My dearest Bo,
Today you are 18 months old. Another three months has passed. We are both three months older and we have three more months of stories and love and life that we have shared. You are stomping your way into your toddler years, leaving your babyhood far behind you. You don’t look back, you don’t need to.
Tonight I fed you to sleep, as I always do, after reading you many stories. Every time we finished the final page of a book you would say, ‘ta en’ (the end) and then look at me with those enormous eyes of yours and say ‘more?’ Tonight instead of rushing through bedtime as I often do at the end of the day, I sat with you and we read. Then I fed you and held you close to me. I didn’t browse the internet on my phone. I didn’t work. I just held you and watched you breathe. I just held you close. When you fell asleep I didn’t rush to put you down in my mad dash for the freedom of personal space and a couch and my choice of shows on the television. Instead I just sat with you. Holding you while you slept. Taking in ever detail of your beautiful face in the dark of your bedroom. I just sat with you, loving you.
I remember waking up with you in the hospital for the first time. A tiny little infant nestled in the crook of my arm, both of us balanced on my single hospital bed. I remember looking down at your face then and feeling such a wave of emotion pouring over me. I remember wondering what I did before I had you in my arms. I remember thinking, here we are, exactly where we are meant to be, at last. I was never scared of how you would change me. But I had no idea how much you would. It was as if my life were a cloudy day and you were the sun, breaking through the clouds, shedding light on the world and making me see everything with fresh eyes. The change was so intense it’s as if everything that came before you was a dream… like the person I was before I was your mother wasn’t me at all, but someone I once knew. A long lost friend, perhaps. You have changed the way I see my world and you have changed the way I see myself. You did it then, that first morning and you did it to me again tonight as I held you relaxed, cheeks flushed, arms and legs all over my lap. You reminded me what life is. What love is. What the point of all this is.
The point is not having a clean kitchen or making money or washing floors or folding washing or or any of those things that I try to get done every day. All of those things that come between us. They are part of life, but they aren’t the point. Love, my darling. Love is the point. Life is nothing if not the love of the people that you surround yourself with.
I hope you always live life with the vigour and power that you live life right now. I hope you will always greet people with a smile and a hello, with an open heart and no judgement in your eyes. I hope you will always laugh at your own jokes and sing when you are happy. I hope you are always kind, because kindness my darling is the most important thing of all. I hope you are always honest, because lies do nothing for your soul or your friendships.
I will always love you. No matter who you become. No matter the choices you make. No matter what you choose to study (or not study), no matter where you choose to live or who you choose to love. I will always love you for who you are.
I am not perfect. I have many flaws and failings as both a human being and as a parent. But I love you. I love you with a ferocity that will never fade and I will protect you with every ounce of my being, always. I will hold you when you cry and I will try hard to understand when to step in and when to step back. I will continue to find joy in discovering who you are as you grow and change and turn into the person you are destined to be, and I will continue to do my best to be what you need me to be.
I may have nurtured you as you grew inside me, I may have been the one who gave you life on your birthday 18 months ago. But you are the one who gives life to me… every day. And for that my beautiful daughter, I am forever grateful.