Open Letters Friday is a segment here at PCL for your reading and writing enjoyment. I’ll share with you some of my open letters for the week and you’ll get the opportunity in comments to share yours. Now, tell me, who do you need to write to this week?
Today happens to mark the girls’ first month of life on the outside. I figured my first foray back into OLF would need to include them.
My first born two-legged child. My Chunky Monkey. Your daddy’s Little Gus.
You, my dear, are kind of a spitting image of my family tree. It’s simultaneously amazing and creepy. I remember holding you in your first day of life on this earth, looking down and seeing my Grandpa who has been dead for 17 years. A miniature version anyhow. It gave me great comfort and stung that you’ll never meet him or my Nana. But I have a feeling that if energy works the way I think it does, there’s some of their energy in you.
In addition to being a physical mini-me, you definitely take after me in temperament You’re a spitfire of the first degree and if something is not to your liking, you’ll let us know. At the same time, you allowed your sister so much room in the womb that you came out a bit crunched up. Talk about passive aggressive. Yet last week, your daddy told me that when he was holding you and Ellie as I got some much needed sleep, you went and put your arm around your sister. There’s no picture of this that exists outside of my head and despite it being imaginary to me, it’s probably the most heartwarming moment of your life thus far.
You are a month old today. Just this week we found out that the formula you had been on was what was causing your extreme fussiness and gas pains. You’ve been on the new stuff for almost two days now and the change has been dramatic. You’re still the spitfire, but your waking moments are spent contemplating world domination instead of pulling your legs to your chest in pain. I’m sorry that in addition to my motivation and sassiness, I gave you my irritable bowel. And, of course, the new formula you are on is going to cost us about a bazillion dollars. When you have to take out student loans for college like I did, I will show you the receipts and you’ll know why.
But yesterday, as I was holding you after you ate, I saw the real you. There was a girl looking at me, trying to figure out how to keep me doing this little dancing game we were doing until you realized that if you pushed yourself back with your legs off of my chest you could encourage a repeat performance. So you did it.
A month ago today, they wheeled you into my recovery room with a fuzzy little hat on. I was still shut down from the surgery, unable to rest but unable to think straight. And then I saw that hat and your face underneath. I will never forget it. I wish I knew who made that hat because for all of the drama I had just gone through, seeing a tiny baby in a fuzzy hat was exactly what I needed.
I cannot wait to see what the next month brings us. The next year. The next lifetime. You are an amazing miracle that I can only take partial credit for in reality. You have my loud voice and set of powerful lungs, but your spirit is all you, kid. Don’t ever forget it.
My dear, sweet Ellie. My Squirmy Wormy. Daddy’s Ellie Monster.
You are the spitting image of your Daddy’s side of the family, especially your Papa Mac. In fact, when I couldn’t see you for that first day of your life and your Daddy brought me video and pictures of you as you learned to breathe in this world, I was shocked to see your Papa Mac’s face in them. He’s been gone over two years now, but he lives on in you.
You rarely stop moving. I have to remind myself that normal newborn babies cannot do the things you can physically. In the NICU, you were holding your own pacifier in your mouth and kicking your legs out to the side. I remember feeling that while you were on the inside. Now, your Daddy and I are no longer surprised when we go to get you from your crib and you’ve crawled (on your back mind you) out of your swaddle and halfway across the crib. You can suck your thumb like a champ. You are just waiting until you figure out how to walk and then it will likely be two steps before you’re sprinting across the room. You’re welcome to do anything you want in life, but if you fail to enjoy sports or dance or gymnastics, I think it would be a shame. I’ve never had the energy you do and I’d kill to have it.
The first day of your life was spent away from me. But as your Daddy brought me pictures and video, I saw a warrior. Not surprisingly, you were named after two great female warriors: Eleanor Roosevelt and my Nana. It’s not surprising given these names that you are every bit of a force to be reckoned with as they were.
Like your sister, it turns out you have some tummy troubles as well. We switched you to the new formula last night and while I can tell it’s better than before, you’re still working some of the old stuff out of your system. I know when you have fussed the past few days that this is not the Ellie I know. Because of that, it kills me to see you this way. You’re the girl who can put yourself to sleep, not the one who cannot be consoled. I look forward to seeing your smile again…even if it is just from gas while you sleep.
Never stop kicking. Never stop using your body. Never stop feeling comfortable as you do things way too advanced for your age. You are every bit the starshine I need. While your sister reminds me of myself and the lessons that will come with that will be immeasurable, you strike me as the soul who will teach me to let go of some of the things I’ve carried around for too long. God knows you have the strength to do that already.
You may have your daddy’s looks, but you’re a person we’ve never encountered before…and that brings me so much joy to watch you move about this world in the way only you can.
Dear Brooklyn the Dog:
You are the best canine big sister ever.
If only you could change diapers.
Your Proud Mama
P.S. Spencer is not trying to harm the babies. I swear. Nor is he trying to take your bone. I’d keep an eye on Lucy, though.