A Letter to Maisy: I Forgive You

Written in September 2017.

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Dear Maisy

You amaze me.  You have a knack for picking up on the most important of life lessons with ease, sometimes without much coaching from me.  One day I said “I forgive you” to you instead of “it’s ok” or the like.  I chose “I forgive you” that day because I did want to teach you that concept and I also understood that because you are so much like your daddy that those words would become very important to you.  That first time struck a chord and I never even had to explain the meaning of the phrase.  You simply understood.  And, just like I suspected, you have needed those words ever since.

Tonight, when tucking you in to bed, we were talking about your day.  My new favorite question to ask is “what did you like about today?”  You animatedly listed off your favorite things when suddenly your arm randomly flew at my face and your finger poked me so hard in the eye that my contact popped out.  I said “owe” while wincing at the pain of the blow.  You kept saying sorry but I didn’t register the repetition until I was already making my way out of your bed.  You said, “Mommy, do you forgive me?”  I said yes, the told you I’d be right back after I fixed my contact.

You have been saying “Mommy, do you forgive me?” for every one of your offenses, big and small, ever since.  Your need to be forgiven and to hear it explicitly stated as such strikes me hard in the pit of my heart.  There’s an innocence to your request and this indescribable purity and beauty to it that leaves my heart only aching every time.  Each time you utter that phrase I’m equal parts sad and proud at the same time.  I’m so proud of your heart and how you naturally grab on to the heart of God at every turn.  I pray that the question isn’t a sign that you think you’re beyond forgiveness but that you simply need to hear that you’re not.  I pray you say it every time not because you doubt my love for you in those moment but that you simply need the fullness of the reconciliation that comes with those words.  But, most of all, I pray I can adequately show you I will always forgive you.

With all my heart,

Mommy

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A Letter to Penny: Stubbornly Picky

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Dear Penny,

Some months ago we met the challenge of getting you to eat people food.  Ok, not to be too dramatic here, you gladly ate mac n cheese, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, yogurt, cheese,  and berries.  But other foods jumped off your menu and when something undesirable landed on your plate you would either abruptly push the plate away or start crying.  No matter how hungry you were, you refused to eat.

I’m stubborn enough to persist with my meal offerings even though you were a walking whine all afternoon for weeks on end.  Why am I so stubborn?  Because I love you too much to raise you to be a picky eater.  It is my understanding and belief that by letting you be picky now may result in a lifetime of picky eating habits and any number of health issues due to poor nutrition.  We eat a diverse diet to provide the variety of vitamins and nutrients we need to be as healthy as we can be.  Lastly, and most importantly, even though there were days I was worried you weren’t getting enough to eat, I could rest in the truth that any calories you missed during meal time you were making up via breastfeeding or via your sippy cup full of a combination of almond milk and heavy cream.

I’m so thankful I didn’t cave during this picky season in order to have an afternoon of peace.  Now you are back on board with eating anything I put in front of you.  Are there times when you choose not to eat?  Absolutely.  But there is nearly always a way to coax you into trying what I’ve made for dinner and enjoy, at least, pieces of it.  I’m rooting for your healthy and nutritious future!

Proud of you,

Mommy

A Letter to Penny: You Will Always Be My Baby

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Dear Penny,

On February 5, I found out I was pregnant.  I’m thankful that my thoughts didn’t immediately go to you because you are my bittersweet part of this puzzle.  But, come evening, I see you grinning at me from across the room and my heart sinks a little for the thought of what having this baby will mean for your feelings.

When Baby comes, things will have to change, you’ll have to become more independent.  When you came along, it tore my heart apart having to push Maisy aside whenever your needs were greater than hers.  To her, I was her everything so that part of sisterhood was heart crushing to her.  She adored me and you through it all, but it was so hard seeing her sad little heart learn how to adjust.  With Maisy I so badly wanted to preserve our fierce bond to each other, that she wouldn’t feel shafted or pushed to the side.  With you I so badly want to preserve the joy you are to me.  I’m worried you’ll crash spiral into a very broken, sad baby.  I hope and pray that that it won’t feel to either of us like I have to give up one baby, you, to make way for the new baby.

Just know I love you with a joy I can’t describe and that I’m going to fight to keep that alive, even when you’re struggling with sharing me.  I have wholeheartedly adored every moment of babyhood with you.  You are an incredible joy and wonder to my heart.  You make every day sunny and full of life.  You’re are easygoing, considerate, smart, and so easy to love.

I love you like crazy,

Mommy

A Letter to Maisy: Playing Favorites

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Easter Sunday 2018 egg “tie dye” painting!

Dear Maisy,

I remember when your sister was first born and I loved her with this tender, sweet love.  For the longest time I struggled with feeling like I loved you more just because I loved you passionately and with a certain ferocity.  I thought I was subconsciously playing favorites and that you were winning.

And now I find myself I struggling with feeling like the tables have turned.  I love Penny with the same tender sweet love and it’s this deep warm glow that hugs my heart all day long and lights up my face so many times a day.  I love you with the same passionate, ferocious love but most days it feels like a scary fire rather than a cozy one to get warm by.  I’ve come to realize that our personalities are different in some key ways that leave us at odds with each other and yet simultaneously ferociously in need of each other.

Why does it feel like the tables have turned?  I’ve realized it has more with your personality at this age.  You are quick to whine and scream.  You are often slow to obey.  You seem to be at constant odds with my wants and desires, like you have to push back even if it’s something so minor.  There’s arguing at every turn.

Even with all this though, my reflections on the way I felt in the first paragraph versus the second, it becomes glaringly obvious that it is not at all that I love one of you more than the other, it’s simply that each love feels so different. Penny, brings about a peace in me.  Maisy, you make me a better person, you refine me.  The reality is that every mom has a different relationship with every child.  That may mean I find it easier to relate to Penny than to you, and that’s ok!  That may also mean I may sometimes find it easier to relate to you than to Penny, and that’s ok too!  All I want you to know is you are intensely loved by me and nothing can change that.  I want you to feel secure in my love and that we can always be open with each other.  I think that will be key for our relationship in order for us to understand each other.

I love you like crazy!

Love,

Mommy

A Letter to Penny: An Attempt at Roomsharing

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Dear Penny,

We spent a warm and sunny week in Arizona and I was so impressed by you and Maisy sleeping so well even with all three of us girls in one room that I chose to keep the room-sharing going when we got home.  I loved the week we spent trekking up to Maisy’s room together, reading books in bed with you in my lap, and tucking you into your big girl bed and hearing you say “nigh night” as I left the room.  But after a week I realized the resulting sleep wasn’t good enough.  In your crib in your room you typically sleep all night long, from 7pm – 6:30am.  In our shared room experience you typically woke every 2 hours (settling yourself, but still, waking me) and then attempting to wake for the day at 5am.  I don’t understand the point of sacrificing any sleep when I know there’s a way that lends both of us a better night’s rest.  So, even though I’d love to have you share a room with your big sister one day, simply because I like the byproducts that come with it like respecting each others space and the closeness that comes with roommates, that day doesn’t have to be right now.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way it’s that it’s best to only choose the battles I have to.  Why fight this sleep fight when I know we can make it work for you to have your own room, even when the new baby arrives?  Then when you are old enough to hold to the same expectations we hold Maisy to we can try this room-sharing thing again.  One day you will be old enough to enter that wonderful toddler sleeps-like-a-rock-phase and you won’t be so easily woken by the sleep stirrings of your sister in the top bunk.  One day you will be old enough to expect you to stay in your room until 6:30 like your sister.  One day is not today and that is perfectly fine.  I was honestly sad to see your cute little self snuggled into a big girl bed anyways.  I was sad not to have you just across the hall in the nursery.  I’m not ready for you to grow out of being my baby and I guess you weren’t either.

Forever yours,

Mommy