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For My Child, and My Child-To-Be

I take back the title of my last post. I’m ready now.

Things are definitely happening in there, and the end doesn’t seem so far away. I can feel #2 getting restless. He’s looking for a way out, and I’ve just about reached my tolerance for being a human incubator. We both need our freedom, #2 and me, and for the first time since I learned of his existence, I finally feel the time is right for us to meet face to face.

My hospital bag is packed (probably incorrectly, since I have no idea what’s actually supposed to be in there.) My mom arrives from Boston at 10:30 tomorrow morning, so no more panicking about what I’ll do with E in the middle of the night if J and I need to make a speedy exit. The baby’s room is ready, crib sheets and Diaper Genie and everything. I’m sick to death of heartburn, maternity clothes, stretch mark cream, shortness of breath and getting pounded in the ribs. It’s time.

But there is one last thing I need to do. In the coming months, there will be precious few moments like this where everything is quiet, everything is calm, and I can take some time to write down exactly what I’m feeling. This moment is for them, my child and my child-to-be. Because in case I don’t get the chance very often to tell them how I feel, at least one day they’ll be able to read these thoughts for themselves.

Dear E,

You are 2 ½ years old and you are perfect. You are beautiful and funny and curious, smart and sarcastic and affectionate. Your favorite color is brown, you adore Sesame Street, you love to build towers and draw with crayons. You wake up every morning singing at the top of your lungs. You light up the whole world when you laugh.

You make my whole life worth it—every mistake I’ve made, every wrong turn I’ve taken still led me to you, and to the incredible privilege of being your mom. I’ve loved every minute of the time we’ve had together so far, even if it didn’t always seem like it. Even when I lost my patience, even the times I got angry when you didn’t deserve it, and the times when you did. You were first, so I had to learn how to be a mom on you. I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made, and the ones I’m going to make. I promise to learn from all of them, to do better and try harder every day. And I’m going to expect the same from you. I know it might be hard, these next few weeks when we both have to adjust to you not being my one and only. I promise that no matter how much it might make you sad sometimes, having a brother is the best thing is the world.

He might steal some attention and make it hard for me to hold you in the beginning, he might break your crayons or sneak into your room after you told him a hundred times not to, but one day—and it will come sooner than you think—he’ll be the one you call first when you’re happy, and first when you’re sad. He’ll fry turkeys with you on Thanksgiving, laugh at your jokes, and commiserate with you about how crazy your dad and I are. He’ll be your family, and he’s one of the greatest gifts we’ll ever give you. So hang in there, and know that I love you more every minute, forever, no matter what.

Dear #2,

I’m so sorry I gave you such a ridiculous nickname. You aren’t second best to anyone. You deserve to be an individual, not a number in a line. I promise the minute you come out we’ll give you a real-person name of your own, and we’ll pretend the whole ranking thing never happened. This pregnancy may have been a lot more about your sister than either of us would have liked, but there are some benefits to being a second child. I’m more confident now. I know what kind of mother I want to be. I’ll be more laid back, more flexible, and more prepared than I was for E. True, she’ll be a tough act to follow, but she’s also going to be the best big sister in the whole world, so forgive her if she’s hard on you at first. I promise she’ll get used to you and come to love you as much as your dad and I do.

I can’t wait to meet you, to hold you in my arms and start getting to know you. There’s precious little I do know about you right now—you prefer hip-hop to jazz, 3am is your favorite time of day, you love cheeseburgers but aren’t a big fan of Italian food. If the old-wives tales about heartburn are true, you’ve probably got a ton of hair, which I hope is dark like your daddy’s, but I’ll love in any color even if it comes out purple. You can start getting to know me, too, and all the amazing people in your world who already love you like crazy. I promise to take care of you always, to teach you and learn from you, to be the best mom I possibly can be and to never stop trying to do my job better. You’ve got the whole wide world waiting for you out here...and it’s an amazing place to be.

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