Dear Hazel,

This is hard for me to write. Today I'm 39 weeks into this terrible pregnancy and it may be ending today and you will have a new brother in the house for the rest of your life. It's never going to be the three of us again. I don't do pregnancy well- I hate it, in fact. I hated being pregnant with you, and I hate being pregnant now, though this is a hundred times worse than before. I'm in much more pain, sleeping even less, have a bigger belly and no muscle tone left to hold it up. It's pretty awful. But the worst part of it all, and I cry every time I think about it, is that I have not been able to give you the attention and love and time that I want to. It's hard for me to pick you up, I have no lap to sit on, you watch a lot of TV these days, and I can't even get on the floor to play. It breaks my heart, because you are so amazing and incredible and all I want to do is focus myself entirely on you.

You are going to be two years old in a few weeks, my girl and I couldn't have wished for a better kiddo. Your dada and I are in awe of everything you do, and after you go to bed at night, he and I swap stories about all the cool, funny, brilliant, sweet things you did that day. You talk constantly, and say such funny things, and you have got to be the happiest kid I've ever met. You are totally fearless; I can't think of a single thing that you are afraid of in this world. Scary for me, but I know it's going to serve you well in the future and that it's a sign of great intelligence to be so curious and outgoing. You are very physical and kinesthetic; we go to a tumbling class at the Y with your friend Bea, and the two of you tear the place up. You are obsessed with the older kids who are training in there at the same time as you. Kids on the parallel bars, kids climbing ropes 30 feet into the air, doing back flips. You watch them intently, then march right over to try and do it yourself. No fear. You love watching the show Yo Gabba Gabba, sing along to everything, and are on your feet dancing away through the whole thing. You love your friends, and talk about them, kiss and hug them, and get so excited and happy to play with them. You dance. All the time. You climb everything. You run and jump and fall down and crack yourself up. In fact, you never, ever cry when you fall. You love swimming in the Y pool with your dad and recently you love snuggling up (alone of course, since you hate being contained in any way) in the big armchair with your blanket, whom you recently bestowed with the name, "BEEKO". And oh my goodness you love to draw. You call it "eyes" because we showed you how to draw a face with "eyes, nose, mouth, head, ears, hair", etc. You get very frantic when you don't have a chalkboard, paper, crayons, markers or something nearby with which to draw eyes. You even draw them on the glass door when you shower with dada in the morning. You sleep with your mini Magna Doodle, the best four bucks I ever spent. You crack me up.

Since I've been so disabled and lame the last couple of months, and since you are so social and independent and active, I thought it was time for you to go to daycare twice a week. We found a fantastic home-based place here in Ipswich on the recommendation of a friend, and I signed you up for two days a week, hoping to get you settled in there before the baby comes. We took you there for an informal "interview" on a Saturday morning, and you immediately marched off away from us, in a strangers house, and started to play. When we left about twenty minutes later, you threw a fit. I knew you would love it. I started slow and put you in for a half day at first. You did great, of course and again threw a fit when I picked you up. You have been for a few full days now, and just love it. I'm so happy, but it's bittersweet. Every milestone is a separation, and this was yet another one that flew by without a chance to even process it. Per usual, you are off and running. It's a beautiful thing, and I wouldn't have it any other way, but I miss you, too- terribly.

I'm not one of these mothers that wants you to cleave to me, live with me until we are both elderly ladies out of some selfish need to OWN your soul. "Your children are not your children," and so forth. I know that. I want you to be exactly who you are. I want you to go out into the world whenever you feel you are ready and I want you to see and do everything. I want you to work a totally crappy job and try to support yourself on minimum wage. I want you to get so drunk you swear you're never going to drink again- several times. I want you to have beautiful lovers that whisper secret things in your ear that will make you blush, and I want you to get your heart broken...and break a million hearts. I want to see you discover your path and get so excited about whatever it is you were put on this earth to do. I want you to live in a roach-infested, peeling-paint, cracked-window, too-hot, drafty old apartment and love it because it is yours. I want to see what you do to that apartment to recreate your idea of Home. I want you to learn, and travel, and stumble and pick yourself up because you are one of the toughest people I know, and you have already been through so much. I want to see you get mad after paying for a terrible haircut. I want to meet you for lunch and listen to you go on and on and on about all the exciting things in your head, too wrapped up in it all to even ask me how I am. I feel so blessed that I can watch you do these things and that your dada and I get to be the point from where they all started. We love you more and more every moment of every day to the point that we think we couldn't possibly love you any more. But we do. It's crazy.

(I can hear you downstairs right now saying my name, looking for me and my heart is literally melting at the sound of your voice. Perfection.)

Soon, as in this week, you're going to have a brother, and I'm sorry. I know it's going to be hard for you, but I'm hoping that in time the good will outweigh the bad. I'm hoping that your heart opens and it will be another person for you to love and depend on, another person to anchor your home, a person you can turn to when you can't turn to us. I hope that the two of you will have each other after you have moved on from your dada and I. In the best world, that's what will happen. I hope for as much. I hope he will be the best man at your wedding, and will be a playful uncle for your kids. I hope you'll love each other, and that you someday get over the "When do we send him back?" phase of your relationship. It's a wild experiment, you silly wonderful girl.

Things went by too fast, my love. I enjoyed every damn second of it, and have felt blessed from the moment I met your eyes. I've never taken you for granted, and I pray that I never do.

So full to bursting with love for you,


Little Miss Maia said...

This is just so beautiful, I love it. Can you even imagine how your hearts and home are going to contain all the extra love and joy coming your way?

AlePancha said...

Thanks, friend, for sharing.

Ali said...

Amanda, This is amazing. What a great tribute to Hazel before your lives changes. I can't imagine having a more loving or caring mother that would say all these beautiful things to her daughter. Hazel is also one lucky little girl!!

Michael and Liane said...

You are breaking MY heart. That was gorgeous and it's all the things I think about. Thank you for putting it on "paper" for the world to see. Thank you for being you, Amanda. ~Liane

Kristen Coughlin said...

Oh my Amamda, how I enjoy reading what you write. And how you can put everything into the most perfectly appropraite words. We are so blessed to have shared our lives with you guys over the last 2years. Much love, always.
Kristen and Liam

Kari Brill said...

AMAZING. You are an amazing mother and writer. I sit here with tears running down my face, wow. I have never met you Amanda and yet i feel like i have. Hazel and your new baby boy are so lucky to have you in their lives.

Kari Brill

BeccaD4wn said...

Beautiful. As I sit her with Zoe sleeping peacefully on my lap, I'm reminded of my own fears and worries for JJ as her arrival approached. And how having her here makes me appreciate my little JJ jelly bean even more. The smile on his face when he gets to hold his little sister, or the worry in his voice when he hears her cry and searches the house for just the right toy to bring her to make it "OK Zozo!" ... he reminds me every day that love is something we do for one another every day, even if it is just finding the squeaky giraffe for your little sister.

Hugs for you and Hazel (and many wishes for a fast labor and faster recovery)!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is now just newly turned 16,I have loved every age every stage every year. She is still my everything...I know Hazel will continue to be your everything. You have brought her to life. She has a will to live, over and over again she has proven this. She will love and teach her brother all of this and all of you will have an amazing time.

heather said...

Beautiful words. Beautiful thoughts.
I can't wait to meet the whole family of FOUR this summer!

Heather said...

geez amanda. i am crying my eyes out here. that was so beautiful and is everything i feel for my little guys too. you are a fabulous writer, so full of emotion and heart. lots of love!-heather ekstrom