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“You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis

Posts for Letters to Ariadne Category

A Twelve Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Well, here we are. Your twelve-month, one year letter.

It’s late, admittedly. Very late – the tardiest of all your monthly birthday letters since you’ve been born. I could list of a variety of excuses, our busy schedules, the lack of free time to let go and just write – but the truth is, I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write this last of your letters from your first year.

I had an opportunity here and there to open up a blank document and type, to at least start writing and figure out where to go as I went along. Once or twice, I swore I had the angle, the message figured out, and I just needed to sit down and let the words spill out. But I haven’t, until now, and the reason is, mostly – I’m not certain what all to say.

Or rather, perhaps – I’m not certain I can fit the wealth of emotions I feel at your one year birthday into just one single letter. How do I cram the longest, shortest, most challenging, most emotional, most taxing, most rewarding year into one digestible letter?

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I thought about this often, in the evenings. As I got you ready for bed and sat with you in your rocking chair, I tended to think about this letter and what I’d like to say to you to celebrate your birthday. I find it hard not to get reflective, in the evenings, when your day is winding down. I sit with you in my lap, in our rocker, and you have some milk, and then we nurse, and your eyes start to get heavy, your blinks longer. Your free hand scrabbles for my hair, my shirt, my necklace, whatever you can reach to anchor you as you slip towards dreamland. The light from your windows fades from deep amber to blue-ish, and shadows pass across the rug.

I would sit, and we would rock, and I had to think about how many hundreds of bedtimes we have done together before, and how many more to come. I would think about the many ways that bedtime has changed, for us. When we first came home from the birth center, we all pretty much lived out of the den. I found getting out of bed in the middle of the night difficult, at first, and so I slept on the couch, back on the days of those three hour stretches, easier to get up and rejoin the real world from my exhausted sleep. And then you were sleeping in your cosleeper, then the canopy of your pack-n-play. There were all the many, many nights your papa and I bounced you to sleep, all the many, many nights I nursed you to sleep – waiting, and waiting, and urging myself to be patient and not rush you to fall completely and deeply asleep so I might set you down. I remember all those little transitions, trusting you first to sleep not in one of our arms, but in a cosleeper or a pack-n-play – then to sleep alone in your nursery – then that bigger transition to crib.

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An Eleven Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

My darling, you are eleven-months old – you’re still my little baby, but you’re on the cusp of becoming a big one-year-old girl, my little toddler. Every day, it seems you are more and more a little girl, and a little tiny bit less a baby. It is, as this journey has been the entire time, both lovely and heartbreaking to watch.

At eleven months, you are a fiery little girl, full of personality. You have been particular and sensitive since the day you were born, and that hasn’t changed a bit. You want things – clothes, food, activities, comfort – to be just so, and anything less is unacceptable. I remind myself this will be a good quality to have, when you’re older, picking out dates or clothes or jobs or colleges. Right now – it’s a little exhausting. You are so sensitive, so easily touched by the people and energies, the sounds and smells around you. All I can do is grin, a little chagrined, and say, I wonder where on earth she got that from?!

Also, we have this new cute dress from the Farmer's Market.

You are very clever, finding loopholes to the boundaries Papa and I create for you, mimicking our actions and sounds, and grinning with pleasure when you succeed. You are cheerful, for the most part – I swear, I don’t know any other baby who laughs as often and with such gusto as you do. You delight in being delighted. You laugh, and then you give a little grin, a little check-in glance to Papa or me, that was funny, wasn’t it? I’M funny.

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A Ten Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

I know I could get up and go put her down in her crib, have some hands-free time to read or write or at least fold laundry -- but she passed out so sweetly after a bath and eating, and Fellowship of the Rings is on TV, and I've got a footstool under my feet. After all the running around we've been doing the past few days, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.

Dear Ariadne,

About a month and a half ago, you and I were at our friends the Hensels’ new house. You and I drove out to see it for the first time — you cried the whole way. I got maybe 15 minutes of fart noises and coos, and then that devolved into 20 minutes of irritated-at-still-being-in-the-carseat cry.

But — we wound down a long country road, pulled in, you calmed. Smiled at everyone, waved. We settled in for a long visit where you played with (erm near) Norah in the floor. She made up stories with your toys, she had a princess who was baking strawberry pies for you and me to sample. We ate haphazardly in that way only friends-who’ve-become-family can — sprawled out here, there, everywhere.

Man, I really love this age, your Uncle Travis said, somewhere around nine or ten months, suddenly, it’s like they’re a little person, and they can interact with you and you can figure out how to make them happy.

Nope, I said, shaking my head. Disagree. This age has been really hard for me.

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A Nine Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

My sweet Ari Grey, you are a big girl.

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There are always these moments, in parenting, especially in the first year – these moments that hit you like a truck, slamming into you. Even though you’ve seen your child day in and day out, watched her like a hawk, observed every tiny thing she did or said or ate or tried to eat when you weren’t looking (pine needles, grass) – yet somehow, suddenly, your child seems so big. So much noticeably, exponentially bigger than even a day before. How could it happen that quickly? we ask ourselves. How can there be such a huge change, overnight?

I had that moment, last week. Every day, I drink in your babbling and your wriggling and how dirty or clean you are, how much you’ve eaten, how much you’ve slept – and still, one afternoon, sitting on your quilt with you, watching you scramble and wriggle trying to get – my cell phone, the remotes, Kitty’s bunny tail, anything you weren’t supposed to touch, I had that moment – wow, she is such a big girl, suddenly she is so much bigger and more developed, and how did this happy so quickly?

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An Eight Month Letter to My Daughter

[previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I am behind on writing and posting your eight-month letter, as I have been behind on everything this past month. Your papa and I have been late or not caught up on just about every task and project this month.

And you know what? It’s completely intentional, for once.

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I realized, in this last month, we needed to slow down. Everyone needs that reminder, once in a while. It’s so easy to get caught up in our long, long lists of things we need to accomplish, never-ending tasks that we cycle through over and over again. We get so engrossed in obligation and duty and responsibility. We are trick ponies, making our jumps and running the course, aiming to do everything as quickly and neatly as possible.

But – it’s impossible. The course is never done, our lives never stop being busy and requiring so much of us. We can push and push and push ourselves, but there’s no magical day when the laundry stops being dirty and then clean and then needing to be put away. There’s no day that we won’t need groceries or gas or to mow the lawn. It keeps coming, and the more we rush, the less we are living; the more we are becoming robotic – the more we are missing the point of living by trying so hard to cross things off our to-do lists.

To live is to feel life, is to find empty spaces in between the Must Dos, and take advantage of that space, that time. To take advantage of those empty spaces and push at our boundaries, to allow ourselves to be still in those moments and not hassle ourselves to fill them with another activity, another responsibility.

Your papa and I were caught up in that whirlwind of go-go-go, do-do-do. I (as usual) was mostly to blame as I tend to chart my success in life based on how much I’ve accomplished each day. It’s as if I need a concrete list to prove to myself that I’ve done enough, been the best person I could.

It took me a little while to realize it – but our evenings started to feel so rushed. We were in a hurry, your papa and I, and we were rushing you. I didn’t realize it until I was journaling one evening – your papa was at work, you were asleep in your bed, and I had a few minutes to sit and think and write out my thoughts.

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