Dear Mom (or should I say Grandma? Have we decided what you want to be called?),
Your little girl isn’t so little anymore. I bet when I was locking my brothers out of my room and spending hours planning my next party, you could have never imagined the birth of my first child would come so quickly. Sure, you were constantly told how fast time would go (a sentiment that mostly made you gag at the time when you had four kids under the age of six). But as we all grew and this became truer and truer, you hoped somehow time would be kinder to you.
But, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. And, boy, did we have fun!
It’s hard not to have fun when I was surrounded by the three most awesome brothers. When they weren’t driving me crazy, they made me laugh harder than anyone.
We all loved to laugh. When you didn’t know I was watching, I saw how Dad made you laugh until you cried. I could not have known then how important a good daddy is. He took me on dates and told me how proud he was of me. I never doubted how much he loved me or how beautiful he thought I was. Because he told me everyday.
When I was entering my pre-teen years, I hugged you and thanked you for being a safe mom. You made our house a home, and there was no place I would rather be. You told me everyday how strong and important I am. I destroyed the house constantly with projects and ideas and new businesses I created…and you only complained once or twice. I knew when I cut my bangs twice in one year and you laughed it off that my creativity was safe with you.
Growing up in our home with our family is a gift I treasure.
But, Mom, it’s my turn. I get to be the mom now. And start my own family with my own inside jokes and my own traditions. There are some things I won’t know how to articulate for years to come, which is why you are writing this to yourself decades before this day actually arrives. I know there are things that you will want to remember but that thief of time will allow to fade.
Please remember, Mom, that this is all new to me. As I am holding my baby for the first time, you’ve been raising children for over one hundred years (cumulatively). You obviously know way more than me, but I still need to figure this out of my own. Please don’t roll your eyes at me when I say, “Times are different now, Mom. You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I am insecure and unsure and wondering if I have what it takes to raise this baby, and just like I’ve needed you in my corner so many times before, I need you now.
I need you to tell me that I am doing a really good job. It may take me weeks to realize I have to point a boy’s wiener down. Breastfeeding may not come as easily to me as it did you. But what I need from you more than anything is to hear you say I am a good mom. This eight pound little chubster makes me doubt that I am the strong and powerful woman you raised me to be. I have never felt more alone and more unsure than I do now. Please look me in eyes, give me a big hug, and remind me that I was handpicked to be my child’s mom. Because right now, I feel like the least qualified person on the planet to be responsible for human life.
Make me take a shower and a nap. Don’t ask. Don’t suggest. Take my baby and don’t give him back until I emerge from my room hours later with wet hair and less baggy eyes.
Then take that baby, hand him to Daddy, and fold my laundry. I will be trying too hard to impress my new husband to ask for help. Do not ask what you can do to help. Just do anything. I know you’re good at this, and I am too embarrassed to admit it doesn’t come as easily to me. Clean out my fridge. Cook dinner. Mop my floors. I may try to talk you out of it, but please do not listen to me. I have many, many days ahead to do this on my own. Right now, I need you to baby me while I hold my baby.
As the days go on, I will come to you for advice, to be sure. But please wait until I come. I know you are a woman who likes to fix things, and I know you probably have some great advice on how to get my baby to stop being so fussy. But, as I’ve said before, my husband and I are trying to figure this out on our own. Give us the chance to try. Call your best friend, if you must, and tell her how we are making everything much harder than it has to be. But when you talk to me, remind me that I am a really great mom. Because I am having a hard time believing it.
This letter is getting long, and my baby is beginning to stir. There is more I would like to say, but I can save that for a different day.
For now, I will close with this. Feel free to send cash. You may have forgotten how hard it is to make ends meet in these early days. A little extra cash may be the difference in paying our electric bill or not. Or if it’s a good month, it may mean we get to have a date night. Cash is always welcomed and appreciated.
Mom, I know I have so much to learn. And experience will be the best teacher of all. Today, as I hold my baby and tears are streaming down my face, just be there for me. I am not sure if I am overwhelmed. Or grateful. Or both. But I only need you to sit next to me and tell me until I believe it that I am a really good mom.
Chloe, in a couple of decades