True Mom confession: I don’t keep baby books.
I have no idea what age or date my son first walked, cut his teeth, or said Mama. I know he was four months when he started eating solid foods, and that was only because he grabbed the cooked carrot off my plate and happily stuffed it in his mouth. I remember how old it was because I hadn’t planned to start solids for several months yet.
I don’t record when his various teeth come in or any of the other sundry baby affairs. I have two baby books and was terrible at trying to keep either one.
But I am not a total failure as a mom. Both Joshua and Olivia have leather bound journals filled with letters from Mom. Josh’s is black and was started before he was even conceived; Olivia’s is pink and has exactly one entry in it, something I blame on her older brother keeping Mommy busy. I tell them how Mommy and Daddy met and how we fell in love and how our wedding day was beautiful. I tell them how my heart still skips a beat when I think about their dad. I tell them how overjoyed we were to find out both times that I was pregnant, and how I would lay in the bathtub and watch my stomach fill and move with baby. I told them how I would run my fingers over my belly while pregnant, whispering words of love to them. I tell them how very, very loved they are. And, in Josh’s, I tell him how he is at various ages. What his favorite words are, what he likes to watch, how beautiful he is cuddled in my arms. I tell him of days spent at the park chasing bubbles, rainy afternoons snuggled on the couch reading his favorite books over and over again. I tell him of how sometimes, I sneak into his room and sit on the rocking chair, just watching my beautiful boy sleep.
I write things that I want them to know. One semester in college, the girl who lived beside me had just lost her mom. Her mom had an aggressive cancer, and for whatever reason, chose not to believe she was dying until the end. Thus there were only unfinished scrapbooks, baby books with some hastily filled entries, and so much my floor mate would never know. I’ve remembered her wishing for letters, journals, anything that would have given her a glimpse into her mother’s thoughts, but there was nothing.
I didn’t want that.
So I write. I write of the past and the present and glimpses into the future. I tell my children to be whatever they want to be. I tell them to make wise decisions, and to learn from mistakes.
I tell them to love their own children. To know that their Mommy and Daddy loved each other with a love not often seen anymore.
To know that Josh and Livie brought joy.
I want my children to know that they are loved.
I’ve seen too much to believe I will be here forever, or even that I will get a chance to say goodbye. I might. I might not. But in the end, I write for my adult children, so if I don’t get that last goodbye, I still won’t have left anything unsaid.