My darling daughter, today you are one week old. What a glorious, life changing week it has been for me and your dad. We have spent the past week in wonder of you.
I was inspired to write you these letters because many great women that I admire have written these sorts of letters to their little ones, and I always hoped I would do the same. I want to write to you to document your first year in the world and my first year as a mom. Life moves so quickly, and I want you to always be able to look back on your first year and to know how deeply you are loved. Selfishly, I don’t want to lose these days, details, or moments. They are fleeting and so precious. I want to preserve all the small things that make up the gloriousness of us becoming a family.
Your dad and I have spent most of the week just staring at you and how beautiful and magical you are. It’s amazing how you look like both of us and neither of us (you’re your own beauty little one!) all at once. You are uniquely you (always know that), but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how proud we are to see little echoes of us in you.
I love your long fingers and toes little one (those you got from me). You have the shape of daddy’s eyes (so lovely) but with long sweeping eyelashes. The rings of light and dark color in your irises look like mine. I love those little rings. I could just look at your little eyes for days. They are closed most of the time still, so when they’re open they feel like such gifts–the long lashes and sweet corners, the curious gazes.
And your nose. You come from strikingly strong nosed people, both mine and your dad’s. No weak noses come out of our stock, and yours is absolutely brilliant. I love your little nose desperately. It somehow looks like both mine and your dad’s noses mixed together. It’s so perfect for your lovely face, and I love to run my fingers down the bridge when I’m trying to sooth or calm you.
Your dad and I are in awe of all the ways you are uniquely you sweet Beatrice. Your graceful sigh. The bright-eyed looks of wonder. Your sweet techno dance moves (your long arms and legs were made for dancing my darling). The fierceness of your rage and your blazing spirit. You are so smart little one. We can see you learning already.
You have a stillness that is completely and instantly pacifying. You have a presence that can calm the world; never doubt that a greatness is in you.
You are so small now, and I hope I never forget how small and perfect you were this week. You only lost 5 ounces (4% of your original body weight) in the first three days, so now you’re just shy of 5 pounds, 9 ounces. You’ve eaten like a champ (you’re such a champ, Bea), so you were gaining weight by day 4! I know you will be so big so soon, but I hope I always remember how small and sweet you were these first days. I love how small you are and yet also how bright and strong (so strong). Your head still fits in the palm of my hand, and for the first several days I felt too large and clumsy to hold you as gracefully as you deserved (I’m trying to get better).
Within minutes of being born and being placed on my chest, you were crawling your way up so that you could snuggle up underneath my chin into the crook of my neck. You still do that with dad and me. You’re such a sweet, snuggly girl.
These first few days your dad has taken such incredible good care of both of us. I want to remember the look in his eyes when he first saw you (so much love) and on day 3 when he looked up at me with you in his arms and tears in eyes and said he was just so happy. He has patiently and unfailingly cared for us. I have called him the bean whisperer, because when you are at your most inconsolable he can calm you. He has literally held your little hands and coached us both through nursing. I would not have been able to keep nursing this past week if it wasn’t for your dad. He loves you so much, little Bea. Several times a day, we both just stop and look at each other with joy and love and awe that we get to be your parents.
Life moves so fast most of the time, but you have stopped us in our tracks and slowed life down in the best ways ever. And you’ve helped us find ourselves. Like a grand guidepost of this life, we both look down at you and have no doubt: we were meant to be your parents. Somehow we found each other. Somehow we learned how to love and live together and work at building a marriage (a lifelong journey) and now we can’t wait to learn how to be your parents.
I always knew I wanted to be a mom, and I always thought I would love being a mom. But I never knew how much I could love, and I never knew it would be you. Meeting you has been the best thing that has ever happened to me.
It seems that becoming a parent stirs things up in a person. I’ve thought a lot these past few days about my deepest hopes for you, and I just want you to know know that you can do and be anything, believe anything and go anywhere. I hope we can help you to grow and to always celebrate your Beatrice-ness.
I want you to know that people are the most important things in life. The people you choose to (or can’t help but) love and those that love you are what life is all about. Cherish and nurture those relationships. Dance with those beloveds. Laugh with them. Adventure with them. Everything else should come second to those great loves.
As I write this letter my eyes have filled with tears countless times. The love just fills me up and spills out. I am sure that there are times when you and I will fight or when I’ll be the worst (I’m picturing some of my own epic teenage years), but please know no matter what how much you were deeply loved from the beginning. I hope that makes my special brand of mom-crazy a little bit more bearable when the time comes.
I love you with so big a love it is all consuming and nothing short of sublime. When I hung the poem “I carry your heart I carry it in my heart” on your nursery wall, it was a wish for you to know that I am always here for you. That my love is unending and without obligation or cost. That my heart is forever open to you, my daughter. But what I didn’t anticipate was how much you would carry my heart, carry it in your heart. My heart seems completely lost to you in the best and most beautiful ways.
I am so grateful and so humbled to be your mom, and I will dedicate my life to loving you in a way that is big enough and bold enough to deserve the privilege.
Happy first week, Beatrice. You are so loved, my dear, always.