Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Dear Elliot,

Tomorrow you're 10. Double digits! A whole decade old! There's this saying that literally every new mom has heard at least 50 times: "the days are long but the years are short." I used to smile and nod and sometimes roll my eyes at the cliche, but turns out there's a reason it's repeated so often--it's true. When you were a baby I used to try to imagine what you'd be like as a big kid and the thought was just unfathomable. And now here you are--this smart, sarcastic, inquisitive, video-game loving, hockey-playing 10 year old with feet bigger than mine and an attitude to match. 

As you celebrate turning 10 years old,  I'll be celebrating 10 years of being a mom. I feel like when you hit 10 years of doing anything, you are basically considered an expert at it. I mean, if someone tells me they've been a doctor for 10 years, I'd trust them to prescribe me some meds. If someone tells me they've been a pilot for 10 years, I'd let them fly me in an airplane. Being a mom is weird though. No matter how long you do it, you never feel like you have it mastered. 

I've been looking through old blog posts and pictures from your first couple years of life (and my first couple years as a mom), and these words I wrote when you were just a few months old really stood out to me:

"...I look at you during those times and feel both completely filled with love, and completely inadequate. Or maybe insecure is a better word? You're just so amazing, so perfect, and I'm afraid I won't be able to give you everything you need; everything you deserve. Being your mom is the single most incredible thing that has ever happened to me, but honestly--it's also the scariest.

Sometimes it seems like no matter how many parenting books I read, how many hours of tummy time I make you have, how many stimulating activities I plan, how many well-written and age-appropriate books I read to you, how many quality toys I buy you, or how many cuddles, kisses, and 'I love you's' I give you each day, I always feel like I should be doing something more. Something better.

I'll come across things like '56 sensory play ideas for babies' and feel like I need to hurry up and do all 56 things. Like now. Seriously, the other night I saw something that mentioned how much babies like bubbles and almost had a meltdown thinking what kind of horrible mom I am to have been depriving my kid of the joy of bubbles for all this time. I may have even grabbed for my phone in a panic and set a 'BUY BUBBLES!!!!' reminder for the very next morning.

Maybe it's the perfectionist in me. Maybe it's that I just love you so freaking much. Probably both. But that desire to do everything 'right' is so overwhelming sometimes. The logical part of my mind knows I'm being silly, that I'm a great mom, that a lack of bubble play isn't going to somehow stunt your growth and development, that I'm doing the best I can. But there's always that annoying little voice in the back of my head that whispers, "what if your best isn't good enough?"

I read that now, as a much older, much wiser and much more mature seasoned mom of three and think, "phew, thank God I never feel like that anymore!"

JUST KIDDING. I still feel that way all the time! I've just moved from worrying about bubbles to worrying about screen time and school bullies and how I can get you to shower on a regular basis.

You're still growing and I'm still learning. I know I haven't done everything right, but looking at the 10 year old kid you've turned out to be gives me confidence that I must not have done it all wrong either. 

We're bonded forever, you and me. As the oldest kid, you're the only one that had true one-on-one time, all the time. Those early days where you were (literally) attached to me all the time are days that I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life. No matter how often you annoy me, no matter how often I annoy you, no matter how many times I scream "TURN OFF THE IPAD AND GET YOUR SHOES ON", that special time, that special bond, will always be ours. 

When I look at pictures from 10 years ago, I see a baby-faced (seriously, I get now why people were always asking if I was the nanny!) clueless young mom who is clearly completely and utterly obsessed with her baby boy. 

Today I see a mom with a few more wrinkles on her face--still clueless, still completely and utterly obsessed with her baby boy.

I am so proud of you and the person you are turning out to be. Keep asking questions, keep telling jokes, keep trying new things, keep being a good friend and a goofy dancer. But you're gonna have to figure out the showering thing before you turn 11!

Happy birthday. 



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