I can’t believe my first-born is turning two. Like you, I’m sure, I constantly ask myself: where does the time go?
My life has made a 360 since becoming a mom. I am no longer waking up at 2:30am to report on the morning news; instead, my days are full of not missing any firsts, having become a proud and blessed work at home mom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My first-born, Nicholas, is now an older brother. I look at him and wonder how he has morphed into such an independent little boy.
My husband now puts Nicholas to bed—I’m consumed with nursing my second, an adorable 6 month old. I miss Nicholas though; I rocked him to bed for a good year, and now those days are a mere memory. My four-pound preemie who was once my only sidekick has become a thriving toddler—curious, sweet, and strong-willed.
I can’t help but reflect on the letter I wrote Nicholas when he was one month old. I am sharing it with my fellow moms, especially my fellow NICU moms. It is an excerpt from my book, Expecting Perfect: My Bumpy Journey to Mommyhood, my completely candid pregnancy journal from my pregnancy with Nicholas. Please read with a kind, open heart.
September 12th, 2013
Dear Nicholas Michael,
I was up in the air about how to end this pregnancy journal, so I thought it fitting to write you a letter. Originally, I wanted to write you a letter before you were born, but you surprised us early, so I inevitably had to surrender that plan. Therefore, I am writing you today; today you are one month old.
Right now, we are both on the bed. It’s 9:07 a.m., just 7 minutes before you born four weeks ago. You are sleeping so beautifully—your lips are puckered and perfect and your entire body is at ease. I cannot get myself to separate from you.
I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for my first-born and becoming a first time mom. Since the moment you were born, nothing else in the world mattered. I have ignored many phone calls, let the laundry sit in the dryer, and refrain from doing my hair and make-up every day because I don’t want to miss a second by your side. I choose to hold you rather than put you in your bassinet, as frustrating as that makes daddy. I even swaddle you next to my side overnight so I can hear you breathe. You may as well be glued to my hip. I made daddy get you a swing, but now that it’s nicely set up, I wish we didn’t have it. I don’t like any concoction that takes my arms away from snuggling you.
You come from such love, Nicholas. I always want you to know that. Your father and I love one another very much, which is why we both have no greater love than you. You are our creation—our miraculous, magical child. There will be times, I’m sure, that you’ll question our love, but know everything we do is always in your best interest. There will also be times, I’m sure, that you question the people we are. However, please know your daddy and I will always try the best we can. We’re new at this whole parenting thing, and as two perfectionists, we’ll feel like failures if we’re not flawless. So, from time to time, give us a break, and remember how much we love you.
You are the most peaceful child in the world. I will likely say this a million times in your life, but it’s amazing you came out the way you did, considering the whirlwind of the pregnancy we had. I might be jinxing myself, but you rarely cry. (And when you do, it’s for a good reason.) You fit so perfect in any snug position I choose; I particularly love skin-to-skinning you on my chest. (The infamous NICU “kangaroo” position.) I like that best because you can feel my heartbeat, and in turn, I can feel you breathe as I nuzzle my chin against the top of your head. We just lay there—me and you—sometimes in silence, sometimes to the sound of lullabies. I rarely have the TV on . . . you always have my undivided attention.
I’m OCD psycho crazy with you—go figure—and make sure you’re breathing every other second of the day. And sometimes, when you’re in a deep, sweet slumber, I’ll fidget with you, so you move your hands or feet proving you’re still alive and well. I know it’s crazy, but I just like reassurance.
You’re really starting to get so alert when you’re awake. Your eyes light up your entire face—they’re rich navy, and I can’t decide whether they’ll be blue, green, or brown. (You have a fair chance of going any way.) Your soft, fine hair covers your head, and daddy likes to brush it to one side, so you look all preppy. You are now in-between clothes sizes; since you have such long legs, you no longer fit comfortably in preemie stuff, but you swim in newborn outfits. This, of course, is challenging for your mother who can’t wait to dress you up.
We are still in the process of remodeling our house; in fact, just a few days ago daddy and I brought you to your future home-sweet-home. Daddy has put such TLC into planning and creating the house where you’ll soon celebrate your first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Daddy and I only want to give you the fondest childhood and the happiest of memories. For the time being, however, we are still in our rental, which can be stressful for me and dad. That being said, as much as we can’t wait for the new house to be done, we don’t want to wish away time. Already I can’t believe you’re a month old. I want to press pause and just savor snuggling your sweet 5-pound body in my arms.
You make funny noises, and are starting to “coo” yourself to sleep. It’s so sweet. And you toot a lot. (Dad and I have stopped using the word “fart.”) But even your toots and poops are cute. (Yes, even that time when you had a projectile poop all over the changing table.) You also manage to pee on me when I change you, but that doesn’t bother me either.
We constantly look into one another’s eyes, and I still can’t believe you’re here and mine. I love walking around the house with you cuddled in my arms, making up songs about how much I love you. I always say, and I mean it: Nicholas, there will never be anyone who will love you more than me.
Nicholas, in Greek, means victorious . . . and that you are. You came into this world six weeks early breathing and eating like a champ. You stayed strong throughout your week in the NICU; sometimes I think you were stronger than me. When we brought you home, you thrived—eating and growing as if you were a full term baby. I like to say you just wanted more time in the world, which is why you arrived earlier than expected.
Your middle name, Michael, means who is like God, in Hebrew. Michael is your late grandfather’s name; daddy’s daddy. From what I’ve been told, your grandfather had the kindest heart in the world, always helping others in a selfless manner. He also did everything he could to give his family a good life, and even though he’s not here anymore, he’s looking out for you. He’s your angel. He’ll always make sure you are OK.
Nicholas Michael, your name is important. Carry it with pride.
You’re also a Leo, apparently the strongest of the Zodiac. Your sign is the lion. You’re said to be a natural leader and fearless in your endeavors. I know you encumber that strength, Nicholas.
Nothing can or could ever break you.
I want to give you everything, sweet son. I want to shield you from any sort of “bad” in the world—all pain, dysfunction, heartache, etc. I want you to only know happiness and tranquility, as you have become my peace; holding you—even just looking at you—is calming. You soften my heart. I think, for the remainder of my life, it will be you who keeps me grounded.
I promise to be the best mother possible. I’ll make mistakes, but it doesn’t mean I’m not trying. I’ll always be your biggest fan and biggest supporter. I will always be there for you. Always. That is a promise, and I promise to never break a promise I make to you.
And I’ll speak for dad as well. I love watching you sleep on his chest. You’re so little on him—just a small, cute peanut. But the look in dad’s eyes when he’s really, truly looking at you says it all. Your father will always take care of you. Everything he does is for you and for us. Because you’re half him, I know you’ll inherit the best of his qualities: his dedication, his ambition, his kindness, and devotion.
I’ve always wanted a son and a daughter, thinking dad could have his pal, and I could have a mini me. While I still want a little girl one day, having you has become the greatest blessing in my life. I think there’s a special bond between mother and son; I’ll tell you now, you’re a mama’s boy, and always will be.
Daddy and I have big dreams for you. Feel free to become a golfing prodigy or an all-star baseball player. I can guarantee you we’d never miss a tournament or game. If you’re neither, that’s OK too, we’ll support you no matter what.
And speaking of support, you have a formidable team always cheering for you; people who love you very much. Besides me and dad, you have grandparents, aunts, and uncles who adore you. You will never be short of love. You are loved. I cannot tell you enough.
I don’t want to end this letter because it means the first part of our journey together is over. I started writing when you were just a dream—when daddy and I first decided to try and get pregnant. To our unexpected pleasure, it took no time; after our first month trying, you safely settled into my belly.
Throughout our trying pregnancy, the one thing that kept me calm was you. Even on bed rest in the hospital, I didn’t feel alone because I knew you were always with me. I disregarded any stress that came my way because I wanted to stay calm for you. Early on, you became my peace. And now that you’re here, you continue to amaze me.
You are my sunshine, sweet Nicholas. You will always make me happy even when skies are the darkest of grey. I hope to be everything and more you want and need in a mother.
Here’s to you, especially today when you’re one month old. May everything good always come your way and may God always watch over you. I love you, my sweet, handsome son.
Hugs, kisses, and snuggles,