My Dearest T,
This morning you returned to school after a long winter break excitedly saying, “Mommy, this is my first day of school as a eight year old!” Eight years after your entrance into the world, you remain bright and vibrant as the sun and your exuberant spirit can lift anyone from the darkest days.
I still can’t believe how fast the past eight years flew by and as I write this, all our memories flash before my eyes like an old filmstrip that I wish to recover but can’t. I know I should find solace in our thousands of pictures and memories etched deep inside my heart yet I can’t help but to feel a tinge of sadness that you are no longer a baby. It makes me wonder if this is how your grandmother felt when I turned eight years old. You see my child, you always inspire me to reflect on valuable life lessons, including those I somehow missed while raising your sister.
Today, I feel this sudden urge to go back to 8 years ago to the day you were born. I even chuckle at the thought of wanting to start all over again as I know time cannot be retrieved. I know I begged you to fall asleep more quickly last night as you were going to bed, but I must continue to remind myself to enjoy every bedtime kiss because you are growing every minute, the way you did since the moment I held you in my arms for the first time.
I still remember the day you were born like yesterday. I started having contractions on the morning of my due date in the form of a dull ache in the bottom of my belly. It came and went, and came and went in tiny waves. I was beyond excited as it was finally time to see you for the first time, although I already knew you by your tiny kicks and movements in my body for months now. We left your sister with grandparents and daddy took mommy to the hospital.
Labor soon began and you entered the world that evening at 5:02 pm. When it was time to push, you came out so easily I remember saying “That’s it?” to the nurses after what felt like a few minutes. Unlike the first time, your birth was fairly smooth and I was lucky to be able to breathe in every detail of your first minutes with a clear head and grateful heart.
You were smaller than your sister at 6 pounds and 6 ounces with a head full of dark hair. I still remember you squinting your eyes at me with the cutest wrinkles around your forehead and nose. My heart leaped with joy at your cuteness. I thought you were the most beautiful little person in the world.
A few weeks later daddy brought home a doll that looks just like you. You eventually named her “Mimi” and still sleep with her every night. And until this day, you make the same wrinkly nosed face when you smile at me as if you already know that it’s my favorite face in the whole world.
When you were born, your older sister was about 20 months old. By this time we knew your sister needed early intervention, so you have no idea how grateful I was when you began to walk and talk on time. God first gave me your sister to teach me patience, perseverance and strength, then he brought you into my life to consecrate his plans. Through both of you, He gave me the courage & faith to let go of my selfish desires and plans, for his plans are more perfect than our own. I let go and he gave me you. You brought so much love and joy to this family and completed us by being the perfect youngest child and little sister to Elle.
To be honest, there were many nights when I cried myself to sleep because being a mother was so hard sometimes especially when no tests and therapies seemed to work for your sister. I often felt like I failed as a mother and a deep sense of guilt and regret crept in whenever I was mentally and physically exhausted.
It’s as if God already knew this, because through you He taught me that I had not failed as a mother. I was truly special in his eyes, because he trusted me with two beautiful girls like you & your sister. How loved and blessed I am. You see my child, you help me to love myself more deeply during difficult moments and help me to grow as a woman.
I still remember your adorable bob hairstyle that brought out your spunky personality. I remember the years of princess phase during which you would go through countless plastic princess shoes and glittery dresses.
I remember your funny little dances in diapers. The mess you make with your food. The way you climb on your daddy’s back like a monkey. The way you hold me at night and kiss me over and over again. The way you call me Mommy Queen.
The way you throw tantrums, get in trouble, then quickly turn around to tell me you are sorry. Your countless drawings that began as soon as your tiny fingers can grasp a crayon.
The way you love me despite my mistakes as a mother. How quickly you forgive. How easily you love. How thoughtful you are. How your eyes light up when you come across something you like. How you make that wrinkle nosed smile over and over again. How you still like to be held like a baby with your head gently rested against my chest. How you and I discovered our sweet spot when holding each other so we can feel each other’s heart beating. I remember all these and much more—and cherish every moment we shared since the day you were born.
My sweet T, there is no way I can capture my love for you in words. I love, love and love you so much from the deepest part of my heart. And I thank you for entering this world as my daughter because you are so right for me. You are so similar to me, yet so different. I still can’t get over how similar you are with your dad sometimes. You help me to see a piece of his childhood that I find it easier to embrace his flaws and mistakes. You help me to love more deeply and unconditionally. You fit into my life like a puzzle piece and I can’t imagine a child more perfect for me than you. If I was given one wish, I’d wish to go back and do it all over again.
I miss the infant you, the one year old you, the two year old you, the preschool you and the kindergarten you. I wish I held you a little tighter and loved you even more. But knowing that time cannot be retrieved, all I can do now is love you more deeply and cherish every minute of your eighth year.
Happy 8th birthday my child, this is going to be another amazing year for you and me.