Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little riding red hood

Dear Annabel,

I can't believe it's been so long since I've written you.

Your brother, as you know, has lured my attentions. You still don't seem to mind, though, and for that I am grateful and just a little bit sad.

It is the person in me who loves you to the point of pain that wishes you were the only one. Wishes I'd had you second so I could be the relaxed person I wanted to be but wasn't.

I shouldn't tell you this because I know it won't sound right, but I didn't LOVE you right away. It had nothing to do with you. You were perfect. And easy. And lovable. And everything I imagined you would be and more.

I was afraid.

I'd never so much as babysat an infant before I held you in my arms, contemplating the strange notion that the hospital staff was not only going to let me take you home but they expected it.

I was so afraid of you -- hurting you, doing something wrong, afraid of all the things I had no control over -- and I was so tired, that I sent you back to the nursery every chance I got.

I often think everything, especially our ideas about love, get so flipped around that we just don't recognize the emotion. The saying goes that you will never have a second first baby, but what they don't always tell you is that you might never really enjoy the experience.

When I slept with Silas in the hospital, giving him reluctantly to the nurses who came to check his vitals, I thought of you and what we missed in the early days of our lives together.

Because I'd never experienced hormonal shifts that felt like ocean waves before, I couldn't just ride them out and stare into your eyes. I floundered instead.

Because I'd never taken pain medication I had no idea it would sap what little energy I had or make me feel sick. I worried something just wasn't right.

Because I listened to people who I assumed knew better than me, I did what I was told. I put you back in the bassinet anytime you weren't nursing ... for your own safety.

It wasn't love that was lacking though, my sweet girl, it was confidence.

There's something else I've noticed that makes me sad.

Everything you've taught me in this tough age of reason will benefit your brother more than it benefits you.

My frustration level is at a low ebb when I sleep poorly and see you only on the swing-shift of your day. I miss you always and yet I find myself, during those fleeting hours we are together, talking to you through clenched teeth.

With increasing frequency, you ask me if I'm mad at you and I realize what a horrible thing it is to just walk through these days trying to keep up with the schedule. Trying to just. get. to. the. next. thing. It just messes the whole thing up completely.

But I'm glad you asked, even though I'm not glad you felt you had to. I'm glad you make me see myself, and that you have the confidence I lack in that respect. I want you to keep it, my dear, and use that gift without malace. I may not always know what I feel, but I know love you. And I know I've loved you for always and ever.




Redneck Mommy said...


And it could have been written for my Fric, so similar was our experience when her brother was born.

Gail said...

I love these letters.