Hello again, sweet daughter. Today I have a previously-written letter to post to your blog. The (somewhat embarassing) thing about this letter is that it has been rejected. I sent it in last week to Offbeat Mama in the hopes of having it published on their site. Um. They sent it back. Within a few hours. I wouldn't take this rejection so personally but these ladies are MY PEOPLE. They're the other writers, crafters, homebirthers, cloth-diaper-ers that just happen to be mamas as well! It's my little safe haven on the vast expanse of the interweb. And they rejected me. For the second time. Meh. Oh well, this letter was written for you anyway so I will suck it up and just post it for you, the tiny love of my life. Enjoy! Dear Ophelia,
Today I made a decision. Today I decided that I would stop looking over the fence, stop obsessing over the greener grass. Today I decided that not only is what I have good enough, what I have is exactly what I want.
You see, my dear daughter, I’ve always been a frequent partaker of envy. I’ve envied others’ jobs, relationships, houses, crafting abilities…the list goes on. At times envy has even become a hobby in itself when I would spend large chunks of time actively comparing my life to everyone else’. This is probably why I should be banned from reading the blogs of super creative, well-dressed people with good taste in home décor. The resulting feeling is always one of inadequacy. Her husband loves yoga? Rob won’t even go to a class with me. Stuff in her Etsy shop is selling like gangbusters? I can’t even get my act together enough to set up an account. And while I hate to admit it, when I unexpectedly became pregnant, my jealousy skyrocketed. I envied women who had accomplished more in their careers before having kids. I envied couples that had gotten married before becoming pregnant. I envied anyone that appeared to have planned shit out a little bit better than I had.
And then came you.
I’ve heard mothers describe the feeling of first meeting their babies as one of recognition, as if they have known them all along. And although I could see myself reflected in your red hair, your tiny bow lips and your sweet gummy smile, I could not help but feel like you were too perfect to be mine. That perfection that I had always felt was so far away, so untouchable, was now dozing at my breast.
As you can imagine, sweet Ophelia, your birth changed everything. The thing is, it HAD to change everything. How could I stand to reason that my life was somehow insufficient if it now included a person whose perfection had struck me so profoundly? And how could I be the best mother possible to this tiny, flawless being if I was always modeling an attitude of ungratefulness for all I have? How would she ever learn to just be happy when her own mom constantly expressed the need for more, more, more? Though I have only had a month to adjust to motherhood I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will do almost anything to ensure your happiness, even if that means doing one of the hardest things of all: looking within myself and deciding to make a change.
Today I made that decision. Today I decided that you and your dad and our spastic cats and smelly rabbit and this pretty cool apartment in this pretty shitty neighborhood are just what I want. And that my husband is sweet and hilarious and sexy, even if he doesn’t do yoga with me. And that I am creative and smart and resourceful even if I don’t have that Etsy shop going just yet and that writing career is taking a little longer than anticipated. And I’m going to make a damn good mother because I’m all of those things and because my love for you is fierce enough that it has forced me to finally see things clearly.
What I really want to say, Ophelia, is that life is good. Thank you for reminding me.