These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Jack's First Thanksgiving
It’s a Tuesday morning just before your first Thanksgiving. Not a special day – no one’s birthday or anything like that, but this morning was so wonderful that I wanted to write about it.
You woke up at about 4:45 AM crying. You don’t like to wake up alone in your crib. You become scared. So many books that I read tell me that you need to learn to self-soothe and to allow you to cry. I tried – I really did. I let you cry for about 10 minutes and it was so hard. Every muscle in me was tensed that entire time and my brain was screaming at me to go to you. Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer. I went into your room and said: “It’s okay, baby” and you quieted immediately. I picked you up and you wrapped your sweet little baby arms around me neck and laced your little fingers through my hair and gripped tightly. You rested your little head on my shoulder and breathed deeply, catching your breath from crying. As you calmed, you picked your head up and began to look around the room in the dark. I realized you weren’t going to go back to sleep so you and I got up and went downstairs to warm a bottle.
I let the dogs out while the bottle warmed and then let them back in – all the while walking around with you while you watched every little thing that I was doing from the security of my arms – and then we snuggled up on the couch. I pulled a blanket over both of our legs up to our armpits and moved you to rest in the crook of my arm. I gave you the warm bottle and stroked your face. You drank and closed your eyes and, before I knew it, you were asleep in my arms. We stayed that way for an hour and 15 minutes and it was the most wonderful time in the world.
I felt guilty for enjoying it so much and wondered if I should have let you cry longer because you were obviously still tired, but then your Daddy came down and saw the look of worry on my face. I told him my concerns and he smiled and reassured me that it was a great comfort to you to snuggle up with me like that. Just like that – all my worries were gone. Your daddy was right. It was great for both of us!
I think you’ll find as you grow and get to know your father and myself – that I worry and second guess my decisions all the time. Most of the time, I don’t realize when I’m doing it, but looking back on it – I can see it. Your Daddy is very patient with me and very understanding. I know he’ll be that same way with you, and I am constantly learning from him about being a good parent. He is always telling me to have more confidence in my decisions when it comes to you. If I want to do something, I don’t need to always refer to the books.
Your daddy had suggested when you were born that we keep a journal for you. I think that was a wonderful suggestion. I know I’ll always be able to recall in my memory the thoughts of you as a baby, but I will never be able to relate the stories with as much clarity as I can do when it just happened, so this may be fun for you to read when you grow up or when you are an adult and have your own child.
Halloween is just ended and thoughts of it still linger in my mind. How exciting it was to be there for your first Halloween. I know you were too young to understand what was going on, but it was SO much fun to experience Halloween through your eyes for the first time. Dressing you up in a costume was so much fun. I held you and you saw yourself in the mirror and smiled the most beautiful smile. You loved the pumpkins that we carved for you and loved the way that everyone reacted to you.
I found your costume at Babies ‘R’ Us (a store that sells exclusively baby items – I registered there for your baby shower!). It was a Jack-o-lantern costume hanging on a rack. I was there with my sisters, Erin and Kelly. Erin was pregnant with Calum (still is, but will be having him in about a month) and we were looking at the items that she had on her registry. When I saw the costume, I decided then and there to try it on you – just to see. I put the costume on you and, as soon as I put the little stem hat on your head, you turned to me and grinned a cute little toothless grin because me and my two sisters where looking at you with full attention and that cute little grin just melted my heart. Two ladies were shopping at a rack close by and they stopped what they were doing and looked over and said “oh, my god! How adorable!!!” I bought that costume right then and there.
You’ll probably laugh when you get older and see how many pictures we took of you and your first Halloween, but it’s one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life.
You are such a beautiful baby. Anywhere we go, everyone reacts to you. You are always so happy and smiling and people can’t pass by without stopping and complimenting us on you – how docile and sweet you are and how beautiful. I think it’s why Daddy and I want to be out and about with you so much. We are so proud and love showing you off!
Right now I am at work (working hard or hardly working? – just kidding) and I am surrounded by pictures of you. Sometimes my co-workers joke around with me and say “man, Bridget – do you have enough pictures of Jack around here? People might think you don’t love him”. I think you’ll find as you grow up that people LOVE to be sarcastic, but I want to be clear that this is what they are being when they say this because sometimes it’s hard to be sure that sarcasm comes across in the written word. I literally have 7 pictures of you on my desk, a screen saver picture of you on my computer screen and a small photo album full of pictures of you on my desk. Outside of my cube, I have four pictures of you on the wall outside so everyone that walks by can see my son and know how proud I am of him.
Well, I’ll be sure to write more soon, but I need to bring this to an end and get back to work. Right now you are with Grandma Dougherty. I am so jealous when I have to go to work of the people that get to spend time with you that day, but the holidays are approaching and that means time off to spend with you!!! I can’t wait!!! I love you, JACK!!!