country, time, and place, but so many of us have held sweet babies in our arms and faced the giant responsibility that is parenthood. We are one. 

*am learning that being healthy and healed is so important. I can only take care of you to the best of my ability when I’m taking care of myself to the best of my ability. I’m still working on healing, but I’m taking real steps in that direction each day. 

A few odds and ends I wanted to tell you this week:

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*Life is about learning new things, making relationships, and trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. Add value. Contribute in whatever way feels meaningful to you. Help your fellow man and woman. You never know when you’ll need a helping hand. Run after adventure and follow your heart.–>Don’t be overly  tempted when you’re young by security and financial stability. There’s time enough for those. Seek to see the world and write home about it :) and if I seem scared someday when you want to do all these things, remind me of these words.

*Laughter is one of life’s greatest gifts. This week your Gigi and I have laughed until we cried at least once a day. I hope I can be a fraction as awesome as she is as a mom. She has filled my life with laughter. I can’t wait to laugh with you my sweet Bea. When the world gives you a choice between laughter and tears or laughter and rage (it seems to happen all the time), choose to respond with laughter. Laugh with your friends, with your loves, and darling please, laugh with me. 

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*I love to kiss your knees and your elbows, your tummy and your shoulders. You are so beautiful, every inch and corner of you. When you’ve grown out of these days of chubby cheeks and knobby knees and into the lines and curves and womanhood, I want you to know that every inch of you– your shoulders, your belly, your knees, –will be just as perfect as it is now. Don’t waste any time thinking differently. Love yourself and be boldly, beautifully you. 

You are so loved, always,
-Mom

Mere