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A Valentine's Day Letter to My Baby
My Dearest Lola Bee,
These past few weeks have been bittersweet. My return to work is closer than ever before. This month, your mama is returning to work, and you are starting “school.” My eyes well up as I type those words. School means you won’t be at home. We won’t be at home. We’ve been together, you and me, since you were born. The first time I was away from you was when your daddy and I traveled out of state for a few days last month. I cried every day. I longed to be next to you. To listen to your breaths. To cradle you in my arms and make you giggle with glee. Nana was the one wiping your tears, and I desperately wanted it to be me. I know these moments are fleeting, and I don’t want to miss one.
But that weekend I learned that the sadness I feel when I am away from you and your sister, whether for a few hours or a couple of days, is okay. I feel that way because I love you so much. And missing the people you love is natural. I can’t help but think of how blessed I am to have people to miss. People to love. You to love. How fitting that this month we celebrate the magic of love. And if you haven’t figured it out by now, it is quite grand.
As we prepare for this chapter in our story — a chapter filled with morning drop offs and kisses goodbye, labeled clothes and a tiny backpack — I am reminded of a quote that I love so much.
“There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.”
There are various quotes about parenting, but this one is my favorite. For as long as I’ve known of your existence, my desire has been to give you roots. Your roots will be your faith, but they are also us — your family – your mama, daddy, sister, and all of the people that love you. We are your roots. We are home. While our geographical locations may change, that will never change.
And when you were born, and the most miraculous thing happened. As I wrote in your birthday letter, “When your sister was born, she brought me the gift of courage. And you, my sweet baby, brought me wings.” You actually gave me wings. You inspired me to be brave, and because of your existence, I took a leap. Grace coupled with daddy’s support resulted in the decision for me to leave my career to work at home. It resulted in me discovering that I could be a writer. That I was a writer. And it resulted in the most magical time in my life, a time in which my spirit has soared. I have never felt such joy as I have over the past year and half – my days filled with loving you and big sister (summer vacation was pure magic, my love) and daddy.
But now it’s time for me to give you your wings. And as I sit and watch you play, I know you’re ready. I see it as you go tiptoeing down the sidewalk with blinders on running wild and free. I see the way your eyes light up and how you stare when you are around other children. The way you reach for them during church service wanting to touch their hands. The way you offer your snacks and vigorously wave hi and bye. There’s so much love inside of you, and it’s clear you want to share a little more of it.
Sure, there are moments when you hold on tight to my legs and take in the world around you, but mostly you crave independence. The world of “mine” and “I can do it myself” is knocking. And despite the fact that we have had so much fun together, the lunch dates for two and park dates and naptime cuddles have been the highlights of my days and it seems of yours too, your wings are flapping my love. And so are mine.
They are ready to take us to the next destination in your journey. For mama, it’s back to work armed with the lessons you have taught me. For you, it’s daycare armed with your wings.
As much as I struggle with letting go, I know this is best for our family. A mother’s heart desires to do what is best for her babies. While we are apart, you can rest assured that my days will be filled with thoughts of you and your sister. In the mornings and evenings, we will soar together.
My littlest love, I can never thank you enough for the joy you have brought into my life and for my wings. I hope the ones that Daddy and I have given you will come in handy. Enjoy your flight and know whenever you land, I will be here waiting (or at the very least on my way back home to you). Happy Valentine’s Day!
Forever and always,