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

Posts for letters to ariadne

A Three Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’m trying to write your third month letter today, since you’ll hit that milestone tomorrow – but I’m having a hard time. It’s been one of those days where I’ve miss you so much, I almost have to not think about you for a bit, just to make it through the day.

Three months, and we’ve hit the end of that “fourth trimester” – that first three months after you were brought earthside to meet us and be part of our family. The completion of the year it took to make you and grow you and birth you.  It almost feels like the end of a magic spell, this miraculous period of time in which you were a new, new baby soul, and we were your brand new, fresh parents.

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Which isn’t to say the newness and the magic have worn off– on the contrary, I think we’ve seen so much growth and change from you in the last month, since the last time I wrote, and I know our love for you has quadrupled every single day.

But now, in as you’ve hit three months, it’s quite evident you’re not a new newborn anymore. You’re still an infant, still a tiny little girl fresh and new in the world – but from appearance to personality, you’ve clearly moved out of the newborn phase.

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A Two-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

Just the other night, your papa said, man, she’s been here eight weeks. Just eight weeks.

Eight weeks felt like an eternity. Or I guess what I mean is, the actual time you’ve been here with us feels like an eternity. To say out loud, eight weeks, two months — those phrases sound like a short amount of time. An impossibly short time — surely, you’ve been with us forever? I remember my mom, your grandma Marmee Suh, saying to me while I was pregnant, once she’s born, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without her. You won’t be able to remember what it felt like to live life without her. It’s so true. It’s only been eight weeks — the blink of an eye in the grand scheme of years and decades. But now that you are here and we have spent a good chunk of time with you, I really can’t remember what life was like before you.

I suppose you could say some of the newness of having a baby is worn off.  I still have moments of that holy wonder and shock — this is my child, I made her, she belongs to me and I am  her mother. But they’re spread out through the day now. Every single moment isn’t a moment of wow, woah, how anymore. We’ve settled into our roles as mom and dad and daughter, and while your papa and I aren’t experts yet, we seem to have managed to learn how to take care of you well enough to the point where some (some!) of the time, it feels easy and familiar.

I am cherishing every minute I get with you these days. I will admit, there were a few days here and there, around weeks five and six, where I got a little — not burnt out, exactly. But I felt more comfortable in my mothering skills, and I’d had weeks of being home and taking care of you, and I took it for granted, a little. I set you down whenever I had the chance. I tried to buy a little extra time in bed snoozing before I got up with you. I still loved being with you and being a new mom — but I was happy to have my arms free, or get more accomplished during the day. And then it hit me that this maternity leave home with you won’t last forever, and I was coming to the final weeks home alone with you every day. I really thought about what it would mean to leave you with others for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Do my 40+ hours. I couldn’t imagine it. I’d known it was coming, all along, but I’ve been dreading going back to work after having you literally since I was pregnant.

I won’t focus on that now, because we still have some time left, and I want to enjoy every minute, instead of weeping off and on all day long like I did that day. After that day, I stopped taking this new mothering time for granted. I knew my time with you would be limited once I went back to work, and so the more menials tasks of taking care of you stopped seeming like chores. It is a privilege and a delight to rock you to sleep, even at four in the morning. I am lucky to have you fall asleep on my chest, and I spend even more time looking at you, drinking you in, stocking up all these memories for when I go back to work. I’ll be wearing those moments of bonding like armor as we all transition into this next stage together.

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A One-Month Letter to My Daughter

[Previously in this series…]

Dear Ariadne,

I’ll try to keep this short; first because you’re currently snoozing on your Boppy and these days, those snoozes can last for hours…or only five minutes, and it’s difficult to know which each time. And secondly, because I know by the time you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I suspect you’ll be bored or at least embarrassed by how much your mom has written about you throughout your life time, how wordy and emotional she tends to be.

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And when you’re old enough to read and understand these letters, I think you’ll be really familiar with a particular feeling that’s been coming to mind over and over again in this first month. It’s a feeling I think most teenagers and young adults feel for a good chunk of time. I remember feeling it in a variety of circumstances and intensities from college age up until maybe just the last couple of years, when it started to fade as I really truly started to feel like more of an adult and less of a kid.

It’s this feeling that we have as young adults that we want to be treated by adults. We want the older, adultier adults to recognize us as such. We are own people now, we can make our own decisions. We can choose our own paths and make our own mistakes. We don’t want to be forever tied to our parents and other family members — we love them, but we want to feel like our own person. We’re ready to cut the ties and go out into the world as individuals.

Since you’ve been born, people keep reminding me of how quickly you’re going to grow, how fast this precious infant stage is going to fade and be just a warm, pleasant memory. People keep telling me this like they’ve forgotten who they’re talking to — me, who is constantly nostalgic, constantly mourning the loss of the current zeitgeist. I am sentimental about the most mundane daily experiences, and as excited as I am for the future, I’m constantly thinking about the way things used to be, moments in the past, those little bubbles of perfection and imperfection that make up our lives.

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I know you’re going to grow, and fast. I can already tell from the way your precious little head, your big old noggin as I call right now, is getting bigger and filling out the length of my hand. I can tell from the way your cheeks have gotten a little chubbier and your beautiful belly a bit bigger. You’re still long and lean for a baby of your size, prompting your papa and I to ask where the hell you got that from, because the last thing either of us are is long or lean. But it’s a testament to how fast you’re growing — you can’t pack on the weight fast enough to get properly chubby yet, you’re just stretching out.

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A Letter to My Daughter

Dear Ariadne* –

Later, when you’re older, when you know me better as a person and not just as a spirit, your first home as you do now – you’re gonna hear that I had a hard time talking about you at first, and you’re going to think that’s insane. You’re going to think, Mama never shuts up. Mama never stops talking. Mama has advice and a story for every situation, there’s no way she could possibly have ever felt tongue-tied or at a loss for words. Hopefully, by the time you’re old enough to read and understand this, you’ll know that you, above all other things that exist in this universe, I could go on and on and on about you, that I will never ever stop talking about how wonderful you are – and so you’ll find it strange that before you arrived earthside, I struggled to talk about you.

It’s baffled me too. You, whom I wanted for so long. You, whom I have dreamed about for years. You, who every day grows stronger and bigger and more of a real person, a real little human, and less of a dream in the corner of my heart. Why is it that I clam up when it comes to expressing how I feel about you? Why is it that I want and I want and I want to write to you, and I barely can? Rarely, and even then, only with great effort and gentle cajoling.

I thought about it some, this past week or two. I thought about why. The truth is, all along, since your daddy and I found out we were expecting you – when I tried to think about writing to you, I felt this great, immeasurable, flood of nameless emotion. I call it nameless because it was too many things at once. Too many feelings to name, too much intensity to bear witness to for more than the few seconds I considered expressing all that, and then rejected it because it seemed too hard.

Me, who never has a problem expressing my feelings. This is me — and maybe I don’t have a ton of practical talents, but one of the few is definitely giving voice to emotion, to expressing not just how I feel but how other people feel. Capturing the intangible and leashing it down with specific phrases and examples. This is what I do, this is who I am – I talk about life and love and sorrow and joy and I find a way to express that which others struggle to.

And yet – when it comes to you, my darling, I often find myself at a loss for words. Because how do I express even the idea of you? I anticipated you and wanted you for so long, and then for so long I feared I wouldn’t ever get you. I still fear it, sometimes. I still sometimes think that you aren’t real, that this is a joke. That someone, at some point – the instant I really believe in you – will tell me I’m mistaken. Despite this big belly, the way you dance and wiggle all day long, making my stomach jump and twitch; despite hearing your strong, steady heartbeat week after week at the midwife’s, seeing your little face on a sonogram screen – I’m still scared someone will take you away from me. I’m scared to love you, because I’m afraid the instant I truly believe I am being gifted this opportunity to be a mother, that I am being trusted to bring you into this world – you will be taken away from me.

But week after week, we carry on. We are steady together, you and I. I jump at every chance to freak out. Little worries flit into my brain and dig themselves deep there, and blossom as little sprouts of anxiety. Yet we have been so lucky, so healthy, as I said – so steady. We have had almost nothing to worry about, really and truly. I can come up with one hundred thousand remote possibilities to worry about; if and it could happen – just ask your daddy and your Auntie Emi and your Auntie Laureny, bless them, who have had to talk me down off the ledge more than once. But those fears never ripen, they never come to fruition.

And so here we are, sitting pretty at 35 weeks. You have made my belly round and taut, and it pokes out of my tank tops and shorts at night. You kick and wiggle all day long, today you squirmed so much that I had difficulty eating my lunch, I could barely lean over to dip the spoon in the bowl because you wouldn’t stop moving.

Last week, at our midwife appointment, Candie said, we just want to keep her in there for at least two more weeks, but after that – if she does come, the efforts to stop labor are more invasive than the risks of letting her coming. Meaning – although we plan to let you cook up until 42 weeks if you’re happy and content and Candie’s fine with it – that in as few as two weeks (now one) – you could feasibly be with us.

Every day that passes, you are stronger and your brain is bigger and your lungs are heartier. Every day and week that passes from this point, you are more and more likely to be just fine, no issues, if you were born. Two weeks from when I’m writing this, you’re considered full term.

More often these days, my focus is on the reality of you. For all I have ordered you nursery furniture and washed all your little clothes and folded them, for all your baskets packed with socks and headbands and wash cloths – for all that work I have done, you have not seemed real. And now, with as few as two and at most, eh, sevenish weeks left – I must accept – you are real. You are happening. You are coming, and you are going to be our daughter.

There are a hundred million things I’d like you to know. There are a hundred million truths and lessons and kindnesses I’d like you to learn and experience. Sometimes, I worry more about how I am going to teach you about the goodness of the world despite its harshness than I worry about any other practical matter.

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