Dear Gracie and Lukie,
I've been thinking about writing you a letter recently. I started this blog when I was in the hospital to keep track of how I was progressing on keeping you tucked safely inside and as an outlet for all of the frustration I felt at being cooped up in the hospital while Daddy was at Grandma's house (he broke his leg after flirting with nurses and could not come visit me because he could not drive himself any where). As Aunt Becca will tell you, I have a terrible memory. If I don't write things down, I simply forget what happened or what I need to accomplish. She is forever making fun of me because I have forgotten events that are so clear in her memory. They simply don't exist in mine. Often, even after she has told me most of the background of a particular event in our childhood, I'm still clueless about it.
Maybe that's not entirely true. I remember a lot of things, things that to me define who I am as a person. I remember Mrs. Crossman, my first grade teacher, and her hugs. I remember scary Mrs. Clifton and her fake, looooong acrylic nails. I remember Mr. Lounsbury and that silly guppy that he put in a jar to prove to us in 6th grade that fish breathe oxygen, too (Ask me about this some day. It is a particularly awful memory. Gruesome, but still a funny story!). I remember running around Auntley's backyard with Aunt Becca and Auntie Ten Ten, pretending we were airplanes taking off. I remember snuggling under the freezing sheets in the back bedroom at Auntley's apartment, wishing desperately that they would warm up quickly. I remember, riding my bike, the one with the flowers on the seat, holding my hands in the air, so proud that I did not need to have my hands on the steering wheel. I remember the very first time Nana told me she was proud of me (she told me in a letter when I was 16 years old). I remember the look on your Daddy's face as I walked down the aisle. I remember the way he looked at me when I told him I was pregnant and the terror on his face 23 weeks later when you tried to come early. I remember the terrifying labor pains as I lay in Labor and Delivery, hoping against hope that Dr. H would be able to stop you from coming so early. And, I remember those beautiful first cries when you two were born. The most amazing sound I have ever heard.
Maybe, I hold close those memories that mean the most to me. Everything else is just life and once it passes, it is gone. Maybe that is why I "forget" so many things.
This blog has become my way of keeping track of "life." Someday, one or both of you are going to come and ask me about when you were little or when I was pregnant and I may have forgotten those little "life" memories. I want a place where I can come back and say, "Here you go! Oh, and by the way there's video so you can see what really happened!" I really hope that this blog becomes my memory book of your lives. I can only imagine you coming back here to read these posts as adults.
Technically, you won't be 17 months old until almost 9 pm Thursday night. For some reason, your age has been on my mind a lot lately. I keep calling you my babies, but you really aren't babies any more. You are toddlers. Children. And yet, I can't seem to call you those things. I want you to stay little for just a touch longer. I know that inevitably you will grow up. You will start to talk and Gracie will start calling water "water" and juice "juice" instead of calling all liquids "agua." Eventually, Lukie will say, "Give me" or "Da me" instead of "meme." While I am thrilled at the idea of you growing up, learning and developing, part of me will stay sad that you aren't my little babies any more.
Three years ago, I had a conversation with Aunt Becca that I had had with her many times. I was lamenting the idea that I would never be a mommy. Daddy was always so sick and I was clearly not in shape. I pulled out all the "Woe is me!" stuff and she listened. She kept telling me that I would be a Mommy one day. In my heart, I did not believe her. I was so very sad and just not feeling very optimistic about anything. When I think of that time, I feel like such a ninny. I let all the bad things in my life make me think that you were not even a possibility. I can't believe I wasted my tears on such negativity.
Nana used to hold me to the 3 happy thoughts for 1 complaint rule. I thought I had outgrown it until she pulled it on me again a few months ago. If I ever have to pull out that rule for you two, you know who to blame. The rule, while obnoxious when all you want to do is complain for an hour, is important. Life can pull some pretty crappy things on you. It can leave you out of your house for an indeterminate amount of time. It can make your spouse sick and in the hospital for weeks and weeks. It can make your babies sick and teething at the same time. But what it can't do, what you should never let it do, is take away your ability to see the blessings in your life. Your life is an amazing gift. Stop and be thankful for what you have. I'll demonstrate:
1) We have a home.
2) Daddy is getting better.
3) We have family who love us and want to help us.
4) We have family who like us and want to spend time with us!
5) We have money to buy food and gas and pay our bills.
6) We have each other.
These are all things to be thankful for and every time I start to feel "Woe is me!", I stop and remind myself of them. The number one thing I think when I am feeling the saddest is "I have Gracie and Luke." You are my number one thing to be thankful for in life. I hope that you never live a day not knowing how much I love you and am thankful for the gift of you.
Because, truly, there is nothing more amazing than you.
I Love You,