A Letter to One-Month-Old Isaac

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Dear Son,

(Because that’s what I call you.)

You’ve been an incredible newborn baby and I have so enjoyed this month with you – way more than I did with your sister. In many ways, I wish I could have had you as a first child to have more time just us, and her as a second child, to have a second-time Mom perspective. I was so completely overwhelmed by Marin – the sleepless nights, the sleepless days, the constant worry about tomorrow. It was unnerving and I didn’t enjoy her till she was well past this phase, and for that, I had a lot of regret.

And I had a lot of fear. A lot of fear of how I’d manage that lifestyle once you were here and I had no energy to take care of anyone else. It didn’t help that I loved being pregnant with you – aside from having to get in and out of bed – and that I loved getting to experience you without much sacrifice or sharing, and that I never felt like I got to savor our 9 months alone together enough. With a long to-do list before your arrival, I braced myself for the worst again – the sleepless nights and the sleepless days, but I refused to worry about tomorrow (just today). My labor happened, and just like I anticipated, my easier pregnancy and easier labor, somehow also spoke to you being an easier baby. Thank God.

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You were easier, but I was also better. I was better at creating support systems, preparing for your arrival so that I could take a break, committing to nothing this first month, enjoying all the help I could get and not feeling bad about any of it. I was useless to the world to be useful at one thing – loving you. And love you I did because I lowered the bar lower than I even imagined.

With Marin, I was on a one-track mind to get her to the next step. At one day, we were thinking of day two, and on day two we were thinking of week one, and so on and so forth. Today was never enough – we were going somewhere, and I wasn’t about to let either of us take a day off. After the first week, I was bent on creating good habits, and making sure she slept (which to be fair, if she didn’t, she’d completely freak out). But I was worried about nursing her to sleep, rocking her to sleep, how long she slept, how often she slept, how many hours she slept at night, for how long of stretches, how to increase those stretches, if she should have a pacifier for a sleep prop, when I’d take the pacifier away, if the pacifier was worth the money on braces, and deciding it most certainly was with continued anxiety…

And with you? You know what I did? I nursed you to sleep everytime in our bed. You never made into your co-sleeper once. I’d wake up, roll over, put you on the other side, and drift right back to sleep. And you wanna know what else? It was literally the best decision I could have made. Getting sleep, and you getting sleep without 45-minute rocking sessions, praying you’d stay asleep once I put you down, and hoping I didn’t step on the wrong part of the wooden floors, was what let me love you so easily. And more than that, enjoy you.

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Oh, Isaac, I enjoyed you so much this month. I put down my phone (because it wasn’t the only activity I could do without falling asleep) and just looked at you. The fear of not looking at you enough hit me – so I would nurse you, and pet your hair, notice how you have a few strands on top significantly longer than the rest, and kiss the top of your head again and again. And wait till you fell asleep to pick up my phone or Daddy’s iPad – I was in bed so much that I read all three of the Hunger Games!

Your sister was a champ at forging new relationships and making her new independence look easy – outside of sick days. She’d find bins in her play area without help, she learned how to climb into her booster seat without extra hands, and walk up the stairs without begging or expecting me to hold her, all with an exceptionally good attitude. It reminded me that as much as I was taking away from my time with just her all day, I was giving her new opportunities that she wouldn’t have had without you here. I saw her happily go to other caregivers (and miss them when they weren’t here the next day). I saw her smother you with kisses, head pats, and invade your personal space because she couldn’t get enough of you – awake or asleep. She reveled in your sweetness and obsessed over you looking at her, but to be fair, we all did.

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We saw the dishes pile up, the floors go unswept, and did 25 days of Christmas crafts to all attest to how much fun we had inside with you. We tried to go out, but rarely, and often times, not as a complete family unit. That was the hardest part of this month – getting moments together, but together in phases or separately. Daddy and Marin eating dinner while I nursed you to bed for the night, you and me enjoying Marin’s naps to spend time together, me putting you on your floor mat to make playdough snowman’s with Marin, and Daddy and I watching Hunger Games movies and Curb Your Enthusiasm while you two kids slept. And then we all woke up to do it all again.

Each day, I’d wonder how I could do it and remind myself that I had and could again. All the worry I had that I was crazy for having another baby or fear that I couldn’t possibly love another child as much as Marin dissolved once you were here. So much in fact, that when you were a couple days old, Daddy looked at me and said, “and you were afraid that Marin was going to be your favorite child”. I couldn’t help it – you were my boy, and I had a school-girl crush over you. It hit me that I’d love you in a very different way, and I cried over the idea of your first heartbreaks or dancing with you one day at your wedding. (Ugh, now I’m crying again…).

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So son, if you ever wonder how I feel or have felt about you, you now know – I’ve been in love with you since the very beginning.

Love, forever and always,

Mommy

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