To My Daughters:
In a few days it will be Thanksgiving. In school, daycare, and church you have been reading stories about turkeys, crafting cornucopias, and making lists of all the things you are grateful for. On the wall in one of your classrooms is a brainstorm chart that reads: my bed, my room, the food I eat, my mommy, my daddy, my teachers. You are told to think of all the people you love and things you are lucky to have. I’m doing the same thing.
What am I thankful for? Obviously I’m thankful for both of you, and the brother or sister that you’ll get to meet in the spring. But it’s not enough to stop there, because being your mom has made me more grateful than any other experience possibly could. It has amplified my appreciation of everything. Let me try to explain what I mean:
I was thankful the minute I knew about you. It was so hard to believe that I could have been granted such a gift that I often found myself anxious without knowing why, counting the days until the next doctor’s appointment just to prove that you were still there. When I heard your little heartbeats I could breathe easier for a while. Sometimes when the worry set in I would prop my feet up and eat gummy worms, just to wake you up and feel you kicking.
I was thankful when you were born and you were just fine, much better than fine, the images of perfection. I was thankful to bundle you into your carseat for the very first time and introduce you ceremoniously into our home and family, making you officially ours.
I have been so thankful to watch you grow and learn, from first smiles and laughs to first steps, first words, even first tantrums. Every day, in some way, you bring joy into my life. You make me laugh, sometimes intentionally, other times without knowing what you said that was so funny. You are amazing. You are awesome in the old-fashioned sense of the word. I am awed by your beauty and brilliance. I have been since day one, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
I am thankful for you because I get to watch my husband be your dad. I watch him pick you up and make you squeal. I listen to him read to you, sing to you, and try to coax you into your pajamas. I hear your delighted cries of “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” and I couldn’t be more thankful that you get to grow up with a dad as proud and loving as he is.
I am thankful that you have each other. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the two of you playing together. I love to sneak up and spy on you as you hide behind the crib and “read” each other books, or chase the dog, or try to do somersaults.
I am so grateful that you will always have one another.
I am thankful for every single person involved in raising you, every person who loves you or has helped me when I needed help taking care of you. The list is long. I am thankful because I want to be with you all the time and when I can’t be, I know that you are in good hands, and my mind is at ease.
I am thankful for all that you have taught me. As your mom, I have learned how to be patient, creative, efficient with my time. You have taught me that splashing in puddles during a rainstorm really is more fun than sitting inside by the TV. I have had to sort through and reexamine my beliefs and priorities as I’ve realized that everything I say or do, every decision I make, may impact who you both become. Consequently, I know more about myself now than I did before I was your mom.
I thank you for giving me the experience of motherhood, for helping me join a community of wise, brave, exhausted women with whom I can connect and empathize. Because admit it, darlings, you can be rough on your mama, and sometimes I just need someone to tell me that they get it and you will inevitably grow out of whatever stage is driving me bananas.
Honestly, I am an ooey-gooey, rain-boot-worthy puddle of gratitude. You made me that way, and even though a couple of hours ago you were both screaming your heads off for a reason that only you know (or perhaps you don’t), I wouldn’t want to be any other way.