My dearest little dear,
It's New Year's Eve and you are sweetly sleeping upstairs in your crib. In two days, you will be nine months old. Mama and Papa are sipping port at the dining table and delighting upon inventing the traditions that we hope will later scaffold a beautiful family life. We hung snowflakes of tissue paper and aluminum foil so you could wake to a wintry wonderland. We drafted our dreams and bore witness to each other's and archived it all in a box to uncover next year. And now we are writing you these letters.
This is the kind of mother I intended to be from the start, but I got a little lost along the way. I've come to understand, though, that my postpartum depression and anxiety were all part of the journey. I couldn't be the mother, the wife, the woman I am becoming in slow, steady strokes without that chapter. My comfort is that none of it seems to have affected you. You are the happiest little guy, so ready to be delighted at almost every turn. Fiery, for sure, yes, but that's because every single atom of you is made of bright ember.
How lucky I am to be your mother. How lucky are we to be chosen to accompany you in this life.
So, little man, almost NINE MONTHS. And it feels like every day it's something new. You can crawl very fast now (you went from not crawling to crawling at the speed of light in a matter of three days, I think). You can pull yourself up on furniture with ease, cruise along, even squat down to pick up a toy and stand again without missing a beat. You wave at yourself in the mirror and delight in saying "UP!" over and again. You love to feed yourself--bits of carrot, peas, corn off the cob, cheerios, puffs, pieces of fruit, whatever you can maneuver into your mouth on your own. You're less interested now in the purees and mushy food that require you to sit patiently, waiting for a spoon held in someone else's hand. I admire this. You babble mamas and babas and wawas and UP! You blow raspberries and scrunch your face while snorting air through your nose. Sometimes you'll even give kisses--and what kisses they are: your mouth widens into a shiny O and you close it around my nose or chin or entire mouth and hold it there, gently, purposefully, patiently, indulgently--OK, mama, I'll give you a kiss.
I love your face when you've mastered a new challenge. You are surprised and delighted and cocky, all at once. I've never been so certain of the link between us and the chimps. It's extremely charming, little boy.
Also I love the way you're coming to understand how to love Nahe. Oh, you've adored her from the start--never startled at her loud barking, never ever showed fear, not even when you were but days old and pretty helpless, and there she was lolling in your personal space, SO CURIOUS about you. You had such trust in us and in her and in the ability of things to go right instead of wrong (how I admire this too). But you are learning to be gentle with her, to calm your touch near her, but also to play with her, to share loud raucous joy with her. You, indeed, are puppies of the same litter, my loves.
All this, so much **living** crammed into the last nine months. It simultaneously makes me impatient for and loathe to rush all that comes next.
But I welcome it all, I do, because it'll be with you, my dear, my son, my little pal. Mama and boy-o.
Looking forward to delighting in life with you.