Dear Penny: Our First Mother’s Day

Dear Penny,

Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a special day every year, of course, as we honor and celebrate the mothers in our lives. But as this one is my first as a mother myself, well, I think it goes without saying that Mother’s Day 2018 has a particular significance for you and me, kiddo.

I have had the extraordinary honor of being your mother for eight months, and simultaneously I can’t believe it’s already been so long — the time has utterly flown by! — and also that it’s only been so long, since it feels like you have been part of me for forever.

It’s a little bit strange to say that, actually, since I used to have a pretty difficult time picturing myself as a mother. I mean, I’ve always loved babies, and I love your cousins, and of course I love your fur-brothers. And your daddy and I knew we probably would want to have a (human) child someday, but when I really thought about me? As a mother? Someone’s actual, real-life mom?? I just couldn’t see it.

And then I became pregnant with you, and suddenly it didn’t really matter whether or not I could envision it: this was happening. I was going to be responsible for an entire life. I was going to have a tiny human of my very own. I was going to be a MOM. (And honestly, I sometimes still can’t truly believe that I am one.)

Now, I’m a wordy person. I mean, clearly, right? I love words. I use them multitudinously and often. I’m the kind of gal who talks aloud to herself, sings along, and doodles words instead of pictures. I already think you may have gotten this from me, what with your love of babbling and already genius-level mastery of consonants. But honestly, when I try to come up with a way to express just how purely, deeply, and completely in love with you I am… words fail me.

I’ll try the best that I can, but I honestly don’t think I possess the words needed to adequately capture the sheer breadth and depth of my love for you. Everything about you is magic. All things are more fun now that you’re here. I live to watch you experience the world anew. I delight when you experience joy; my heart breaks when you’re sick or in pain.

People tell you that you can’t truly understand love until you become a mother yourself. Sure, sure, whatever, I thought. How pompous. After all, I had so much love in so many areas of my life, it was almost offensive to suggest that I didn’t, or couldn’t, understand what love is.

But, see, I don’t think anyone tells you that to diminish the love you already feel. It’s more like, they tell you in an attempt to prepare you. Because for me, having now had you, I can  say it does pretty much hold true. I love you more than I thought it was possible to love anything.

And I mean, it’s not like I suddenly loved any of the other people in my life — your dad, your Grampy & PoPo, your Aunt Jenny or your Uncle Ben, your cousins or Harry or Daxter or the rest of our family or any of my friends or any of the other truly wonderful, special people I am blessed to know — any less. In fact, just like The Grinch, my heart simply grew three sizes the second you entered my world. And it’s a love that’s just a little bit different with you.

I love you in a visceral, instinctual, part-of-me kind of way. I mean, what else explains how much I miss you — actually miss you — when you are asleep merely a floor beneath me?

The days are long but the years are short, they tell me. Well, we haven’t quite reached our first year yet, but I already know the second part of this statement to be true. I am confounded by how big you’ve grown, how much you’ve changed from the itty bitty little thing I held in my arms that very first night.

I know you won’t always be so little. I know you won’t always want to curl up in the crook of my arm, that you won’t always look around for me when you’re unsure of something, that your face won’t always light up simply by me walking into view. That’s why I’m so grateful that I’m able to document my motherhood journey here on this very blog, to help me remember it all. Even though just eight short months have passed, I know I have already forgotten so much. I strain to recall the sound of your first fierce little cry, the way I held my own breath until I heard it.

Having you has made me a better person. You make me care more deeply about the people in my life. You help me take notice of everything happening around us — to want to celebrate the goodness, mourn the sadness, get incensed over the senselessness in the world. You make me want to take action, to make an effort, to make a change so that this world becomes better for you.

 
And, of course, you make me appreciate my own mother — your PoPo — so, so, so much. I understand her sacrifices, her commitment, and her unconditional love better and more deeply everyday. And even though I know I rarely show it as much or as well as I should, I’m so grateful for her — and thankful for the relationship you’re able to have with her, too.

 
Penelope, thank you for making me a mother. Thank you for making me your mother. Motherhood is an emotional, incredible, wonderful, unpredictable, unbelievable, beautiful ride. I love you so much.

All my love, always,

Mommy

Dear Penny: Happy Due Date!

Dear Penny,

Happy due date, Princess! It’s hard to believe that you weren’t originally supposed to have joined us out here in the world until today — or possibly even later! Just thinking about not having had you around this entire time makes me want to cry — I fell in love with you so instantly, so completely. It’s like we’ve gotten three bonus weeks with you, and as cliche as it is to say, they really have been the best (most sleep-deprived, but best!) weeks of our life.

The circumstances surrounding having to bring you out early may have thrown us for a loop at the time, but getting to see you, hold you, hug you, and love you all this extra time has been the greatest gift your dad and I could’ve asked for. We feel like we’ve won the jackpot with you: you’ve adapted to life on the outside so well, and while each day is, of course, challenging in different ways (and while we know things could easily change, hehe), you are still such a good baby. You sleep like a pro through barking schnauzers and constant Scrubs reruns alike, you nurse easily and are growing like a fiend, and I never thought I’d be so happy talking about poop as much as I do these days (because you do that a little too well!)

I know I complained a lot while I was pregnant with you, but I can definitively say that every bout of nausea, every ache, and every pain was worth it. I would give up marinara sauce 1000 times over for you, that’s for sure. And while I haven’t completely forgotten about the pains of my pregnancy just yet, the pain of childbirth itself has already almost disappeared from memory (having been replaced by the pain of putting my retainer back in last night, after forgetting to wear it for an entire week. #mombrain). You’re just that awesome!

Suffice it to say, you’ve brought us so much joy in your three short weeks of life. I’m officially eating my words from when I used to say that I wouldn’t be one of those annoying moms who is overly obsessed with her baby and who posts nothing but baby photos, because, kiddo, I am so obnoxiously, annoyingly, absolutely, utterly obsessed with you.

Here’s to you, little one!

All my love,
Mom