Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Letter to Tommy

Dear Tommy,

You are the absolute light of my life. I know these past months have been tumultuous, to say the least. We spent most of our days together, just the two of us, and then suddenly this baby appeared. Wait, let me back up. Before the baby appeared, I left for a couple of days. Something I had never done before. You came to visit me in the hospital. Daddy had you all dressed up to meet your new brother and to appear in photos of the big event. When you saw me, you cried. You ran away from me. I'm not sure why you did this. You couldn't tell me; you weren't talking much yet. But I can guess you were feeling pretty overwhelmed with emotions. Boy, so was I. I cried too, when I saw you. Because I knew everything was different, and I knew you were hurting. And I knew I couldn't take away your hurt this time. I could be there for you, but I couldn't make it better.

On a show I watched, a character said, "You don't love anything like you love your first born." That line has stuck with me since I heard it. It resonates so strongly, because it's true. It's not that I love your brother less than you. There is no more or less when it comes to love of one's children. It's just that the experience I had and am having with you - well, there is nothing like it. You made me a mother. And for that I will always be grateful. For that, you will always have a special place in my heart.

When I was expecting Oliver, people saw you and me together and they gave me lots of advice for taking care of two young children. They even gave me advice for helping you with jealousy that might arise. Many people suggested I include you in the care of the baby, or suggested I make you my special helper. But what no one told me what I might feel. And what I felt was gutted. Completely torn apart. I felt helpless to help you. I felt like I had betrayed you. I felt for the first time, that you were going through something I couldn't fix, you had needs I couldn't meet.

After Oliver was born, people told me that to imagine what you were feeling, imagine how I would feel if my husband brought home another wife. I have no idea why someone would say this to an emotional, newly postpartum, sleep-deprived mother of two. Someone even upped the ante and suggested I imagine the second wife was younger and couldn't cook and clean. Wow. I tried to dismiss these suggestions as best I could. But then I thought, maybe a more apt comparison is how I would feel if you brought home another mother. Jealous as hell, is how. Betrayed, is how.

We are getting through this, you and me. While I was putting you to bed last night, Oliver started crying in the next room. You heard him and you said, "Get Oliver." You two smile at each other, and I have a feeling you are going to be fast friends. I know things will continue to get better. But that doesn't mean this hasn't been hard.

I love you, Buddy. With everything I am and everything I've got. You're my little guy.

Love,

Mommy

18 comments:

  1. Anna,

    All of your letters are beautiful and heartfelt. As I read through them I am getting a peek into a life that is full of love and hurdles and beauty and rough edges. I can relate to so much of what you say- from the way you miss your dad and the Holland poem you lean on- it was my go to in the years following my dad's death, to the quote about love for a first born, to your lovely letter to your hairdresser. Thanks for sharing these with your writing community.

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    1. Thank you Lisa! I'm really enjoying writing these letters. I didn't intend to keep this format the entire month but so far it's still working. I really appreciate your comments so much.

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  2. What a beautiful letter to your son! I also can't imagine the "analogies" you were given . . . you were smart to dismiss it! I think you and your sons are going to be fine!

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  3. Beautiful letter. Keep it and give it to him when he has his first born or maybe better, his second born!

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    1. Oh yes, when he has his second, I like that!

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  4. I'm sorry it has been hard. The cliche says that it will get better, and it should but it might not and that will be okay because the love for both of your sons shines through. Best wishes on your journey of motherhood with two.

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    1. Thank you Cindy! I am working hard to accept things as they are and stay in the moment with these two great little guys.

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  5. This is a lovely letter! I agree: having the second doesn't change how you feel about the first. Now that number two at our house is 3.5, my kids are best buddies and have so much fun together. I know there is still jealousy about where I put my time, but I feel they are a gift to each other. I hope they will be friends for life!

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    1. That's true, they'll have their own relationship separate from me. So sweet!

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  6. Ok ...completely bawling. I felt the exact same way when I left for the hospital to have my second son. They are two years apart and are the best of friends now (14 and 16) Don't get me wrong - they have their moments, but they always have each other's backs. It will take time -- I felt guilty for a long time, but soon as their relationship develops they have something apart from you and it is so cool. This is a great post -- I love your letters!!

    Clare

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    1. This gives me such comfort. Thank you Clare!

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  7. This made me cry. I completely relate. Alex didn't talk to me when we brought Megan home. It was so hard. But having a sibling really is a special gift. They will be best buds. I love your letters.

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  8. I think you are doing something really important here, you are letting your son have his feelings and you are letting yourself have yours. I love the analogy of your son bringing home another mother - how hard that would be?! Spot on and insightful.

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  9. I think you are doing something really important here, you are letting your son have his feelings and you are letting yourself have yours. I love the analogy of your son bringing home another mother - how hard that would be?! Spot on and insightful.

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  10. I just read your letters. What an awesome format!

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    1. Thank you Samantha! I'm having a lot of fun writing them.

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  11. I just read your letters. What an awesome format!

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