Dear Bee // 35

Dear Bee,

Congratulations – you are a walker. Last weekend, you took your first few steps toward your father, your favorite dog Bernie and a plateful of peaches. Just as it should be. And the excitement that flowed through me was a shock – and I mean that both literally and figuratively. There was an electric current pulsing in and out of my veins as my smile widened and stretched from the east to the west and back again, more proud than I’ve ever been. It surprised me, this pride. I mean, babies grow and learn to walk and talk and ask for their parents’ credit cards. That’s what they do. But Bee, I was completely awestruck by you. It was like witnessing the complete manifestation of your independence, balancing atop two wobbly but determined ankles. And I just melted.

You’re growing fast now and time is snowballing. Your favorite game is “What is that?” which has only one rule: you point at things and say “Dat?” and then we identify them. The rule, of course, is that the game doesn’t end, so your father and I spend the bulk of our day brushing up on our vocabulary and discussing whether or not this is a sofa or that is a couch. Porch or patio? Bathroom or restroom? Oh, the decisions, Bee, and on some days, I feel the weight of these. What if I teach you the wrong word? What if you’re forever condemned in 4th grade because you pronounce “crayon” wrong or you call it soda instead of pop? What if, what if, what if?

We found a piece of gravel stuck between your two front teeth last week. It was wedged so perfectly that it required four minutes of struggle and a few bite marks to retrieve it, and my mind immediately raced to worst case scenario: that you’d swallowed a rock and this gravel was a remnant left behind, and now the rock is going to sit at the pit of your stomach, slowly attracting other food bits until you have a massive cyst of debris that renders you unable to stand up straight or float, and you would never learn to walk because surely, by now, the food rock was a 70 pound boulder and you simply couldn’t possible propel yourself forward with that much resistance from your intestines.

This is what my head is like, Bee. It is a messy place, full of worry and anxiety and worst case scenarios that don’t quite reflect any semblance of reality. The “What If?” soundtrack is always on repeat, and until this weekend, I had a hard time hearing anything above the noise.

But then you started walking. And the gravel came out. And your birthday is coming up. And all of these signs are pointing to resilience, for all of us. We are stronger than we know.

When I learned to drive, I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept that if your foot wasn’t on the brake, you were moving forward. So for the first few weeks, there was a lot of back and forth and fast and slow and gas and brake until, finally, it clicked and I learned that there was a beautiful balance to it all. That my foot could be neither on the brake, nor the gas, and we could still get from A to B.

And this year has felt a lot like those early weeks as I learned to operate something that was larger than me, something that had weight. We had days of ebb and flow, Bee, where the ride was a bit jerky, yes, but we’d ride along happily until I’d realize my foot was off the brake – that I hadn’t washed your hands or given you enough sunscreen or packed the bug spray – and then I’d slam the brake out of fear and insecurity and we’d both feel the jolt. And then I’d gun it, pressing my foot on the gas as hard as I could, praying this phase would pass because it was more than I could handle.

But we’re older now. And wiser, and more experienced. And we’re strong, Bee. Strong enough to drive wherever we please, with the radio blaring and the “What If?” soundtrack nowhere in sight. Strong enough to roll down the windows and let the wind mess with our hair and our expectations.

And, as of last weekend, strong enough to forgo the car entirely and on some days, just walk. Congratulations, sweet Bee. This was a big milestone for all of us.


  • I’m so fortunate my babies are the same age as Bee, and have a similar anxious personality. It’s like you are in my head! You need to write a book about motherhood…seriously. ;)

  • Bee is walking, how exciting! Forrest isn’t ready yet – still wants those fingers to hold on to. How do they pick up the “Dat?” anyway? We didn’t spend our days asking him “what’s that?” and yet he does the same thing as Bee – “Dat?” He isn’t satisfied until you name the think he specifically wants, either. These littles are just amazing.

    • Haaaaa TOTALLY. Forrest and Bee are twins. She gets so very angry when we don’t name the right thing, which means she KNOWS what the right word is, which means WHY is she asking again? Ha. These kids are nuts. :)

      • sometimes I get the feeling he’s 1) making sure I really do know the name of Dat, and 2) letting me know he’s watching… LOL

  • Ha, she’s speaking dutch allready?! Dat is the dutch word for ‘That’. Congratulations Bee for walking! Woohoo! And congartultions Erin for annoteer lovely letter.

    • Ha – I had no idea! That’s so funny!!! Babies really are bilingual! :) And thank you so much, sweet Liesbeth.

  • Ha, she’s speaking dutch allready?! Dat is the dutch word for ‘That’. Congratulations Bee for walking! Woohoo! And congartultions Erin for annoteer lovely letter.

  • Erin, you really should write a book. I purposely only check your site every couple of weeks so I can gobble up several weeks of Bee letters in one sitting. They truly capture what I’m thinking and feeling about my Penny (and my life as her mama) as she grows and changes.
    It even took my son pronouncing “crayon” as “crown” to realize that my husband pronounces it the same way. We’d already been together 10+ years and I never knew!
    Please tell me Bee’s letters will continue after her first year. I love them so.

    • Awwww I’ll do my best, and I so so so appreciate your kind words! Its been such a treat for me to process my shaping as a mother in this space. (And Penny is such a cute name!)

  • This is such a beautiful letter. It hits home too as my child is fascinated with trying to eat rocks and gravel and I don’t know. It absolutely made me feel a little better that I’m not the only one who has a messy head when it comes to things like that.

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