Thursday, April 21, 2016

A letter, finally penned

I've written many letters to you in my head over the years, an incredible amount over the last 9 months. Sitting on the bus composing away, combing all my thoughts and feelings to find the best words to express what it is I want to say.

But every time I bring pencil to paper (or more oft, fingers to keyboard) I'm at a loss. Where to start?

Should I start with how I'm one of those girls that didn't ever really decide that I would or wouldn't be a mom- I just started mothering one day, and haven't really stopped since. (I'm sure countless would roll their eyes, sigh, and nod their heads...not everybody wants to be mothered.). But we knew, your dad and I, that we wanted children-a big (or small) home with doors wide open and a place that many would call home. We dreamt of a family and have prayed daring and difficult prayers about what our family will look like. And now you are at the door, will arrive at almost any moment. And we are so happy it is you.

But in saying that, I fear I must confess there was a time, a few years back, when I declared I wouldn't choose to mother a daughter. I think because I know what it is to be a girl. Sometimes I am afraid you won't be anything like me-that I will make you roll your eyes and stomp your feet (and well...I'm sure I will), other times I'm terrified that you will be like me- oh what a difficult burden that will be to bear... What an impossibly large thing to imagine- this blessing and responsibility to raise a child in the way she should go. A few years ago, your dad and I were sitting in our candle lit house on our little island at the edge of the world, and as your father read aloud from the Tongan dictionary (yes, he has always been this way-let's you and I make fun of him together) we both suddenly knew who it was we would be waiting for.

When we first said your name, I knew it was right. That we would have this beautiful baby girl and she would hopefully be so much like her father (who is far gentler, more patient, and kind than I) and from me take just a pinch of my passion and spunk (because that's really all you would need). And I've known, and I guess in some seasons, just hoped, that you would come, and that God is preparing for you some amazing things.

I thought I would be the kind of pregnant woman that was ALL about my pregnancy. What I'm eating, how much I'm sleeping-reading the books and taking the classes. I thought I would jump in to it 110%, because, well, I tend to be a 110% type of person. But in some ways I'm so glad that you came in this season. Because a few years ago, I wasn't ready  was less ready to be a mom than now. I was not so sure of myself, not so ...grounded. And I think I would have been ALL ABOUT you, in an unhealthy way, in a way that my sense of purpose and completion would have needed to come from you. I don't want that for you, and I don't want that for me. Maybe I am still not so grounded, but I know me so much more than I did. And I'm so happy to say that you will be loved and adored by me, but I will continue to be more than just "Baby Coop's mother". I hope and pray that you will see this in a positive and inspiring way as you grow older.

When I told your dad that we were (finally!) pregnant, he literally danced and jumped and smiled and screamed around the living room. I just want you to picture your dad doing that for a moment, because it is just so sweet and just so him. I'm pretty sure from Day 1 he called you by name-never doubted you were our baby girl we dreamed up and hoped for. I went along with this but as the time came nearer to hearing the gender from the doctors, I made myself switch to gender neutral names. Not your dad- he knew that he knew. His face was priceless in the doctor's office when we finally got the confirming news- a girl! He mocked my "lack of faith" and has been bursting with the pure joy of you since.

When I learned I was pregnant I tried to become more aware of my days-of my body, my habits, my emotions, my thoughts. The week I found out I was pregnant with you I had a call from a colleague who offered counselling services to the people we served. She had been on the phone with a young woman who was on the roof of her building (holding her infant child) and threatening to jump. As she coached me over the phone about what to say, I walked towards the building and up those steep stairs. I was a bundle of thoughts and feelings- Heart pounding, adrenaline racing, despair of the deepest kind, and fear. And always then and since then I have thought of you- my baby whom I love and am meant to protect. I have tried my best to manage my emotions- the fear and stress and anger, but it has been difficult and I have felt them all the more fully to realize what it is I would do for you, and the things I witness others doing to someone else's babies. Let the world cry out with the injustice of it all.

I have been worried and distracted by this job. And because of that, this is just the first actual written letter to you. Because of that, instead of hanging decorations in your nursery today, I did H's laundry  (because he flies soon and I have all his belongings since his arrest to the detention center). At the end of the day, baby you will not know if all of the pictures were hung and the room was pristine before your arrival or a few weeks later. But I am sorry, all the same, that I carried you through these things I have carried you through, that I have not always had the time to savor every moment of you and this pregnancy, and that maybe some of your perceptions of this world are already skewed a bit dark. We can talk about it all one day-but in the meantime I'm just giving it to God.

You are at the door, will arrive at almost any moment. We are filled with so much joy and anticipation. You have what feels like hundreds of "brothers" and "sisters" waiting to meet you. Not to mention grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so many others who already love you to pieces. We can't wait to meet you, hold you, kiss you, even though we aren't quite sure what we will do with you yet. I guess we will learn together.

With abounding love,

your mama

1 comment:

  1. Oh goodness, Alissa. This is incredible. What a luck girl little you have.

    Thanks for sharing this treasure with us!!