Dear Claire

Dear Claire,

You're 6 months old today. 6. Months. Old. When I heard you babbling to yourself this morning in your crib, I silently stood at the top so you couldn’t see me, and I got a little misty eyed looking at your chubby little bagel legs and thought about how you were just a little pixie not too long ago. You’re still my pixie, and always will be, but you have certainly become one healthy baby. Pixie chubbs or my sweet meats is what I like to call you these days. I know it is so cliché but I cannot comprehend how fast this journey called parenthood has all gone and I finally understand what everyone meant when they told me that soon I wouldn’t remember what life was like without you. You are so much a part of me. I have developed a deeper and stronger level of love then I could have ever imagined. It’s like this … I love your dad very much, but I realllllllly love you. It’s totally different. And I always kind of hated when people told me that I wouldn’t understand something until I had my own kids… but I am telling you now, my sweet daughter, that you won’t understand how much I love you until you hold your own first baby in your arms.

I don't really know where to start with this or what to tell you. But I wanted to to say some sweet things now, so I can recall them on the days when you are naughty and I feel like selling you to the gypsies.

The first month of your life was pure bliss for me and your dad. Your Grandma Julie put it best I think when she said she had never seen any parents so goo-goo-ga-ga over their child. Yep, we were smitten. It was the strangest thing. We just stared at you for hours and examined, and often re-examined all your beautiful, petite and feminine features. I may be a bit biased, but you were a beautiful newborn. Because you are our first child, we didn’t have any concept of what “the norm” was for newborns. But after several nurses and moms saw you, most if not all of them commented on how incredibly alert you were for a newborn. I don’t know, I guess I just figured all babies were as bright eyed as you. Your Aunt Jen still can’t get over this picture taken of you just minutes after birth:

She explained that most babies come out with their eyes sealed shut, squinty and swollen. But not you, apparently. I quickly realized that you were indeed very alert and curious about the world. Your beautiful, big brown eyes have continued to take everything in ever since.

I loved how attentive you were as a newborn but I didn’t necessarily love how you were the exception to every book I had read that said newborns typically napped 16-18 hours a day. You opted for the cat-nap thing instead. After about three weeks, the absence of sleep, the constant giving of myself and all the new emotions that were introduced the moment I first held you had all caught up with me. I felt like a walking zombie cow that had to be milked every 2 hours. I thought I would never function in society again and that I was doing everything wrong already. A few times I cried to Dad and a few other friends that I was already a terrible mother. Sleep deprivation makes you do crazy things. Everyone claimed it was simple … just nap when you did. Like, duh. But seeing how you rarely napped, I rarely napped. Now that's simple. Everyone also said to just suck it up and stick it out for 8 weeks. And on that note, they were all right. Once you hit 10 lbs. you were like a new baby that enjoyed sleep. The heavens opened.

Maternity leave was pretty much the best legal right ever established. I couldn’t believe that I was getting paid to stay home in my pajamas and love on you. But, like most good things it ended what seemed way too soon and 10 weeks later I had to go back to the grind. I thought for sure I would be ready for a break and for some adult conversation by then. But alas, I only lasted for a month. It went something like this. I was pumping in a dark, cold closet outfitted with servers and wires. What can I say, I worked at a male dominated office. Well that is where I decided that I would rather eat Ramen Noodles every day until dad finished school than have to miss out on you. It was kind of a crazy impression because I have always enjoyed working and being busy and never really desired the title and the accompanying stigma of being stay-at-home-mom. But I felt strongly that with you was where I was supposed to be. I really don’t like to say I quit work. I’m not a quitter. I prefer to say I switched jobs. Motherhood is hard work, little lady. But it is the most rewarding work I have ever done and I am happy to be home with you.

You make some awesome noises and expressions and you have the most heart-melting, and yummy smile. Oh dear, I just said yummy. I am such a mom now. Speaking of delicious, you have more rolls then the Lion House and it is beyond adorable. You are borderline Michelin Man and I LOVE it. It makes me so happy when you get really excited and your legs and arms spaz like crazy when I reach to pick you up. The best is when you think something I do is really funny and you get a HUGE grin but you hold back on laughing. You are a tough audience some days. This may not sound like the nicest thing, but I really like to pop out and scare you sometimes because your little surprised face is so dang cute. And if that isn't mean enough, your sad face is cute too so I’ll admit that sometimes I let you cry a little longer when I know you are faking it.

You are already pretty independent. You are… well… opinionated I guess would be a fitting word. You are pretty particular about how you like things and aren’t afraid to vocalize it. You’ve got some pipes, sister. And I think it is just great. My hope as your mother is that you always speak what’s on your mind and stand for what you desire and know is true.

You mostly hate to be rocked or snuggled unless you want your bottle and you must be held facing out looking at everything. It makes me sad sometimes, but I can’t complain about how you like to be in your bed and you put yourself to sleep. It’s a beautiful thing… EXCEPT for on Sundays at church. I have contemplated inactivity a few times, but your dad always helps me see the big picture. He would.

The holy grail of parenthood occurred when you were 5 months and you decided one day that you wanted to sit up and play by yourself. There were no stages with you learning to sit. You didn’t want to do the whole wobbly for a week falling over type thing. You just decided you wanted to do it one day so you did it, and did it well. I can walk away from you for longer than 5 minutes and you are still content with life. Life is good. I hope you continue to have that drive your whole life. You can do and be anything when you put your mind to it. So corny and cliche, but true.

I love your guts, Claire Marie. Please don't grow up too quickly.




Carolyn said...

Happy Mothers Day!

Mauri said...

Suz. You are am amazing mother. You have great love and great perspective. Little Claire is one blessed girl to have you as a mama.
Loved the post. Love you.

Sara said...

She is adorable! I can't believe she is six months old already, time flies!

Kara said...

This is so sweet and cute and it makes me want to cry!! She's a doll and I hope you have a Fabulous Mother's Day!

Rebecca and Nick said...

This is the best baby-dedicated post ever! Nice job. She is amazing, and will be crawling and/or walking before you know it. I know you hear it all the time, but enjoy her littleness!! Goes way too fast.

Kristin said...

I loved this, Susie -- really beautifully put. It's amazing how much there is to know about such a tiny, new little person, and so sweet when there's a mother so eager to learn it. Hope we get to meet her before she's too grown up! :)

Matt and Becca said...

What a wonderful, personal letter, Suz. This will be such a joyful reminder to read in the future; it captures the varied intense emotions of motherhood so beautifully. She is one lucky little lady to have you for her momma!

Niels and Susie Jensen said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful remarks. It's always nice to know people are reading! :)

Lizzy said...

Beautiful Suz, what a special letter. You have one adorable daughter and are a great example as a mother. Rarely do I read through entire long posts, I read every word of this one :)