In thinking of this post I will be honest in that I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had written you a letter like this before on this very site. That there was another post called “Dear Son” and my search just now confirmed my suspicions; almost two years ago I wrote you a short letter on here, when you were just a chubby little baby, unable to walk or talk; when bedtime together was noteworthy and not nightly.
I know that since that post I have written many letters to you and sent them to the the email address that I made for you, and so “dear son” is not a new phrase for me to type on this keyboard, but I wanted to write a letter to you today, and you are, in fact, my dear, darling, precious boy; my dear son.
My eyes are wet as I type this. You are in the other room, playing sweetly, and I miss your little body, yearning to hold you. Yes, that is how far we have come.
“I saw a waterfall, mommy,” you said today, as I picked you up from day camp, in the soccer shirt that you have been wearing, at least at some point, every single day for a couple of weeks now. (side note: you have turned mommy into a laundry machine and I even felt the need to write your camp counselors a note that said, “I have to tell you that I am really a good parent and that his soccer shirt gets cleaned every day, but he insists upon wearing it and I am trying to pick my battles. I hope you don’t judge me!”) But it’s so you to fall in love with something passionately and not want to let it go. I cannot imagine from where you got that trait.
This photo above not only illustrates the soccer jersey story, but also says so much about your personality. Let me tell you the story behind this photo:
I hope with all of my might that whenever you are reading this post this next statement still holds true, but you and your big sister are the best of friends. You adore your “Bop” as you call her; while we wait for her bus to bring her home from day camp, you ask, “Where’s my Boppy Girl?” and I melt each time.
So, one night last week, while daddy was traveling, you kept sneaking out of your new big boy bed and out of your room and into your sister’s room so that you could spend more time with her before succumbing to sleep. As much as she loves you, even she got tired and wanted to go to sleep, and so I had to bring you back into your bed a dozen times, finally warning you that if you left your room again, I would have to close the door. You did not want that. And so, you smart little two-year-old punk, you won on a technicality here: you didn’t actually leave your room, but you still got to be as close as possible to your sister–to your Boppy girl. And you were so persistent (read: stubborn) that you slept like that. I hope that you are always this tenacious and that you always have this much love.
You and I have bonded so much recently and I cherish our close connection. Our love story did not start out so lovey, my dear son, and for that I am so sorry. I always loved you, but I was not the kind of mother I wanted to be for a very long time and I think that I will always feel guilty about that. I am not consciously trying to make up for that now in a forced way, as you make it easy and effortless to love you endlessly. Now, we snuggle together every night, we sing Broadway showtunes (you are so my kid), you ask me for kisses and I savor each one.
“Kiss my head. Now kiss my chin. Now kiss my mouth. Now kiss my elbow,” you say, and I am honored that you ask me to kiss you and that you give and receive love so beautifully.
You certainly worship your sister and you adore your daddy, but I think that we, you and I, have a special thing going, kid. When I leave the room, now, you ask for me. I am the one who can assuage your anxieties and from whom you want solace after a boo boo or disappointment.
And, again, I feel so incredibly lucky that you have given me this second chance, because I had it in me all along, and you must have seen it somewhere, because, if I am being totally honest, I did not.
I do not want to dwell on the negative, but I want to apologize to you for the fact that I was not always your number one, as I was with your sister and as I had hoped to be.
I am sorry that I was not the one to soothe you to sleep as you transitioned to your crib. I am sorry that I do not even know how that happened. I am sorry that I do not remember what we gave you to eat as your first food. I am sorry that I had to leave you for a little while in order to try to take care of my own health. I am sorry that I did not take you on long walks in the stroller because I have not been allowed to take long walks for two years. I could go on and on and on, but the tears are making it hard to type.
I am so proud of the strong, resilient boy you have become. I am so proud of how you face challenges with bravery and strength. I am so proud that you can recognize and identify a song from it’s very first note. I am so proud of your empathy (as you ask your sister, “You happy, Bop?” if you catch her not smiling). I am so proud of you for being the kind of person who gives others a second chance, because that is what you did for me. For us.
I love you, baby. I love all of our special moments, many of which I will keep to myself so that I can tell you later as a secret between just the two of us.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
And if you ever look back at my story, one that I have made public before you gave me the consent to do so, do not for one minute think that I ever loved you any less; love, I have written about you because I love you more.
With mad love, soccer jerseys, notebooks and songs from Hamilton,
I will love you forever. Or, as you say, “Up to the moon and staws.”