A letter to my daughter, on the last day she was my only.
I wrote this letter a year ago today, as I was getting ready to head to the hospital to welcome our second baby. Ruth was born the next day.
Tonight I have an appointment. I’m leaving you at home with your grandmother for a couple of days, and when I come back, our family, and your life, will be forever changed. Because, assuming all goes well, I will soon bring home your baby sister. There is no greater gift that I could ever give you than a sister. You will know each other best and go through your whole lives together. You will share childhood memories that nobody else will hold and secrets that even I won’t be allowed into. You will throw each other’s bridal showers and surprise birthday parties. You will cry and laugh together, fight often and make up quickly. You will be each other’s biggest guardians and champions, because nobody messes with a sister. One day, when your dad and I are gone, you will still be there for each other. There is no greater gift that I could ever give you than a sister. I know this because I have siblings of my own. And yet, as I go through the motions of getting our home ready for this new baby, I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of the change we are putting you through, a change that you didn’t ask for. You were my baby and my only child for three whole years. And now, nothing will ever be the same. In the past weeks we potty trained you and got you a big girl bed. And while it’s the right time to do both, the truth is I feel like we forced you to grow up on our timeline, to become a big girl, when in my eyes you are still my baby. When this new baby comes, you will no longer be my baby. What little patience I have now will be split even further. I’ll be exhausted for a long time, adjusting to a major change myself. You will now have to share your books, your toys, your clothes, your bathtime and eventually your bedroom with a tiny human you’ve never met. You will no longer have my undivided attention. Am I a good enough mom to make up for all of this? Am I capable of loving two people as much as I love you? Knowing your time as our only child is coming to an end breaks my heart a little every day. And so even though my body aches at nine months of pregnancy, I do my best to spend precious time with you. Last night I took you to our favorite burger place, where you and I have had mommy daughter dates for as long as you’ve been eating solid foods. After we were done we walked home hand in hand, and on the way it started to rain. You laughed, delighted, looking up and getting wet, and we started walking even slower. Did you know this would be a memory I would hold forever? My sweet baby girl, my first born daughter, you made me a mom, you changed my life. You made me a much stronger woman and a better human. You are smart, joyful, empathetic and loving. You will be the world’s best big sister. And there’s a part of my heart that will always be just yours. I love you, Dora. My baby girl.