I’ve recently joined a blog circle with 15 other talented women who are writing monthly letters to their children as a personal photography project. My own goal with this project is to capture and really document all of the things I am feeling for Ben, my new son, in these first months of his life. With my daughter, Elodie, in some ways I was very focused in her first months — she was our only child, my first baby, and we absolutely poured our lives into her care and no small detail went unnoticed. With a second child, it’s much easier to pass over some of the nuances of babyhood, so I want to be very intentional about capturing our everyday in words and photos. I am taking a longer maternity leave from my full-time day job (6 months) in order to really bond with Ben. Elodie will join us at home in a couple of months’ time, but for now it is just Ben and me.
Only two weeks in, and my heart is so full of you. I didn’t think it was possible for my heart to grow enough to love you as I’ve loved your sister (something every parent fears), but it should have been obvious that somehow my heart could accomodate the whole of your tiny body and soul. Every wiggly smile and searching desperate grab of yours warms me in a way that feels brand new. The makeup of your life right now is eating and pooping and sleeping and cuddling, and I am a happy observer and provider of all of these things. I love that you love to cuddle. I love nursing you, even if this is something you’ll read later and cringe to hear, it bears noting the way that you nurse with such utter dependence and trust. I’m amazed by how connected we feel already, and maybe that’s because I knew to expect the typical baby horrors of diapers and spit-up, but didn’t realize clearly enough how wonderful you would be.
This month you have successfully navigated as much of this world as we’ve thrown at you. You accept so graciously the constant pokes and hugs from your big sister, even when her fingers are cold and sticky, and you are ever enduring when I strip you down for your near-daily photo sessions. You are healing and developing well since leaving the hospital, nine and a half pounds of warmth that you’ve quickly grown to.
Our favorite moments together when I think we’re both happiest are generally first thing in the morning, or perhaps during our deeply mid-night time together. When you eat, when I hold you after you’ve drifted off to smiley half-sleep again, in the moments before Dad comes and gently carries you back to your crib or to change your diaper. You are so sweet, so vulnerable, so soft. We don’t do as well together in the late afternoons, when you are a bit fed up from the day and you act with a bit of a vengeance, needier, with no room for caresses or reflection — after brief bouts of rest you return and return and return in clusters. I love you through those times but they exhaust me and I feel powerless.
I’m looking forward to every new step you take. I don’t tend to be overly nostalgic for the past anymore, because I find that my relationships with your dad and sister evolve in ways that fill me too completely to long for the past. So even though I will never, ever hold you when you are quite so tiny or quite so gently needy, I will always love you, Ben.
To read more letters to our children, as written by the other mothers in our circle, click through to Kristy Dooley Photography and her blog. Keep clicking through until you make it back here to read all of our letters.