If you had told me six years ago that I would remarry and have more children, I would have taken a long drag on a cigarette and blown smoke in your face while laughing at you.
And yet, here I am, married to a man that is inexplicably the most perfect partner for me and we’ve got a one month old baby that has my husband’s forehead and my nose. And, much like the grinch, my heart actually grew bigger.
And it seems with each passing day, I learn more about this baby and grow to love him more, bit by bit.
I’m surprised, though, at the magic that is happening in my oldest son. I am watching him develop his first little tee-tiny daddy instincts. I can see the deeply rooted love and devotion he has for his brother. It’s clear that Harrison has never loved anyone as much as he loves Charlie.
And the happiness that brings me is almost too much to emotionally bear.
So this is a letter to my oldest son, to read when he’s older and remember this time.
For the longest time, it was you and me, seemingly, against the world. We always had a special bond, the kind that only mothers and sons can have. But we had more than just that.
When I was pregnant with you, unmarried and alone, I think I knew deep down we would be doing most of whatever we did alone. And when your father and I split up, days before your first birthday, I remember clinging to your little body as the reality of that solitude washed over me.
We spent many years struggling. There are entire pockets of your youngest days that I just do not remember. I was working so much — three jobs at once — and life was so hard. It was all I could do some months to keep the lights on and even then, sometimes I failed you.
But we had love. And we shared happiness, even in some really sorrowful days.
At the peak of our hardest days, I don’t remember dreaming about you growing up into a man. I don’t remember dreaming much at all. Every day was its own singular struggle. With gritted teeth and white knuckles, eventually we found our way out of the clutches of poverty.
And now, here’s this tiny baby. And here you are, cross with me because I won’t let you put on the sling and wear him, parading around to show your friends.
Here you are learning how to manage a screaming, inconsolable baby… Willingly.
When you are a grown man, will you remember that you slept on the floor of our bedroom for the first two weeks of Charlie’s life because you couldn’t bear to be away from him?
I will never, ever forget your 12 year old, prepubescent voice cooing into Charlie’s ear, “I’m right here, buddy. I’m right here.”
If I ever had any question about whether or not you knew how much I love you, I don’t anymore. Watching you fall in love with your brother has been the greatest accomplishment of my lifetime. Thank you for that.
I love you.