Last week, on the night before I went back to work, you fell asleep just as you were finishing your last bottle of the night, the one I always give you in your room, in the big gray chair. I didn't put you in your crib though. Instead, I sat with you and we rocked. I kissed your nose and stroked your head and tried to whisper an entire day's worth of words to you. But the words kept getting stuck somewhere in my throat and instead I just looked at you, at the way that your extra long eyelashes fan out over your cheeks when your eyes are closed and the way that your hands never quite settle at your sides when I hold you, even when you're fast asleep. And I thought about dropping you off in the morning for your first day of daycare and the tears that clouded my eyes broke free and fell onto your fresh-from-the-bath hair.
And as I sit here and write this I picture you reading it when you're a little older, all lanky limbs and blond hair and blue, blue eyes filled with embarrassment and horror at the very thought of your mom crying over your tiny, four month old head. And since I'll always be honest with you, I'll tell you that a few months ago I could never imagine myself doing it either.
But now I'm a mom and what I know now is that moms cry. A lot.
For the first week of your life I cried every day as I held you and figured out how to do life with a baby. When you were six weeks old you smiled just at me for the very first time and my heart grew about eleven sizes and the tears just spilled over. When you were three months old we started sleep-training you and on the second night your Daddy was out and as you cried in your crib I sat on the couch and cried right along with you as I resisted the urge to run upstairs and pick you up and tell you that you never have to go to sleep ever again if you don't want to. And a few weeks ago you were strapped into your car-seat and I was playing with your toes and you looked at me and laughed your first laugh and my breath caught in my throat and the floodgates opened again.
God, I know. I'm really sorry about all of this kiddo, but you're stuck with me. Right after you were born the doctor bundled you up and handed you to me and your wide-open eyes looked into mine and I was exhausted and bewildered and wondering what in the world had just happened, but I knew then that I was yours and you were mine. In the middle of all the complexity on that early Tuesday morning in June, this one thing was simple.
Every morning when you wake up, I come get you out of your crib and you smile your biggest smile of the day and while I give you your bottle in the quiet house I wonder all kinds of things about you. I wonder what you'll like and what you won't, who you'll be when you grow up and what you'll want to do, and whether they're right when they say that little boys love their moms the best.
The truth is, I don't care about any of those things (except that one about little boys loving their moms best - I'm already sure they're right about that). I just hope you live your life with passion and purpose and do the things that bring you joy. I want you to become just who you are supposed to be, and the world needs whatever gifts you were meant to give. These things might not always be obvious to you and that's the way it's supposed to be. Trust yourself and the journey and you will find your way. You are exactly enough, and if you ever forget that, I promise to remind you.
You already love words and books and as a writer and life-long reader this makes me prouder than I have any right to be. I read you a book every night before you go to sleep and you like to grab a piece of my hair with one hand and the pages of the book with the other but as long as I'm reading you listen. I hope you always love books. Those pages can teach you and entertain you and transport you to far-off lands and take you on magical journeys. The characters you meet will become friends who can cheer you up when you're feeling down and keep you company when you feel like being quiet.
And speaking of quiet, there's something you should know. You might be the kind of person who loves people and crowds and parties and noise, and that's a wonderful thing. But in case you don't, you need to know that it's ok to be quiet too. There is a great power in the gift of quiet and if that gift is yours, don't be afraid to use it. Because when you give yourself the permission to be quiet, you can discover deep wells inside of yourself that you didn't know existed, and it is from these wells that your purpose may flow. There are many different kinds of power in this world. My greatest wish for you is that you use well the kind that you have been granted.
Above all else my sweet Will, know that you are loved, fiercely and without reservations. By me, by your dad, by the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents who will always surround you. Let that unshakable love give you the courage and confidence to dream and to live your life with joy and a wide open heart.
With love as big as the sky,