Thursday, July 19, 2012

DEAR BABY.....

photo by saena

I don't mean to be a big old sap, but it seems to be inevitable when you are doing things like having a baby with the person you're in love with. It's not that everything is coated in glitter and gold but life perspective shifts a little, and it’s trippy and awesome.  One of the ways I've been memorializing this trippy and awesome journey is by writing, and I wrote up this letter a while ago for our baby to read one day about her dad:


Dear baby,

I want to tell you about your dad. I’m sure that you love him a lot right now, but I also want you to have a glimpse of what he was like while you were growing into a baby because everything is so new and exciting for us right now. It may give you further insight into how much we love you if you know where you came from and what things were like while we were waiting for you.

I don’t know what kind of person your dad will be by the time you can read and understand a letter like this, but right now, he is the kind of person who is getting used to balancing between being headstrong and flexible, between being passionate and reasonable – and he is doing a pretty excellent job of it.  When your dad and I first met, the thing that I immediately loved about him was that he is a guy who knows what he likes, passionate about what he wants, and when he gets excited about something, he really gets excited about it. Because he was so sure of the things he liked and didn’t like, it came across to me in his personality as confidence and I liked that. I also fell in love with the way that he honestly dealt with people. He appreciates sincerity and enjoys hearing people’s stories, like I do.  The things that frustrated me about him was the flip side of the thing that I loved most about him - how stubborn he could be about the things he liked and the things he thought he was right about. But somehow over even the just the past few months, it has slowly been maturing into something that is down right admirable. We’ve known each other for 11 years, dated for three years, and have almost been married two years now and it has been pretty amazing to see how he is growing into a man. And by “a man”, I mean someone who takes responsibility, ownership, initiative, values wisdom, is patient while being firm, and also can discern his lady’s needs. These are really good qualities in a husband, and I have a feeling they will be great qualities in a father. You are lucky, sweet baby girl, that you have a dad who is going to be both passionate and reasonable, both strong and gentle. I think it’s the best kind of combination.

From the very beginning, your dad knew that he wanted you and he was very excited about having you be a part of us. You will grow up to be a woman so you may eventually know what it feels like to worry about having a career, having a family, and trying to figure out what being a woman means to your identity. I was and am going through these things, and I was worried about what having a baby meant. When I held the positive pregnancy test with tears of worry, your dad was filled with nervous/excited joy and hugged me tight enough until I was soothed and filled with joy too. I am almost 9 months pregnant now with you and along the way, his excitement and anticipation about you has been a constant. It is so unbelievably reassuring to have a partner is up for the ride. There was so much to learn and take in, and even though it was overwhelming at times, I have constatnly felt like your dad and I have been in on all of it together, as a team. In this regard, he has not only been a good husband, but a much needed friend. It has been fun having your dad be my husband and my best friend to experience all of these changes with. We love talking about you and talking about what you will be like and how much we will love you.

You know what your dad has gotten really good at doing these days? Apologizing. Well, no, not just apologizing, but owning up to things and communicating his care for me when we have conflict. This means a lot to me because at the beginning of our marriage, it used to drive me crazy that after we got in an argument or I was in a bad mood, he would go silent and sort of shut down. This did not bode well with me, because I am the type to want to get it all out, air everything out and then reconcile immediately. That’s pretty much how we did it in our family growing up. Our family's philosophy was that there would always be problems between people who loved each other, and working out the differences, even if it meant being emotional and angry, meant that we cared. So when your dad would back away, I would take that to mean that he didn’t care. I later learned that the reason he would disengage is because for him and from his family's philosophy, fighting meant you didn’t care, that disagreement meant you didn’t’ love each other enough, and that there was a problem.  In a strange way, he was saying he loved me too much to have a problem with me; while I was saying that I loved him too much to NOT have a problem with him. (Isn’t that funny how love can be communicated in such different ways?)

I eventually also learned that he is the type of person who needs some head space to breathe and think, and that me stomping around demanding more conversation was pretty much the opposite of effective. He learned that I can’t sleep at night if I feel distant from him and that words mean a lot to me. We learned things like this about each other, and the beautiful thing was that we felt our marriage was important enough and safe enough for us to adjust and grow towards each other’s needs. I tried to be okay with walking away from conflicts when it got too heated, and told myself that the world will not end if the sun goes down on our anger because he loves me anyways, no matter what. I started noticing that he would try to continue talking things out with me if he knew it was important to me, and that he would take the time to say I’m sorry if he knew I was feeling hurt and frustrated. I don’t know if he knows this yet, but when he comes back after our arguments have turned into nonsense talk where neither of us knows what the hell we are talking about, and holds me, or tells me in his calm voice that he is sorry (even though I know it is obviously both our faults), and tells me he loves me, I fall in love with him a little bit more each time. In my opinion, it is one of the most manliest things that a man can do-  to have care for his wife in that way - and your dad is getting really good at it.

Other things about your dad that I think will suit him well in a father role is that he is a good coach and teacher. He coached volleyball for the past few years and I loved watching him do something that he was so good at and loved so much, and I think you will reap the benefits of that. He hopes you will play volleyball, by the way, but whatever you end up doing, I’m sure that he will also be a really good fan. Also, your dad is really funny… at least I think so. He can always make me laugh. We both like laughing and finding the humor in things and I hope that our home is one where there is lots of laughter. He is also getting pretty good at prioritizing life and I'm starting to trust his judgment more and more as I see him navigate through tough decisions. I think he will be the type of dad that will prioritize his marriage and his family, and this makes me feel secure about doing such an awesome and scary thing as raising a family together. Most importantly though, we are both struggling/learning to prioritize our faith and relationship with God and it is encouraging to me when I see that he wants to make this a priority, too. 

I tell you all of this, baby, because I think it means that he will be a really good dad for you.  I am glad to know that I’ll be a witness of how he grows into that role and I’m praying that we will both grow into our roles as parents in a way that compliments each other and best fits you. I can’t wait to see you guys together, and I hope you get to appreciate him as much as I do, perhaps even more.

Love, your mom

4 comments:

  1. This is beautiful letter.

    I actually started a little notebook of "Letters to Bryson". Joe thought I was being silly, but it's nice to know others do things like this :)

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  2. that was amazing. y and i read it out loud together.

    can't wait to meet baby.

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