In law school, one of my favorite professors shared with the class a letter he’d written to his son the night before his first law-school final (the professor’s first final, not the son’s - his son was very little at the time). I thought it was the sweetest thing ever, and I can only imagine how much his now-grown son loves looking back at the letters his father wrote him over his life. I started this blog as sort of a letter to Samantha, but also just an outlet for me and my emotions as I navigate the beginning part of my journey as a mom. The blog has probably become more of the latter than the former, so I think its time for a letter to Samantha. Plus, I've been following a lot of other "mommy blogs" and the letter to the babes entries are always so touching and I feel like I write these letters in my head all the time, so its time to put one on paper (or a screen).
Dear Samantha (a/k/a Bean, Bug, Sammie B, itty-bitty, mini-b):
Just a few nights ago, you woke up (we think from teething, though you like to keep us guessing) in the middle of the night, and daddy put you in bed with us. There is nothing I love more than having you sleeping in bed with me and Daddy. I laid in bed and just watched you sleeping and thought, “I could lay here like this, watching her, forever.” I’m so head over heels in love with you, sometimes it overwhelms me.
This week, we moved you into a bigger size of diapers, and to bigger pacifiers. I’m also starting to plan your first birthday party. I cannot believe how fast time has gone. It seems like only yesterday you were born and we held you (all five pounds of you) for the first time. This first year (ten months so far) has been magical for me and daddy. We often look at you and comment to each other, “can you believe she’s ours?” Ours to love - FOREVER! Actually, tonight we sat and had dinner together -- the three of us, daddy and I at the table, and you in your high chair, and I said, “can you believe we have this little bean here with us?” And daddy said, “isn’t it funny that someday it will be you and me sitting here with teenagers at the dinner table with us?” Its fun to dream about those days in our future, but at the same time, we are so enjoying our time with you . . . and our little family of three.
If I had to explain this first year in one word (besides magical, wonderful, etc.) I would call it intense. We’ve had quite a journey. From your pre-term birth, to your short stay in the NICU, to beginning physical therapy, your eye surgery, mommy and daddy trying to figure out how to ‘do it all’ - work full-time and still be the best parents to you that we can be, etc., its been intense. I love you more intensely than I never knew possible. But along with that intense love comes intense worry, and each day, I work on how to grapple with that worry without being paralyzed by it. Maybe one day you will be a mommy and I will comfort you with stories of how much I worried during your first year of life, the way my mom has comforted me with stories of my first year.
So, there’s intense love. Intense worry. And there’s also intense joy. Seriously, you bring so much joy into every moment of your daddy’s and my life. Your smiles are infectious. All that daddy has to do is look at you and you burst into a gummy little grin. You do the same for Duder, your doggie. And then there are the giggles. Whenever we do something that earns one of your silly, girly little giggles, we will do it again and again and again, just to hear more. We never get tired of those giggles. And when something is so fun that it warrants more than a giggle -- then you squeal with delight. We love all of your little faces and your sounds.
I cannot always remember when you started doing certain things, but we’ve certainly watched your personality evolve over time. We think you have a fabulous sense of humor and we even love the little temper tantrums you’ve started having. When we take a toy out of your hand, you get so angry these days. Even in your anger, you are unbelievably cute, and we can’t help but smile. Last week, I bought you a book when we were in the grocery store (“B is for Bear”) and let you hold it in the store. When we got out to the car, I took it away from you so I could put you in your car seat. You immediately started crying and flailing around. I couldn’t help but smile. Of course, I gave that book right back to you, and then we shared a smile :o)
Right now, the things you find the funniest are us kissing your feet (and you holding them up for us to kiss), tickling your tummy, making you fly through the air like an airplane at either me or daddy, screaming (you LOVE to have screaming contests, and we’ve been lucky enough to catch one on video), playing peek-a-boo, giving high-fives, seeing yourself (and us) in mirrors, taking off mommy's glasses, and mommy and daddy running toward you making funny sounds or faces. I've read that this means you’ve figured out the feeling of “anticipation” -- you know that running at you saying “I’m going to get you” means you are about to get tickled or kissed. Regardless what it means, you love it. And we love it.
From the moment you realized your little mouth could make sounds, you’ve been a babbler. Those sounds have evolved over time (from only vowel sounds like “oooohhhhh” to consonants like “mmmmm” to combinations like “maaaaaa”) and we love hearing your babbling. Everyone that is around you for any length of time comments on what a little talker you are. Recently there’s been more “dadada” and “mamama” and these just melt our hearts. You have also said “bye bye” twice -- once when GiGi said “ready to go bye bye?” and once when your nanny said “bye bye.” You don’t say words often, but the makings of your first words are there, and we can’t wait to hear all that you have to say.
Besides noticing that you are a chatterbox, people also notice that you are an observer. Daddy and I love watching you look at and try to understand new things. When we show you something new, your little forehead wrinkles and you raise your eyebrows so that they peek out from above your cute lavender glasses and you study whatever it is we’ve shown you. Your little face is so expressive, and we love every expression you have.
My favorite time with you is the mornings. Since the very beginning, we decided daddy would be the primary bedtime person, and I would take mornings. I love going in to get you out of your crib first thing in the morning. Your face lights up when you see me, and you wrap your little arms around my neck when I pick you up and I swear, it doesn’t matter how tired I am in those moments, my heart melts. Every single day. You actually wake up babbling. In fact, when you (occasionally) wake up crying, I know that you aren’t really ready to get up for the day. Those are the days I just change your diaper and put you in bed with me and you go back to sleep for an hour or so and then wake up babbling. And that’s when we know you are ready to face the day :o)
I think your favorite places are your high chair and mine and daddy’s bed. I think you like your view of the world from the high chair . . . you always have plenty of smiles, giggles and squeals for us from there. And, you love our bed just as much as I like having you in it. I’d let you sleep in it all the time if we weren’t afraid of bad habits. But on special occasions (like weekend mornings) you get to sleep in our bed, and I think you sleep your most peacefully there. You love to sleep on your side, facing toward either me or daddy - like with our noses almost touching. We love it too, and we love to watch you sleep snuggled up like that! Sometimes, on daddy’s Fridays days off, he puts you in bed with him in the mornings, and it kills me to walk out the door and go to work and leave my two favorite people on earth snuggling without me. But, I know those days are special daddy-Sammie days, and I’m so happy you have them. You have a very special daddy, and even though I get a little jealous sometimes, I’m happy that the two of you get to spend those special Fridays together. Daddy loves those Fridays too!
That brings me to one last “favorite thing.” I love when daddy dresses you. I went crazy over baby clothes while I was pregnant with you. I thought I’d dress you in cutesy tootsie outfits all the time. But then, you were born, and I discovered I’m actually pretty practical when it comes to baby clothes. I generally put you in just a onesie. A cute onesie of course, but something simple. And, I never bother with shoes. On daddy’s days alone with you, I always come home to find you dressed to the nines my little girl. He puts you in these perfectly coordinating little outfits, complete with perfectly coordinating shoes. I love it. Like everything else you do, and all that daddy does, seeing the outfits he picks out makes my heart flutter! We are both so lucky that you have such a fabulous daddy -- I can't wait to watch as your relationship with him grows over time.
My little Bean. You are magical. You are beautiful. You are funny. You are perfect. You are mine. And I am so happy to be your mommy.
With more love than you could ever imagine,