My Dear Children,
The days will eventually come when you will think that your dad and I are systematically trying to ruin your lives. You will roll your eyes and shake your proverbial fists at the heavens, because we will say all the clichés like That shirt leaves no room for the imagination! and No, you cannot go to THAT party! and you will wonder how it is that we could hate you so much.
But you need to know that my love for you is deep. It is overwhelming.
I know this because I will be driving by myself, and I will see an ambulance, or a train, or maybe even a tractor go by and I will think Oh! I wish Owen could have seen that. I know it in the moments that you are asleep, Owen, and a squirrel sits perched on our backsteps, so close to the door, and I think briefly about waking you up so that you could watch it with me because I know you would hyperventalate with joy. This is the love I have for you.
I know this love, Elsa, in your cries. They are rare and brief, and so the other night, when you cried for hours in high-pitched pain after getting a couple of vaccines, I cried too. I made myself breathe deeply, trying to be calm for both of us, inhaling and exhaling prayers of relief for you. And as I looked into your worried eyes, I had a moment that I knew, with utter certainty, that if I could trade places with you and take all of that pain, I would. This is the love I have for you.
I know this love in the surprising moments. It is the love that makes me pull the car over. I hear you in the back seat, Owen,
“I love dogs!”
“I love Duke!”
“I love Mama!”
It is the first time you’ve said this, unprompted. And I pull over to the side of the road because I’ve teared up and mostly because I just want to remember this moment forever. So I stop, and I look fully at you and I look at the trees on the side of the road, and I am overwhelmed by love for you.
I know this love as I stare into your beautiful blue eyes, Elsa. It is 8:15 a.m., and you have explosively pooped through two new diapers; I have changed both of our outfits once due to spitup, and all of this with very little coffee in me as your brother runs around the house like a drunken troll hellbent on making all of the noise. You lay on the changing table, your arms and legs wiggling, and you smile at me, looking directly in my eyes, and I am overwhelmed by love for you.
My babies, you both have taught me anew what love is. And my heart is fuller than it’s ever been. I don’t always get it right. I sigh far too often, There are moments that all I want is ten minutes to myself, and I fantasize what a walk around the block alone would be like.
But the truth is that I love you both tremendously.
I hope you always know that.