I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now… I’m going to start writing letters to Ruby.
Why Ruby? Well, she’s my only daughter. And as such, she is going to likely be the only one that comes to me when she has issues with her own kids. Not that daughters-in-law will not one day come to me – if they do, I will give these letters to them as well. A little about the struggle, a little about to shine. A little about how it feels to be in the trenches. I don’t know that I will write regularly, but I will write when it needs to come out. So here goes.
You just recently turned five years old. Ronan is seven, Ryder is three, Rory is 8 months, and I am 32.
This is my first letter to you. I wish I had thought to start them sooner, but better than not at all. I am a mama of four. I’m trying to write this as I sit here with three littles playing loudly on the floor. I’ve already been interrupted three times, and yet I will power on – because this matters.
I hope you are reading these because you have a baby or two. I hope you see me every few days. I hope we are close, and talk every day. I hope you ask me questions and I have pointed you to these letters because I’m in a different season, and I can’t remember how to answer the questions you have.
There are so many wonderful cliches that describe parenting. So many quips and one-liners that reduce it all down. “This too shall pass.” “The days are long, but the years are short.” But they don’t really explain what it’s like. They don’t capture the highest highs and the lowest lows. There is nothing like being in the middle of it. I have already forgotten the blur of the newborn days, the sleepless nights. I know I will forget this.
You are a treasure at five years old, Ruby. You love to be helpful. You ask, “What can I do to help you, mama?” Especially when I am struggling. You clean up rooms without anyone asking you to. You are undeniably sensitive, just like me. You can’t handle big emotions of others. Ryder is awful to you. Ronan is in school most days, you miss him dearly. And you love Rory with EVERY OUNCE of your being. I ask you a thousand times every day to give Rory some space. If you could, I think you would merge your body with his to never be without him. Your love for your dada is so huge. Jump-hugs are your favorite thing. You adore singing and dancing. You are a wonderful painter. Right now, you enjoy telling “once upon a time” stories, and they are always captivating. You are SURE you want to be a princess, which means wearing pretty dresses. I hope somewhere along the way, you learn that you ARE a princess, regardless of what you wear or how you look.
My days are a blur right now. A blur of meeting needs and wiping bottoms and feeding bellies. The absolutely brilliant beauty of giggles and hugs, games and songs; the oppressing darkness of tantrums and yelling, hitting and rage – both from children and from myself. I go to therapy, now, because I feel like I’m not the kind of mother you beautiful children deserve. I’m see my therapist once a week in order to learn how to be calm and peaceful. How to tame the anger that keeps finding its way to the surface so easily. I hope that, as a mother, I have raised you to be better, more mindful. I hope that, if I haven’t, and you are struggling… you never feel alone as you walk the path to peace.
A jumble of park days and pool days and play dates and screen time. Sometimes we do crafts and sometimes we spend the entire day on the couch. We have dance parties and pity parties and lots of grocery shopping trips. I take a million pictures, because every moment is a moment I want to look back on. I love you with all of my heart. I love your father with all of my being. I love myself too, because that is REALLY important. I struggle to find the balance between being excited for what the future brings, and living as fully present in this moment as I can – where you and Ryder are playing, Rory is standing next to you, and I’m sitting on the couch writing this letter.
Life is just as beautiful as it is hard.
“The lowest of her lows must match the high of her highs.”