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    Dear Bee // 37.

    08.09.2013 / FAMILY

    pajama photo shoot

    Dear Bee,

    I’m new at this, so I’m having trouble deciphering which of my feelings are about parenting, and which feelings are about parenting you. Your father and I had a long-overdue late night dinner last night – complete with candles and wine and Dean Martin serenading us over Chinese takeout – and we slowed down enough to process this past year. It was bizarre, really, having a conversation that wasn’t interrupted by you, and we both found it difficult to string together a completely grown-up sentence that involved total and utter focus, rather than the darting eyes and multi-tasking hands that come with parenting a baby. But soon enough, we found our groove and lost ourselves into a fully interruption-less conversation. And as wonderful as it was, you still found your way into our conversation, as babies often do.

    We chatted about our future family plans and our strengths and weaknesses as parents. But mostly, we chatted about you. About how perfectly perfect you fit into this family. Because Bee, I don’t think any other baby is as uniquely suited to teach us how to become parents quite like you are.

    You have a hard job, my dear. You came into a very controlled environment and spilled chaos into every arena of our life like popcorn kernels exploding from a heated cannister. We were your typical married-of-seven-years couple: nice and neat and tidy, set in our ways. We finished each other’s sentences and shared the chores and synchronized our dreams until we had become our own family unit.

    And then you arrived, a kernel of love and surprise and mess. The most beautiful mess of all, shattering expectations and crumbling walls until we became a heap of ourselves. We were tired and fearful and anxious, and you were you: a strong and capable teacher, assigning a handful of important life lessons on perspective and perseverance and vulnerability.

    When a woman is in labor for the first time, there’s a fair amount of trailblazing that takes place. The road to the birth canal hasn’t yet been paved, so it’s rough and rocky and tumultuous. And you, Bee – the first baby – had to work very hard. We had to work very hard together, like we’ll do many times for the rest of our lives – you, me and your father.

    And now, the trail has been blazed. Just like you paved the way during labor, you also paved the way in life. You formed and shaped and molded the lives of your father and I into parents. You created a family unit out of two pieces, weaving our lives into a quilt for three. And Bee, someday – God-willing – we will be a quilt of four.

    And here’s what I want you to know: you are the thread that holds this quilt together. We owe you so much, and I know how silly that sounds to write. You’re just a baby. You can’t yet speak in complete sentences, but you have whispered perspective into our ears. You have taught us flexibility and patience and kindness, and you have changed us for good. And although you can’t yet run, you have shown us that, sometimes, running requires a big leap of faith at the starting line.

    Giving you a sibling will require that, Bee – a big leap of faith for our family. A change of scenery and a bit of discomfort, and a lot of really intense paperwork. But now, because of you, our signature reads differently. It’s a bit more loopy and messy, and our I’s aren’t always dotted and we sometimes forget to cross our T’s. And it’s one hundred times more beautiful, smudged with the ink of faith and courage and unconditional love.

    So if three becomes four, Bee, I want to thank you for making our family autograph what it is. For blazing the trail and paving the road, and for teaching us the art of a beautiful and real and perfectly imperfect signature.

    XO,
    Mama

    • Beautiful. Heart meltingly, soul stirringly beautiful words.

    • Such beautiful words for Bee to read in her later years. Bundles of heartfelt love passion clearly surround her.

      • They totally do. Here’s hoping it’s not TOO much! ;)

    • So sweet, Erin. They are our greatest teachers. It’s incredibly humbling, scary, & wonderful. xo

    • i really appreciate your perspective. sometimes i get so overwhelmed with being a mother and i love when i read posts like this one that help remind me what a true gift a child is to a family.

      they teach us what we need to be taught. they were meant to be our children just as much as we were meant to be their parents.

      xo

      • “They teach us what we need to be taught.” Amen, my dear! Thank you for sharing your sweet words. :)

    • Such true words. Being a parent has changed my life, my husband’s life, OUR lives so much, in such good ways and ways I never expected. In the chaos of learning to be a parent I also didn’t realize the light at the end of that rabbit-hole tunnel would happily be where we’re at now, a unit of three, living nicely together. So many best wishes and good thoughts for you in pursuing your 4th wheel; we’re hoping to have another ourselves (any day now, please! Would love to have another right now!!). = )

      • Ahhhh I love love love your thoughts – we’re always right on the same schedule, aren’t we? ;)

    • Has it been a YEAR already? Very brave to talk about 4! haha! Bee is so lucky to have parents that treasure her place on the planet :)

      • I can’t believe it either! And thank you, sweet Monica. :)

    • It’s only been half a year for us, but I totally know what you mean. So well said.

      • Thank you, Cara! And congrats on hitting the 6 month mark! :)

    • Brooke R.

      I normally don’t read when people write letter to their children because, as sweet as they are, they all started to sound the same to me. And were a bit boring. But yours, yours are some of the more beautiful words I have read written to her child. I would not miss them. Thank you for being able to express with words what so many of us feel.

      • Ah, that’s so kind to say, Brooke – thank you!

    • Judy Mahuron

      I love your writing, Erin, and you. Yours is a wonderful little family. Thrilled to know it may be even more so sometime down the road. You are both terrific students.

    • Judy Mahuron

      I love your writing, Erin, and you. Yours is a wonderful little family. Thrilled to know it may be “more” so sometime down the road. You and Ken are both terrific students.

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