Dear Ian | You are 21 months today …

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The robins and red winged black birds have returned. The sun and wind are melting the final bits of snow and drying the fields. Spring has returned to our little farm estate and with it has come a whole new amazing experience.   There was not a cloud in the sky as we walked back and forth and around the yard enjoying this beautiful day. There was a spring, not so long ago, filled with loss and  a few that followed where I would close my eyes and imagine a child sharing the beauty of this place.  I recall very clearly the feelings of longing, hope, determination and, at times, desperation along our journey to you. And here we are.

Ian, at 21 months you are discovering the world, and your place in it.  You love to be outside and are very content to walk back and forth between the house and the barn.  Sometimes kicking a soccer ball; other times throwing a tennis ball.  All the time looking around and marveling at things, calling them out.  Occasionally you point  in  excitement and exclaim – “Trees” or “Burrd”.  I am filled with joy and wonderment, seeing birds or trees as though for the first time.  Its truly amazing.

You are curious, with a sense of adventure and a determined will.  Sometimes its tiring … I must admit; but I hope these things will stay with you always.

A friend told me recently – “The days drag on; the years fly by.”  This is so true.  I recall 21 months ago as though it was yesterday.  You arrived into this crazy world; and our world changed forever.

I love you Always,

Mommy

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Dear Ian | This life is hard … and beautiful

Dear Ian,

By the time you read this you will realize that I write to you often.  I keep a journal where I jot down little notes every couple of days; or I write long letters when there is something really special I need to say.  I believe you will read these notes one day.  There are some that are really – really important.  This is one.

Baby, I want you to know that life is a beautiful, exciting, dangerous, terrifying, inspiration and disappointment all wrapped into one amazing journey.  There are going to be moments and sometimes hours, days or even weeks, when you feel like life just completely … sucks.  And you will likely be right to feel that way; because sometimes, well, sometimes it just does.  I hope to be there to hug you quietly or to say, “It will get better; it will work out.”  You probably won’t believe me. It is hard to believe.  You will wonder – What the heck does she know?

I need you to trust me here.  Just trust that things always get better.  In those moments, if I could, I would show you the future and you would see.  All of the good, and the bad, that happens in your life will make you who you are each day.  Whatever is going on, there is something for you to take away.  The more deeply you feel, the more it will hurt – but that is ok; because it means you are alive my darling.  And whether I am beside you to say it or if I am in another room, another state, or another … world … I want you to always remember that you are nothing short of a miracle.  Never, Never, Never give up. 

I Love You Always,

Mommy

Dear Ian | “one of those days”

Dear Ian,
Every once in a while you will have “one of those days” – the kind that leaves you with questions about people – purpose- intentions – loyalties. Sometimes you may hear about what you are doing “wrong”. Sometimes a situation will just linger over you like a cloud – refusing to clear – but not letting it rain for relief.
So … what to do …
Always check in -Ask what, if anything, you might be doing to contribute to the situation. Accept and address what you discover. Even if you may not like to see or acknowledge these things in yourself – do it anyway. Accept also that, sometimes, the situation is not about you. In which case there is little you might do to change it.
In either case – give yourself a break. So long as you have not deliberately set out to hurt or wrong someone. If you like, take a bath and go to sleep. The new day will bring with it a new perspective and always a chance to begin again. Be grateful.
I love you Always,
Mommy

PS Thank you for helping me through one of those days.

Dear Ian | you are 6 months today!

Happy Half Birthday my sweet little man! I cannot believe that it has been six months already since you arrived on this planet! This morning when we were singing our morning songs you were there as a person smiling with eyes sparkling, full of love. You must just know what joy you have brought to our lives each and every day!

I have enjoyed this time with you so much. I love our little routines of morning time, walks in the woods, going to church and visiting the farmers market. Everyone there knows you and cannot believe how you have grown. Soon you will be running around and we will have to chase you for sure!
Every day has and will continue to be an adventure!

Right now you are napping and we are waiting for Daddy to come home so we can have dinner and you can have your first taste of rice cereal; which we have made ourselves. So, from today on, you will no longer be relying solely on Mommy for your sustenance. I do have mixed feelings about that. One thing I do not have mixed feelings about … that is YOU!

I love you always,
Mommy!

Dear Ian | this storm called sandy

Dear Ian –

I wrote this for you on November 2 – during the aftermath of Hurrican Sandy (We were without power – so I was unable to post it then) Our powe went out at about 6pm on Monday October 29 – and came back on some time on Monday November 5.  We really made out fine … many people lost their homes and personal belongings during this storm.  Others lost much much more…

As daylight faded and we settled into our new routine of fetching water and lighting candles, I had the thought that life certainly was not easier in times past – but it was more … simple.  Today, we live in a world where people are fearful of opening their doors to a stranger in distress; where a few days without electricity sends us into a tail spin.  I will admit it took a couple of days for me to stop reaching for the light switch when I went into the basement… and to really feel enveloped in the silence that surrounded our home without all of the “white noise”  I will admit that I miss my lights and my flushable toilet – but I have to say – Going to my parents to take a shower remindedme  of coming home from college.  It felt … comforting …Except, this time, instead of a college friend, I was accompanied by my husband and my son.

This time has me thinking…

How much do we really need… of anything?  In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt – A little simple living is the first step toward rational living I think

Are we prepared? Are we really paying attention to what is going on around us? Are we leaving this world a better place for you and your children and their children? As in the Indian Proverb – we must treat the earth well; it was not given to us by our parents- it was loaned to us by our children

Television is a luxury – buy an etch-a-sketch or do like Aunt Claudia – play charades by candlelight!

I love you Always,

Mommy

Dear Ian | how sweet it is

Dear Ian,

I am so amazed at how you are growing and the changes in you each day.  I see how you recognize Mommy and Daddy, our voices and our faces.  I can tell that you do because when I am holding you and Daddy comes into the room talking, you pause and your eyes begin to search over your head; and when I come to you I see your eyes light up and you flash that crooked smile.  My heart just melts again and again. How sweet it is –  this time we have together…

They told me that when I became a mom, my whole world would change.  I listened to reflections about priorities and schedules; time and interests.  But nothing prepared me for the experience I had this weekend that got me to thinking –

Although you recognize me now – what if something were to change, and I was not around when you are a little bit more grown up?  Would you remember me? What would you remember?  Would you know who your Mama was – meaning – what makes me laugh, what makes me cry; my passions and convictions; strengths and weaknesses.

Even I have a hard time recalling or seeing these things in my own parents who are very much alive.  What if I was not here… who would tell you the story of our journey to find you? Who would teach you all of the wonderful things I cannot wait to share with you?

It was very overwhelming to think of this … and it made me so sad that I cried as I was holding you that afternoon.  It was a stinging reminder about how fleeting this time is; and how we really need to savor and enjoy every detail.

This is one of the reasons for writing to you – Dear Ian; here and in your journal.  I want to share with you the remarkable moments of this journey; and some advice along the way.  I hope that one day when you read back, you will understand your mommy, daddy and who we are as a family; wheth we are here to speak it or you are reflecting with the echo of our voices.

I love you, always.

Mommy

Dear Ian | I learn from you each day

Dear Ian,

I learn from you each day.

When you were just a spirit baby, a soaring soul in search of a place to settle; long before you were growing inside me or I held you in my arms, I was learning.  I learned patience, tenacity, faith and humility; how to give over and never give up; when to let go and when to hold on for dear life. Today, as I sit watching you nestled and cozy, I continue learning.  With each moment and each day that we share I learn from you.

There are many lessons to come I am sure – but today is about Today; about being present, in the moment.  It’s something I believe in with my entire heart. Yet it is also a challenge for me, a person always planning what needs to get done or anticipating what is yet to come.

Of course, that was the great laugh when you decided to arrive 5 weeks early! Despite planning and organizing , you arrived to teach me in a real and immediateway that life will happen and timing, well that is something we rarely have control of. I understand from you that time is not a renewable resource.  We cannot manufacturer it or put it in the bank to draw on at a later date.  But, we can TAKE time today and we must be present in that moment; or miss it forever.  So, as Gandalf said in the Lord of the Rings – “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

And this, my little man – is the most amazing lesson you have taught me so far. How to be present and spend this time that is given us.  I notice your eyelashes as they change; drink in your smile that is just now beginning to show; hold your hand that is unclenching from your intense newborn fists.  I snuggle and breathe you in; holding that breath for a moment in my heart.  I am reminded to stay present by the way you become restless when I get distracted.

I look at the calendar and realize that almost ten weeks have come and gone since you arrived on this planet!  I panic – oh my! In rushes my anxiety about time – time that passes – too much time – not enough time; time wasted – time well spent; the wrong time and the right time … which really is now – in this moment – because this is where we are. A friend gifted me a book for my birthday two weeks ago – “Wherever you go there you are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn – which tells of paying attention – being mindful – being present.

The timing of this book could not have been more perfect!  It’s like the study guide for the real life lesson you are providing me. Thank you for this lesson – and the many more that I am sure you will show me along the way.

Love,

Mommy