Seren, my sweet love, you are four weeks old today, and I’m blown away by how you’ve grown in that short time. Not only grown, but grown us—in ways we never could have imagined. Some days we are so lost as to how to love and care for you well, and yet together we muddle through as a family, for which I am so grateful. I am humbled by the way you have changed everything for us, changed your dad and me in so many ways (and will continue to, I know). I love how you are teaching us to love more fully and to receive more completely.
Today you held my hand as you nursed and my heart expanded two more sizes to fit all the love I have for you. As your mama, I pray to always be able to hold your hand when you want it held, and to see you nourished in the ways your whole being needs.
Sweet, sweet girl. Two months! Nine weeks! It’s so hard to believe. As I write this I’m listening to your Daddy sing over you, and you are responding by cooing and grunting. It’s a gift I didn’t even know to ask for.
This month you have learned to smile, and you smile all the time, little one. Because of that, you make us smile, and remind us that this movement of muscle and skin isn’t just optional in daily life—it is part of what makes living worthwhile, what makes us human and real and a good part of this world.
There is so much good to smile at in this world, Seren love. So much that will delight and entrance you. This week, you’re beginning to have the capacity to focus on things around you, and you are truly entranced. It is a gift to watch your surprise and gentle examination as you see things, perhaps for the first time. It gives us new eyes, sweet love, and we need that newness. It is making all things new again.
Little love, we bless your seeing this month. We bless each new view, each way you set your eyes on things for the very first time. You see unlike anyone else in this world, and we are looking forward to learning more about that seeing. You help us see as God sees, and with that we can bring more love and grace and redemption into this world. All that is just what you do by being you, Seren, and by seeing what you see. So keep on, little star. Be bright eyed. We love you, and can’t imagine life without you.
You’re 13 weeks old, Star-of-Ours. Three months this past Friday. As I write this, I’m watching your Daddy dance gently with you in our living room, Over the Rhine on the stereo, the Christmas tree lights twinkling. We’re hoping to help you sleep, but I don’t think you’re ready yet. And this moment couldn’t be more perfect in all of its imperfection.
This week you discovered how to flex your toes, and you’re beginning to choose to grasp things (like my hair) with your little hands. You have a giggle that’s more delightful than I have words for—it’s a cross between a chortle and a laugh.
You still get an achy tummy sometimes, and I wish I knew what caused it so that I could make it go away for you. And two times this week you’ve dissolved into the most heartbreaking wails just because I put clothes on you. I first wrote that I don’t pretend to understand you, love, but actually, I pretend that quite a lot. I fool myself into believing that I know what’s going on, and I don’t, not really. At the same time, the beautiful confusion that we live in together—all three of us—is so worth it.
You’re officially out of the “fourth trimester” this week, my girl, and I’m already aware of how much you’ve changed, wishing that I could turn back time to the weeks when you were so very small. I’m going to try not to do that too often—the pining for what was—because what is is so very good, so glorious, really. You’re growing and changing more quickly than I could have imagined. I love seeing you just being you, watching a little more of your essence being revealed each day.
Happy three months, Seren Elisha. We love you.
Baby girl, I’m a little late on week 18. You’ve heard me saying that a lot, I think, but as of this letter I’m going to stop saying it. I’ve been thinking a great deal about why I say it, and what it is that prevents me from getting to these letters when I think I will.
There’s busy-ness, of course, & the reality & wonder of living with you instead of writing to you. Bad reasons and good.
Underneath it is, I think, a reluctance to put to words this new reality I’ve been living in with you. It’s a world full of what my friend Elisa calls ordinary losses.
Not that living with you and loving you is loss, little Star, not at all. But there are moments that pass, and when I am able to come to write you these letters, I see how they are now beyond my reach, things that will never happen again. They were losses without ceremony (and life would be strange indeed if every one of these were a ceremony!), but I struggle to write these letters sometimes because of the tears that come with the small things you’ve moved beyond.
Sometime in the past few weeks, for example, you stopped wanting to be swaddled. There may yet come a time when you will like that, when you’re sick or going through a growth spurt, but I may have wrapped you in those muslin squares for the last time, and I never knew it. An ordinary loss.
Sometime after Christmas, we stopped using the nursing pillow, in part because it wasn’t convenient any more, and in part because you’ve grown too big for it. Another small grief. It’s hard to reflect on these things, baby girl, because they bring tears (I’m crying now) around how those moments will never come again.
Sweet love, I want to feel all of the emotions that come along with being your mother, not just the easy ones. I may stall on being present to the tough stuff, but I want you to know that all the feelings that come along with being your parent are precious to me (okay, so helplessness isn’t all that precious at the moment, but I know it will be in retrospect). Happy 18 weeks, Seren Elisha. May you know that grief and joy, pain and love are all part of the beautiful tapestry of living in this world. I love you.
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