Monday, April 23, 2007

'Round and round we go ...

there's my papa, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

In the grand scheme of time, it won't be long until your brother is here taking the space your baby-self left behind. Everything is going to change -- from where you spend your days to how quickly we are able to answer your needs and desires.

I can't believe I'm saying this, and I really don't want to set myself (or you) up for heartache, but I really think you are ready.

It's not merely the relentless questions you pepper me with daily about when he's coming, or what we'll call him, or where he'll sleep; It's because you've been asking if one day you'll be a mommy. If you'll be able to "take care of everybody," as if that's what you've gathered mommies do.

I'm sure when he's here the reality you face will be vastly different from the fantasy you've been living with as you hug my belly and demand to give him one last "zerbert" before bed. I imagine it is only natural that from time to time you will have issues with having our attentions divided, and you will grow weary of the crying and the fact that mommy won't be able to cradle you both at the same time.

I know that family and friends will be riveted by every move this baby makes, but I am also reminded of how incredibly magnetic babies are to strangers. How, for most people, an infant's presence is reason enough to coo and cluck, and talk about how a new baby is so beautiful-special-adorable-precious-delightful and such a blessing.

When you were tiny, I couldn't walk down the street without people stopping me to comment on your sweetness. It was nothing short of miraculous to me how just your existence seemed to brighten the moods of total strangers.

A part of me was a little sad when you outgrew the infant clothes and you lost the roundness of babyhood that attracted folks we'd never met like moths to fire. It wasn't that your specialness had ended, it just wasn't automatic anymore.

A part of me missed the attention you got that spilled over onto us.

A part of me resented the public angry tantrums, and worried what others' must think. A part of me worried that constant repetition of the need for patience was a lost cause.

But last weekend, when spring lifted us out of winter for the first time and you, papa, Mimi and I went to The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown to meet some friends and ride the carousel, I realized that your charms and your abilities are blossoming.

You are lovely and amazing, and that has really nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's never been more clear to me than at that precise moment that this person you are comes from your inner being not from how we try and shape you.

By the time we left, all the staff we encountered knew your name - and no, they weren't rolling their eyes when they said it. They were smiling and pleased to make your acquaintance. They watched as you moved out of your safety element - the stable boats and benches - to the more daring stand-up animals and they congratulated you on your bravery.

They said they'd hoped you'd come again, and they meant it.

Next time we go, though, I imagine you'll be showing off your little brother. But I doubt you'll be outshined.




jennybunny said...

* sniff *

Mrs. Chicken said...

Isn't it wonderful how they become their own little people? I was looking at The Poo tonight as she chomped a fry and waved at people in the restaurant we were at, wondering who she will be.

And marveling at her, as she said, "mommy, I want to say hi to these people! It is so nice to say hi to all da people!"

I can only imagine how your love will grow with the new baby.

This was so lovely.

Gail said...

I love the magical way babies make people smile. When I see babies on transit or elevators, I try and make them laugh.

Kelly said...

I love letters like this. I imagine your daughter reading it, years from now, and just loving the words you've written, documenting just how much you love her and how special she is.

(Would you mind if I tagged you for a meme? It's up at my site, if you're interested.)

wordgirl said...

I felt exactly this way when kid #2 was on the way. Lovely sentiments!

diana said...

She really is awesomely wonderful. No doubt about it.