My Dear Children,
Just in case you ever find yourself wondering how deeply, how truly, you really are loved, let me be the first to tell you. I love you with every fiber of my being. And yes, that is a lot of material. I love you with all of the breath that has ever been and ever will be in my lungs. I love you with every ba-bump-ba-bump beating of my hope-filled heart. I love you taller than all of the world’s mountains stacked on top of each other from end to end. I love you as long as every piece of spaghetti could stretch from here to the moon, tie themselves around it in a bow, and come back again.
I love your hearts. I love your minds. I love the questions that you use to fill up every bit of silence. I love your tight hugs, and your slobbery kisses on my possibly Aleut cheek. I love your hair in the mornings, and how you love to hear me sing in the evenings. How singing to you feels a lot like all of motherhood summed up together; starting something that I don’t know if I’ll be good at, trying to seem calm as I desperately try to do my best, the going on when my voice cracks, honoring your jukeboxes of requests, falling in love even more with your sweet little faces, and watching over you for as long as it takes for you to feel safe, and finally let yourself relax.
I love all of our jokes, and the ways that we double over with laughter. I love how you not only make me better, but you make me braver. I love watching your personality emerge as you are introduced to new situations. I love that I get to know you, and for that alone I am deeply grateful.
I love your late night giggles, when you are supposed to be sleeping. I love catching you being sweet to each other, when you don’t know I’m looking. I love watching you hold hands with each other in public, how you embrace life together. I love that having a big family makes life a kind of constant playdate, but a good one, not the ones I hate. I love how it feels to walk into every situation un-alone, with the strength of our numbers, keeping us afloat. How I am myself, but also your mother, how we are I’s but also a We, something bigger and better than just ourselves.
I love having so many things to live for, am deeply grateful for so many reasons to get out of bed each morning. I know that you are worth it, all of it, and so does your father. Even as we sometimes fumble in our learning to love each other, I hope you know that you are so much of why we keep trying to go on. And also, that we do truly love each other.
I love watching you use your strengths. I love that you are adventurers, bursting with excitement to explore new things. I love that you are nurturing, and how you try to teach each other the things that you are learning. I love the ways that you make this world better, how each lap around the sun, feels kinder.
I love that you challenge me, that you raise the bar on who I can be. I love your ideas and your insights. I love that you see things with an aerial view, from somewhere above what we all thought was truth. I love the way you smile when you are proud of something you have done. Love watching you push your physical boundaries to do things you didn’t know could be done.
I love how you rub your eyes when you are sleepy. How you look huddled in pools of blankets. How you ask for a drink of my coffee each day, and how you pretend to like it, even though I see you grimace at its taste. I love how you MomMomMomMomMomMom me, because it means that you still need me. I love that you are learning that you can do the hard things, that you have the ethics and morals to do the right things.
I love how you assume the best about people. That your innocence is a reminder of things I had long ago forgotten, but needed desperately to remember. I love how it feels to have your little arms around me. How you curl up in my lap, once again near my heartbeat.
I love your loud laughter, and how every night our upstairs sounds like a slumber party. How your giggles ricochet around our house like a thunderstorm of pink bubbles, amazingly loud, and bursting against silent, white walls.
I love that you are, as yet, unencumbered by the opinions and doctrines of others. I love that you are honest, and have a deep sense of what is true. I love that you look for the good in others. That you weigh your actions with their immediate consequences, especially on the hearts that love you.
I love watching you make things right with each other; getting to guide you through hurts and back to healthy interactions. I love watching the hard shells that try to wrap around your hearts when you are offended, be tapped by tiny hammers, until they crack, and you are ready to forgive and be yourself again. I love watching you hug, and set broken things right, then go play together, bonded more strongly for having gone through whatever happened, together . It humbles me, and helps me know that you will be okay, long after my wrinkled body has left this earth.
I love you. The real you. The ins and outs, and ups and downs, you. The you you’re proud of, and the you that you hide. The parts that ring with courage, and the parts that run scared. I love you when you are wrong, and I love you when you’re right. I love you in sunshine, and through the darkness of night. I have loved you young, I will love you old. Whether you are disobedient, or do what you’re told. I will love you high, I will love you low. Through winter’s grey, and past summer’s glow. I love you. I will love you. More than you know.