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  • Writer's pictureElise Rhodes

A Heartfelt Letter to My Son (and Myself)

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

Dear Baby Boy,

I’ve never known a love like this and I never want to know another love like this. You have changed my view on life, my view of myself, the biological underpinnings of my body and my all wonderful ways. You have allowed me to find my voice, explore my strengths, grow my compassion (not that I feel I needed any more). You have allowed me to be kinder to myself in moments that I’m not so proud of, have allowed me to find my purpose, and have allowed me to reflect on the beauty and simplicity of this world in times of what seem like utter chaos: yes, little one, I feel the morning sun on my cheek, I see that robin and her babies in that nest there, and I hear the cicadas' symphony-thank you for reminding me what life is about.

I also have never known grief like this. It’s a strange feeling to feel so much love and comfort with you right here in my arms and at the same time, have immense sorrow and fear over the idea that you will not be this small, this cuddly, this in need of my warmth, my heartbeat, and my voice in the near future.

So this moment, the one right here and right now, cannot be missed because you are growing at such a wild rate, that tomorrow will look differently. This is my time to take in every smell, every touch, every sound that I hear with you in my arms.

So I try to be in the present moment with you, but thoughts creep in about work, about laundry, about relationships, and I find myself upset that I can't fully embrace every aspect of you and our time together even when the calm of the night has gifted us this time together.

I think I know the reason why it's so difficult though: when I’m only with you, when I am reflecting on every facet of my experience with you in this very moment, I am suddenly overcome with gut-wrenching, anticipated nostalgia, which is too painful to feel.

So, I waiver.

I waiver between being completely present with you--running my thumb over the bridge of your nose, feeling the warmth of your forehead on my lips that hesitate to part with you (because if they part, I can anticipate deep regret during your next stage of independence)--and between running a to-do list in my head when it becomes too much to bear because at least I feel I have some control in this uncertain and anxiety-inducing world.

So when this happens, instead of avoiding the reality of my emotions, I'd like to notice with compassion that although inevitable grief is to come, I will be able to handle it. Because, once I recognize my strength, my ability to cope, I'm able to come back to this very moment with you without fear. I can enjoy your sweet moans, the weight of your whole body in my forearms, and the pure love and safety we feel when rocking back and forth together.

With the utmost love and vulnerability,

Your Mama

(To all you mamas out there struggling with the push and pull of emotions, I understand.)

Mother holding baby in arms


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