A Letter to a Big Girl

I wrote the following a few nights ago.  Excuse the late post!
Dear Sweet Daughter-of-Mine,

I know most of my letters to you mention you sleeping next to me.  Someday you may understand that the night’s quiet is a mama’s recess.  And again, you and your little tootie sis are here: bottoms up in the air, nearly touching, with blankets draped carefully…

Downstairs there are balloons, streamers, and somewhere buried in a drawer is your “birthday” banner.  I suppose I could hang it for the sister workers arriving tomorrow: it boldly says, “Bienvined@s!”  

I think back four years to the night I labored to bring you into the world…

I didn’t know at that moment how fast time would fly!  I didn’t realize that the pain, anxiety, and fear of the unknown would be such a contrast to the sunshine you brought into my world.  And I had no idea that your birth would later be an achievement for me–that in that moment I could take in the world.  And win.

You are my sweetest companion!  You’re constantly by my side, and with me on every errand!  You ride in my buggy, marking off items on my grocery list, begging me for sugary cereal, princess crowns, and another Playdoh.  You skip along beside me whining when I rush into the school, and playfully run off to hide every chance you get!  You sneak into my bathtub, pull up a stool when I cook, and demand to be at my side during meals, meeting, and bedtime.  You, my sweet, are a pain…and a joy…

Yesterday, as I combed your hair, I found a thin silver hair–and I pointed it out to Victor.  A little streak of wisdom shooting through the top of your crown–reminding your momma to listen when you speak.  “Everything dies, right, Mama?”you said a couple weeks ago as I mourned our lost chicks.  

Slow down, my love! 

You’re growing up too fast, and your mama isn’t prepared for the big version of you…

Happy Birthday, Little Ale!
Love, 
Mama

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A Letter to My Youngest (on the Brink of her First Birthday)

img_4658Dear Little Jo-Jo,

My sweet, rambunctious, bien traviesa daughter… it is hard to believe you will be one in two weeks.  And at the same time, it’s hard to believe that you haven’t been part of our family forever.  You sure did take your time getting here–and we waited anxiously for your arrival.  I should have known then that you would be stubborn and ready to take us by storm!

I love seeing you light up, my love.  Your face is like a thousand suns when Sissy and I come home from school.  You twinkle and scream Dada! across the meeting when you see him glance your way.  Even other people you see in the street, in meeting, at the store… they can’t resist your charm!  I hope you stay this friendly forever.

img_4581Sissy sure does love you too, but sometimes it may not feel like it.  And you know what, sometimes you agitate her to the point her patience!  I just watched as Sissy arranged her toys, then walked outside.  As soon as she turned her back, you ran over to the little table, grabbed the Barbie, and proudly took off with her.  Poor Sis didn’t even know what was going on when she walked back into the room–but you did!  Oh! you little tootie!  I hope you and your sister will always be this inseparable!

 

Papi says you won’t let him rest during the day, and I tend to believe him.  He said you stand at the door and scream at him until he brings you outside to his work area.  And then when it is time to rest, he swears that you won’t sleep without him cuddling you.  What a cuddle bug you are!  I love seeing how you look at your Papi, and I hope that adoration last forever too!

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You’ve filled parts of my heart I didn’t know were empty, little girl, with your rat-a-tat-tat feet and your toothy smile.  And I sure do look forward to another year with you in our lives.

Love always,
Your Mama

 

A Letter to My Girls 

  
Dear Darling Daughters,

Words can’t begin to express the joy that fills my heart when I watch you play.  There’s a closeness you have that I pray you will keep forever!  Once I worried about adding another baby to our family, and I find myself in that place of contentment and happiness again.  How could life ever become better, sweeter, than it is now?

This morning I snuck downstairs to start making breakfast while you snoozed happily away.  I don’t worry as much about leaving now that you have each other to keep company.  I cooked, cleaned the kitchen, mopped, and then you, my sweet big girl, appeared.  “I was sleeping,” you said, laughing, “and then Josie woke me up!”  Together we went to get our smiling happy baby ready for our day.

Tonight we sat together looking at photos as I prepared Josie’s paperwork for her American documents.  We exclaimed together over photos of our first baby learning to “read.”  We watched videos of you crawling, eating spaghetti, laughing… And, in a matter of minutes, we watched you grow all over again!  Time passed before our eyes, and while you were busy, your daddy and I talked.  We talked about life before you–how young and skinny we were. We talked about the stories behind the photos. We talked about today:  “Mama, I love you,” you said.  “I love you too, honey,” I replied.  “That’s music to my ears!” you fired back with a sweet smile.  We talked about you playing with your friends and trying out your Spanish for a while.  We talked about you being “too busy to play caballito with Josie.”  

Ahhh… My heart is so full! My cup runneth over!   

Sweet babies, I look forward to what tomorrow might bring: your sweet giggles, the cuddles and kisses, and the memories being made.  I know that tomorrow there will also be a point where my frustration will rise as my patience slowly fades.  I hope that isn’t the moment that you or I remember.  Even as I write this, I remember a moment last week. While grumpy, I managed to keep an even voice as I corrected you.  “Okay, mama,” you said, “I can do that.  Thank you for talking nice to me.” 

You, my girls, are growing before my eyes, and I want to remember every touch of your hand–holding onto mine as you nurse, grabbing my face as you kiss me goodbye…again…and again…  I want to remember the twinkle in your eye when you ask for pancakes.  I want to remember the grunt you let out as you demand attention, and the fullness of your smile when you receive it–pushing up onto your hands, ready to crawl. I want to remember the way you talk to yourself as you play.  And those moments of you together, when you ask me for the millionth time what your sister said with each coo she emits. 

You, my dear, sweet girls, are the sun in our day.  Shine on us.  Let us revolve around you a bit and collect your warmth.  You help our family grow.  You give us light and life.  Shine on, sweet girls.

Until tomorrow, sleep tight in my arms.
Love,
Mama
   

A Letter to My Three-nager on Mother’s Day

Dear Three-Year Old,

Today is Mexican Mother’s Day.  My day.  So I’ve decided to come clean:  You aren’t always fun.

This occurred to me today as you jumped back and forth on the bed, routinely pinching my cheeks as if I were a cute little kid who caught your fancy.  When I scolded you gently for hurting me, you laughed, dancing away out of my reach.  Once you found the eyebrow brush, you were back: sweeping my hair into my eyes with that vicious little comb giggling as I fought back the urge to scream.

When did we get to this place, you little shit sugar plum?  Aren’t you supposed to wait another 10 years before you get on my nerves?

While I am at it, what is so fun about drawing on the walls??  I mean, I get you coloring books.  I get you giant white paper.  We bought you an easel.  We bought chalk and fun crayons.  So why did you sneak out of the room with the black sharpie hidden in your skirt-tails, then quickly uncap it and write on the walls before I could get to you?  What’s the deal?  (And on walls made of concrete and flat paint, no less.  There will be no magic eraser magic enough to remove your masterpiece.)

You know what else?  It’s “Mudder’s Day” today.  What I really wanted was to go to Starbucks and eat a piadini with spinach and egg whites.  Those sandwiches are what my food dreams are made of these days.  But where did we end up for “Mudder’s Day” supper?  Happy Chicken.  YOUR favorite place.  And then, you little booger, you didn’t eat three bites.  Full disclosure:  next “Mudder’s Day” you are going to eat a muffin for supper so that I can have what I want.

Little girl, you better count your lucky stars that these “no fun” moments are out-weighed by the super-fun moments.

You made us giggle behind our hands today as you scolded that poor little boy at Pollo Feliz.  “No gritas a tu papa y tu mama!” you told him, with a tone of firmness hidden in your sweetness.  Really, my love?  No yelling?  That’s the message you are going to send to another kid when our days, of late, are filled with your shrillness?  And what’s the deal with the Spanish?  Don’t you know I have been worried sick that you will be another Mexican kid who speaks no Spanish?  Now you decide it is the moment to unleash the skills of your linguistic-ness?

 It’s a good thing that “No” means the same thing in English and Spanish, because that is the most common word you are probably hearing right now.  No, you can’t take your sister down the slide.  She’s only three months.  No, you can’t put the balls from the ball pit in your mouth.  No, you have supper on the table, you can’t have ice cream instead.  No, that’s your third cup of juice, drink some water.  No, you can’t wear your tutu to meeting.  No, you can’t pour the shampoo in the bath to make bubbles for Barbie.  No, Sissy can’t be pulled on like that–she doesn’t like it.  No, you can’t stay up with Daddy, we have to sleep.

Sigh.  Mama’s tired, Ale.

We didn’t even bother to hide our amusement as you became the server at the coffee shop.  I have no idea how you dreamed up a “peanut butter surprise,” but it could be from the three times in three days I’ve caught you eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon. You might have your Papi fooled, but I see through you, Punkin’.  Today Daddy kept saying, “Ale is really beautiful, Jania.”  Ummm hmmm…  Back and forth you marched, Sassy Britches, in and out of the room asking questions about how we wanted our peanut butter surprise.  Those eyes were twinkling with all the mischief in the world.  (BTW, watch out, World…)

 
Daddy’s right, Love, you are beautiful.  Even in those moments when I wish you would just go away and let me wipe my tush in peace.  Or take a bath without you.  Or make bread without giving you jobs to keep busy.  See, even in those moments, I want you there.  It’s like you are the best and the worst part of my days all wrapped up in a ball of constant chatter and energy.  And if you weren’t there, it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t be “Mudder’s Day.”

No, you aren’t always fun.  But, just when I think I can’t take it anymore you do something adorable.

Thanks for making my day, Dear Child.

Love,
Your “mudder”

A Letter to Our New Baby

Dear Sweet Baby,

I am lying in bed in the middle of the day with you at my side.  You are starting to drift off to sleep, and your eyes keep fluttering shut.    Sissy is busy, and Daddy walked to the store, so we have a few minutes of just you and me. 

   

I can’t believe how much you’ve grown in nearly eight weeks!!  You have started to fill out, and your cheeks are so chubby!  I love watching your dimples when you flash a big smile at me when I talk to you.  

Tomorrow I leave you and Daddy for the first of many days where I have to go to work.  I don’t want to leave you, precious baby.  I don’t want to think about you growing without me, but I’ve been through this before:  Your first laugh will probably be at your silly daddy.  You will roll over with him as a witness.  You will reach out and grab his nose in wonder.  You will push up on all fours with Daddy watching you.  You will walk with Daddy, talk with your daddy, and play with Daddy at the park.  One day soon, I will come home and hear how big you are because of something new that you’ve done, and my heart will burst.  I will have to fake happiness, while secretly hiding my jealously.

For the next year, you and your daddy are going to be best friends. You will reach for him when you need something.  He will be the one to dry your little eyes and comfort you when you fall down.  Daddy will be your hero, and that’s okay.  He’s my favorite too.

Mama will steal moments with you at night while everyone else is asleep.  You and I will put your sister and daddy to bed; when they are fast asleep, we will get up and sneak out of the room.  We will cuddle together on the couch, and I will nurse you until the sandman visits you with dreams too. 

  
You’re asleep now, my love, and I hope you’re dreaming of me, because you are what MY dreams are made of.  

Love,

Your mama (on the eve of her return to work)

A Letter to My Almost-Two-Year-Old

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Hi My Baby,

Today it hit me like a ton of bricks.  You, my sweet angel, are almost two!  How did this happen?!  How did you grow so fast?!  Where have the last two years gone?

I remember two years ago: I was awaiting your arrival with great anticipation.  I must have washed your cloth diapers a dozen times–washing, hanging them to dry, folding them…  I spent my evenings making a blanket for you, and dreaming of the day I could hold you in my arms.  I watched video after video of other births, and prepared for my own by buying everything my doctor would need.  I began to envision the painless perfect moment you would be in my arms…

Now I watch you play with your puppy, both of you a tangle of limbs and bodies.  He pesters you by nipping at your ankles and following you around.  You boss him around, telling him, “No!” when he tries to take your toys or jump on you.  He’s a good fur brother for you to practice on before your space gets invaded by a real brother.  He’s also your first thought in the morning!  You come pitter-patting into the kitchen smiling long before your daddy.  Without waiting for mama to make her coffee, you walk to the door.  “Dog?” you ask, pulling on the knob.

You are a busy little girl!  You are currently “cleaning” with a sponge, but it won’t be long before you are on to something else.  I watch you play mommy with your babies, then set them aside to build towers of blocks.  I couldn’t be more proud of you, my love!  Your twinkling eyes flash mischeviously my way, right before your tower crashes to the floor spilling legos all over.  “Uh oh!” you cry out with glee.  It isn’t long before you begin singing the clean-up song, picking your blocks up to put in your grocery cart.

I know that one day this won’t be amusing, but I am proud of you for knowing what you want…or don’t want.  Your wagging finger and firm, “No,” in response to my question regarding bedtime makes me grin inside.  “Ale,” I ask, “Do you want to put on your pajamas?”  “No!” you say.  “Do you want to go play in the water?” I try out my fun version of asking you to take a bath.  “No!” I hear again.  Most of my questions are met with no–with the exception of one or two .  “Ale, do you want a cookie?”  “Si,” you say, smiling and reaching for a Maria.

“Pup,” you say to me, reaching your arms up to be held.  I snuggle you for as long as you let me, but you have so much to do!  Wiggling down, you run to your markers to write.  A few minutes later you tell me, “Bye,” as you blow me kisses and walk away.  You, my independent little girl, are so full of life!

Little Allie, your mama and daddy dreamed about your arrival two years ago–but those dreams just keep growing and changing with you.  I hope you always take time to play and enjoy those around you.  I hope you continue to keep busy with the things that interest you.  I hope you always feel powerful enough to stand up for yourself and say, “No.”  And I hope that you re never too big to want to climb up next to me for love and snuggles.

My almost-two-year-old, you are my all.

Lots of love,
Your Mami

A Letter to My (Not So) Sleepy Baby

Dear Little Girl,

Your mama is tired. No, I don’t think you understand. She is REALLY tired… A week of inconsistent sleep patterns is taking a toll on your old woman.

You know all of those nightly readings of Good Night Moon aren’t suggestions. “Good night moon. Good night cow jumping over the moon.” Really, little girl, you should just replace your name with anything mentioned after “Good night.” Good night, Ale. Good night, Ale. Good night, Ale.

I still love your snuggles. I still love your sweet voice. I still love your bright eyes. But please close them.

Sweet baby, I am loving every change. Your little voice makes my heart smile. To hear you singing makes me swell with pride. Watching you march all over the house like you own the place causes me to giggle. And when you slide up and down off the bed–or bounce around I sigh with resignation.

When I hear your voice at night, hear you singing at night, watch you sliding off the bed to walk around at night… Well… It isn’t so delightful at night. Do you know why, Pumpkin?

Nights are for sleeping.

So, my little sweet pea, when your mama comes home tonight exhausted after a day of work and college, be gentle. And when your mama orders food instead of cooking healthy, forgive her. And when your mama reads you a story and turns out the light, close your eyes. And for the love of all things sweet and kind, please, my precious, go to sleep.

Good night, moon.

And good night (I hope) to you,
Love,
Your very sleepy mama

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A Letter to My Sunshine

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You are my sunshine–my only sunshine.  You make me happy when skies are gray!  You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you.  Please don’t take my sunshine away…

Dear Sweet Little Girl,

I don’t think I will be able to find the words that describe just how special you are to me.  I remind you of what my mama told me: you will never know a mama’s love until you become one yourself.  Oh!  You fill up my heart until it is close to bursting!  I don’t see how I could ever love you more!

Everyday with you is special, but I find myself thinking of today.  Today is Mother’s Day in Mexico–and tomorrow is Mother’s Day in the United States.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I am YOUR mom.  You’ve set my world spinning, sweetheart, and I don’t think it will ever stop.  I couldn’t help but beam with pride when strangers greeted me today, “Felicidades, Mama!” they said.  I felt like they weren’t just wishing me well–but somehow each salutation was someone seeing you!

My little Ale-cat, your giggles and grins are so special to me!  Today as I changed your diaper you looked up at me knowingly.  Succumbing to your twinkling eyes, I tickled your tummy.  Your shrieks of laughter were music to my ears!  Again and again I let my fingers dance across your tummy as you wiggled away.  With an expression of pure glee, you snuck back over to crawl into my lap.  I melt all over again…

Your grandmama said that she loved the days when we were hanging onto her skirt-tails as she maneuvered around us in the kitchen.  I don’t remember those days, but I am building memories of you, sweet pea!  I spotted you again today as you snuck your milk into your favorite cabinet.  Then tonight, you came toddling in with leftover sauce in each hand to store away!  What am I going to do with you?!  I’ll have to remember to check that cabinet now.  I have my own personal chipmunk with an easy-to-reach stash of bottles and snacks!

I think you said agua today–and banana!  I can’t believe how you’re growing up, my love!  Even the sounds that aren’t words sound just like us.  I feel like we will soon be able to tell your English and Spanish apart based on the pitch in which you talk!  With that ever-present twinkle you wave, “Die, die!”  (bye-bye)  Boldly you move around the room talking to yourself counting, “uh, duh, uh, duh” (uno, dos, uno, dos) the way Daddy did as he taught you to walk.  I hear you singing while you’re playing or bathing, and no camera would ever do you justice!  I hope you always keep that song in your heart, little girl.

I know that someday, you’ll be sad and brokenhearted.  The bottom will drop out of your world just like it did mine.  I hope you will come let me kiss you and nurse your hurt away. Mamas have a way, you know, of brushing you off and putting you back on your feet.  I hope you’ll have a faith so strong that you’ll let God blow you where he wants.  Until then, God will keep you under his wing.  Until then, you don’t have to cry for my love.  Until then, you don’t have to fall to get my attention.  Until then, let’s keep that smile on your face, that twinkle in your eyes, and that sweet laughter ringing loud and clear.

With a love so grand it hurts,

Your mama

A Letter to My Baby on Her First Birthday

My Dearest Alita,

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies, my love

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since you brightened up this world!  I’ve spent the last three days looking at photos from your birth and those early days.  You were so small!  I see the look on your Papi’s face in those photos and it brings tears to my eyes.  He was so nervous, little girl, but oh-so-excited for your arrival.  And now, a year later, you are still his whole world.

And the first time ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love

Ah! kisses! You make me smile and giggle with glee when you give us kisses, baby.  Those open-mouthed slobbers are the sweetest kisses I’ve ever received.  Daddy asks in Spanish, and you happily oblige him–climbing on his chest, then standing up beside him with pride you clap your hands.  Sometimes you pat my tummy or blow raspberries on it.  How I wish we had more moments like this: laughing and giggling together.  These memories are more precious than all the treasure in the world.

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time, my love

When I think of your birth, there are some things I am sure of:  Having you at home was one of the best decisions I’ve made.   That first day was bliss.  I carried you next to my heart with the greatest pride!  God gave you to me–and you grew strong inside of me.  YOU are my greatest accomplishment!  I remember snuggling you, touching your soft skin in wonder, and waiting for you to wake up and need me.  Now you are sleeping soundly in your spot (mostly taking over my side of the bed) with the covers kicked off.  

The first time ever I saw your face…

A year of loving you isn’t enough, my littlest love.  I need a lifetime more.

Love,
Your Mami

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Hours after birth…

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One year older!

A Letter to My Sleepy Baby

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Mama’s precious punkin,
This morning you woke up as I was getting ready to leave. I almost kept walking out the door, but I am so glad that I stopped, cancelled my ride, and held you for five minutes. Five minutes was all it took–I felt my heart lurch as you clenched your little fingers tighter. Your grip on me, metaphorically, is enough to make the world disappear.

Five minutes with you snuggled at my breast. Five minutes of those big chocolate eyes gazing intently as if you were looking into a window to my soul. Five minutes and you pulled away–and only heaven’s glory could be more wonderful than what I saw when that smile broke across your face.

Sweet baby, I’m sorry it was only five minutes, but if that’s all we get, I’ll take it. I’ll take those snatches of time, fractions of an hour, because they are full of so much more than seconds. Smiles, laughs, snuggles, babbling, or even just the touch of your fingers petting my skin as if it were velvet–I crave every moment.

You, my Allie-bug, fill my day with just five minutes.

Love,
Your oh-so-busy mama