I sat down at the dining room table with a stack of note cards a few weeks ago. All pretty and monogrammed and I have one very special Sharpie that I use for just this purpose. I think it's because I'm pretty sure that this particular Sharpie has note writing inspiration fused into it. So notes that would be clunky and say things like "Hey, you totally got me [crap! I forgot...] some awesome gift that I'd remember if I wrote this when you gave it to me for my birthday which was four months ago. I suck. Love, Kate" instead reads more like "Shannon and Zack, The wine glasses are absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much. Please forgive my unbelievable delay in writing. I suppose these things happen when one combines proximity to turning forty with a deep Cabernet. So I toast you with the latter, and use it to forget the former. Much love, Kate"
And then it'll get put in the mail, and McGee will open it three days later and then the flurry of 44 cent insults begins, and my house starts looking like we just got accepted to Hogwarts.
The kids came to check on me and saw the stack of finished notes on the table. Lefty said, "Why do you never write us letters?" I told him that I was happy to write them, but that they had to write me back. They all nodded enthusiastically, and then just. stood. there. as I started to write. I actually had to encourage them to go play Wii. My Sharpie may have special powers, but even he got all ink shy when they stared at him.
Forty-five child-free minutes later, scribed to the sound of Lego Indiana Jones, I had what they wanted.
To my children:
Do you remember the picture from the beach that shows you guys facing away from the camera and looking at the ocean? You always ask me why it's my favorite. It's my favorite because you all were so happy and peaceful and together.
It's also because it's my job as your Mom to get you ready to face the world. And go on amazing adventures into the world. That means that you have to go away from me. And, I have to be OK with that, even though sitting here right now, it makes me sad.
You may not understand it now, but that picture also means that, when you go, even though you're not looking my direction, you'll always feel me behind you, supporting you, and being there in case you fall.
But I want you to know these things before you go.
I remember the moment you all were born like it just happened a minute ago. McGee, you looked at me with absolute certainty about who I was. Happy, you screamed like a banshee and you've basically never cried since. I think you used it all up. Lefty, we almost lost you. I saw you for two seconds and then you were whisked away and I didn't see you again for hours. We have a bond, my son, in that we came back from almost certain death together. I know I never could have come back without you.You saved my life.
I come into your rooms at night and smell your heads. When you were babies, you smelled like a combination of syrup and puppy breath. It went away when you were about two months old, but in my memory, I can still smell it every once in a while.
I love your feet.
There is good in this world. There is also a lot of bad. I say a prayer every night that you are surrounded by the first and mercifully spared the second. You three are the treasures in my life and I would give my last breath on earth for each one of you.
I yell too much and probably hug too little. I know that I get frustrated at bedtime and that it isn't fair that I'm grumpy when all you want is one more snuggle. I know that one day you'll want me to stop doing it, and then I'll be sad. You know how when we're doing something really fun and then you complain about something and I get mad because we're doing something awesome and you're complaining? That's kind of what being a mom is like. I get to do this awesome thing like hang out with you guys and then I complain about it. Sometimes moms forget how great it is because we're busy complaining and doing laundry. When I do that, just give me a really squishy kiss, OK?
My favorite thing is to go on long walks with you. I know sometimes you think they're boring and I almost always wind up carrying one of you, but it's easy for a grown up to forget that crunching leaves is fun, that seeing a cocoon means that we have to keep coming back hoping to see a butterfly, and that getting soaking wet in a summer rainstorm is probably the most fun in the world.
I wish I could tell you exactly how much I love you. That it's bigger than the sky and deeper than the ocean, and better than anything else in the whole world. And even though you think I can throw anything away, I have three big boxes with each of your names hidden in the closet in the bedroom. Little mementos of you that my heart wanted to keep forever.
You are more magical than Harry Potter. You are more amazing than the Red Sox winning the World Series. And you are the greatest thing that I have ever done, or will ever do, in my entire life. Tonight when you say your prayers, tell God that Mommy says Thank You. He'll know what I'm talking about.
Before you, I believed in the possibility of miracles. Because of you, I know they're real.
I love you like cake.
Yesterday I got this:
"Dear Mom, We love your letter. We hid it in a safe place. It was really long. Next time can you write a shorter one? This was like homework. We love you like cake too. [signed] McGee HAPPY Lefty "
"PS Happy wants to know if we can make a cake now."
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011