April 9, 2016

a letter to our baby: what i promise you.

I usually reserve the more personal content for this space, but last week, I went out on a limb and wrote about motherhood and our baby on POPSUGAR. For the past few months I've been writing letters to the baby in a little journal that sits on my nightstand. There's a little bit of everything: a letter about my parents, how Radley and I met, my favorite places in Chicago and California. I sort of write things as they come to me, and I'm hoping to give it to him or her when they're a bit older. 

Here's an excerpt from the letter I shared on POPSUGAR, and stay tuned for some others here on the blog! Oh, and disclaimer for the PS story— no, that's definitely not my baby bump in the photo :)

When you try new things, I promise not to show you that I'm a tiny bit (or, more likely, very) scared. Deep down I might be worried or anxious or slightly terrified of what might happen if it doesn't work out for you, but I won't let my fears slow you down. I'll tell you to take chances, to go for it, to trust yourself. I promise to trust you.

I promise to make your birthday a big damn deal. Whether you're turning 1 or 35, I promise balloons and streamers and surprise parties and the cakes of your choice. Some years you might love that, and other years it might feel sort of cheesy, but when you look back on birthdays past, I promise you'll know that you were celebrated by the people who cared about you most.

If you mess up in a small way, I promise to acknowledge it, help you, then let it go. And whenever you mess up in a big way, I promise to feel the weight of it and push you to do the same. I promise to let you make those tough mistakes, to address them when I need to, and to keep on loving you all the same.

I promise to build you one hell of a library . . . or, at least, to bring you to one. I'll help you learn to read and then I'll share with you all the stories, true and imagined, that have made me who I am. I promise to stand by, thrilled, as you discover the Harry Potter world for yourself, and to give you all the Roald Dahl books that swept me away when I was small, and to offer you my collection of heavily underlined novels just as soon as you're able to love them too. I promise you a life filled with words and books and imagination and the space to be as creative as you want to be.

I promise to be active — to set that example and inspire you to keep moving. There will be after-dinner walks and Sunday morning runs and sunny hikes along the beach. Oh, I promise you sports, too. Plenty of them. Your dad will teach you how to throw a football, how to nail free throws, and I'll show you the ins and outs of soccer. Swimming, too. All of it or none of it, I promise that can be up to you. Golf, basketball, volleyball, dance — I promise to let you try whatever grabs you and to let you quit when you don't love it anymore.

I promise to surround you with art of all kinds. To share my love for pop culture, for movies and music and Broadway and Hollywood. I'll show you the good stuff and the cheesy stuff, the Oscar winners and the terrible comedies, the Beatles and the '90s pop that makes most people cringe. (You'll notice, of course, that I won't cringe. And you'll quickly learn that when it comes down to it, our family is Team *NSYNC, not Backstreet Boys.) Over the years I promise to bring you to museums and concerts and plays, and I'll totally get it when you transform into an all-out crazy fan of something, or someone. If you swear you won't make fun of me, I might even show you my homemade Justin Timberlake poster from 2001. Like I said: Team *NSYNC, OK?

When you have a bad day, I promise to listen. Or give you room to breathe, whatever seems best at the time. And when you get upset or angry or really, in-your-bones mad at me, I promise that I'll try to understand. I'll practice patience; I'll try, anyway.

Year after year, I promise to carve out all kinds of special time for just you and your dad. From day one I'll do everything I can to support that relationship and to let it be as special as the one I share with my dad. Together you two will take camping trips, go to football games, road trip along the California coast. He'll introduce you to his reggae favorites and way, way more 49ers trivia than you'll ever care to know. On weekends, he'll bring you along for Sunday drives, and over the Summer, he'll let you tag along to watch Giants games from the bleacher seats. Hockey games, though — you'll save those for me.

You can see the rest on POPSUGAR!


Paula said... [Reply to comment]

This is so very beautiful!