Wednesday, June 22, 2011


almost your birthday, and no self-hatred.

dear buddy,

oh, the self-hatred i have over not having taken better notes on your infancy.

see how i did that, right there? started out something that's meant to be about you and made it about my insecurity?

back to one.

dear buddy,

you have been changing so much recently. they're joyful changes; i feel like you're becoming more vested in yourself, coming into your personhood more each week. you do things this week you didn't do last week--like come running down the hall from your room, already laughing about something. what is making you laugh at the end of the hall? are you making micro trips to narnia through the closet?

last night, when kasia and donovan were over, i let you run naked into the living room and you bounced your little butt against the big purple playground ball. never seen you do that before. it took you one try to learn how to give nose kisses. the milestones are flying so fast and furious. a few weeks ago--a month?--you started turning the board books you love to page through right side up if you happened to pick them up upside down. you sit in your room sometimes, by yourself, contentedly flipping through books and telling yourself stories. in those moments i couldn't be happier to be your mother. i don't mean to pressure you into liking what i like, but a love of books can get you through a lot of things, miles. you are also saying "mama" this month in a way that makes me think you mean it.

you got a haircut yesterday. it's short. short short short. you look a little like sluggo again, like you did when you just didn't have much hair, around four months or so. i'm so glad we have some video of four month old you, by the way, because sometimes i have a hard time remembering him, since now-you is so entirely present. i don't want younger you back, but i wouldn't mind visiting him for a few minutes so i can appreciate how different you are.

i guess that's why i'm sorry i haven't written down more stuff. there is something lovely, though, about just rolling with it and living in these incredible moments and not stressing out about textualizing everything for the archive. i hang out with you before breakfast and just watch, or watch and interact when you bring me things. you are just such a spectacular work of nature right now. i can't believe we did this, that we made you. that you came out of nothing. that's it, it's that i can't believe you came out of thin air. you are such a big thing; how could you just arrive? how could we ever have afforded the raw materials for something like you?

i think this celebration of the first year is more about us than you, frankly. you won't understand this for a long time, and maybe not ever, but having a child is the hardest hard. it's an enormous, exhausting paradigm shift, and that's not even counting the physical labor and lack of sleep. we have now done the hardest thing we've ever done, and we're not done. i'm not going to lie; those first six months, maybe even eight or nine, they weren't . . . . they weren't "fun." that' s along time to go without leisure or sleep, two of the three things that power my life (third: cookies). i have loved spending time with you, but almost everything else has taken such a hit that i feel like i spent a year with a serious illness or something. it's not . . . fun. it's the evacuation of fun, which sucks.

(those first couple months were fun, except for the sleeping. before i had to go to work and there was no real expectation that i'd do anything other than watch you breathe. that was some of the best fun.)

the point is, you are going to do a lot more of these. you are going to get older and older and older, and most of the olderating will be a good thing. things will open for you, you will learn things and do things and be things. you, my love, are just beginning to start starting.

while we are just beginning to start continuing, in the face of enormous life change. and it's getting fun again, these last months. we're functioning as a unit instead of being two people contending with a burden. i still really miss going out at night. and having time for hobbies. but that will come back, too. and it is a joy to be doing okay again. a relief.

you are a mystery bundle, baby. you are a sweet spice. you are an elfin winkle. you inexplicably decline the delicious chicken meatballs i made for you about every third time i serve them.

i hope i can help you achieve the fortitude necessary to get pleasure out of life. it doesn't always arrive on a silver platter, guy. life will undoubtedly throw you some shit. and if i wish anything for you, it's that you develop a kind of resilience your father and i often lack, a confidence that you'll regain your footing and find your way. sometimes i don't know if i've ever found my way, but being your mom and being your dad's emergency contact are two things that help me steer even in adverse conditions. i think this family can do some good things for you. and i love you beyond all telling. if you need a bedrock, i can be that.

happy first birthday, miles. i made some of you, but it's largely in your hands, now. let's see what wonderful mud pies you fashion out of life.


your mom.

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