A love letter to June
Let me first begin by apologizing that I don't write these letters to you like I did your older brother. My hope is that one day you'll have a second child and understand, or believe me when I say those letters were meant for both of you (or all of you, if we get that far) or you'll just cut mama some slack. But, hey, I don't always do that for my own mother, so it's probably too much to ask. Just know, at least, you both get the better and worse parts of me in equal ways, somehow.
I'm writing you this letter because you woke up this morning at 5:30 AM and it was awful. Really flippin hard for mama to get out of bed and get you and so your daddy did, practically slinging you across the bed to me when he dropped back down on his side. Your daddy loves you more than anything, but he struggles with these early days of childhood. I rolled you over to my left side - the boob we always begin with - and nursed you. That side frustrates me because it's the side where you could roll over and onto the floor so I am on high alert while you nurse on that side. Then, blessedly, you finish and I roll you to the center of the bed. I might not actually fall back asleep but hallelujah, I can at least snuggle down and relax.
This morning, after you'd finished your morning nurse, you began talking and emoting to me, "Ba ba ba...BA BA BAAAA," (your father, again, predictably thrilled) and I looked down at you, at your impossibly big doe eyes and your smiling face and thought (as I do so often when I look at you and your brother), how did I win the lottery, twice? Who gave me these children? I'm quite sure I wasn't Mother Theresa in another life but here you are and you are...stunning. It is literally off-the-charts impossible for me to tell you how much happiness you bring your tired, sometimes very frustrated, mother.
I'm telling you only because, well only because you deserve to know. And you deserve to know, should you be lucky enough to one day have children of your own (and I hope you do), that whatever you're feeling right now is okay too.
These past couple of weeks have been hard for me, but, more specifically, for our entire country. I'm not going to get into it, not that kind of letter, but god damnit if being a parent isn't difficult enough without every. single. person. on facebook telling you how you could do it better, why some kids turn out angry, mal-adjusted. Why some horribly broken someone did something terrible - probably his mom! And it's hard. I sometimes want to break under the pressure. Enough. Sometimes I just want to take you and Truett and hide in a little cozy house in the woods where we don't get cable TV, where no one uses stupid phrases like, "age appropriate" "hands on parenting" "hands off parenting" "tiger" "boundaries". We're all so sure we know how to do it better than the next person, but then we end up crying at the end of a long, hard day because really we have no idea.
My hope is that by the time you have children, your generation will have laid off a bit. Returned to a broader scope, let-down-your-guard-a-bit parenting style. Because the trend now is an impossible one and it is in each and every modern parent's face non-stop and all day. Spend quality time with your child! Make sure they know you have a life too! Let them make creative messes! Have you been on Pinterest? Because those houses are immaculate! Did you yell at your child? One time? Just the once? Even that's enough to ruin a child! GOOD GOING MAMA.
And I don't know, you tell me, but do your cohorts insist on contradicting themselves? Everytime it feels like I find an answer, someone explains (in a incredibly logical way) why that thinking was, just, dumb, duh. And also five minutes ago. And also your child is ruined!
My point is, if your generation continues down this path, and you are reading this in some 30 years, I promise, promise, promise you are doing it just fine. No, everyone is not doing it perfectly like it looks like on facebook (or whatever's popular by then/now). People are struggling everyday and to do it okay is to be human. And to do it okay probably means you're doing it just right.
Maybe by the time you have kids and read this we'll all have put down our collective arms. Quit scrutinizing ourselves and each other so much. Returned to that space where parenting was instinctive, a shared responsibility where we all chipped in a little. Because it is that pressure that is making our worst selves creep out and then retreat into a puddle of self doubt. It is the pressure that makes it hard, not so much the job itself (remember that).
So chin up, mama (or papa, Truett, if you're reading too). You are an amazing parent.
And if you weren't worried to begin with, carry on!
I love you, Junebug. I love you so much.