I’ve been writing in a journal for Evelyn since she was a baby so that I can give it to Future Evelyn when she turns 18. I try to write in my own voice purposely so that even if I’m not there, she can (hopefully) hear me as she reads. This entry was dated March 20, 2009, when Evelyn turned five months old. A little over 4 and a half years later, it’s more true than ever:
I spent nine months counting down the days until you came, and I was both ready and totally unprepared at the same time. I don’t think anyone is ever really prepared for how much they can love; I never knew I had the capacity to love anything so intensely or so achingly. It’s the most profound kind of love, the kind that instantly makes you a better person. How can I afford the luxury of selfishness when this tiny, adorable little person is depending on me?
I love every bit of you from the ends of your wild hair to the tips of your dainty little feet. I love you more than you could possibly know, and I’m sure you won’t understand just how much I love you until you have a child of your own, it’s a love that can only be understood by a parent.
I’m not going to be overly sentimental enough to say that it’s the easiest thing in the world to be your mother. There are moments when I am overwhelmed. You’re a wiggling, pooping, ever-eating infant that depends wholly on other people: shit’s going to go down. But then again, those are moments that have given me whole arsenal of insight and common sense that can only come from being a responsible parent.
I can’t thank you enough for the dimension that being your mother has added to what it means to be alive. Someone asked me yesterday if I wished I had waited to have you. I will never wish that. Why would I wish to have waited for this sense of distinction in my life? I thought that there was meaning in my life before you came along, but Hell if I even knew the meaning of meaning. For the majority of my life I thought I had religion, but never has there been more reverent moments in my life than hearing you breathing and watching you growing. If there is a God, you are certainly proof that he exists.
I imagine that I won’t ever stop feeling this way, I’ll always have that portion of my brain dedicated to the thought of where you are and what you’re doing, and I won’t ever be able to escape the constant hope that you are happy and doing well. You are my motivation, inspiration, validation, my tiny teacher, my therapy, and my own personal narcotic; anytime I have a thought laced with Evelyn I feel a surge of happiness. I can’t even begin to explain how utterly blissful it is for me every time you smile, and I swear the earth’s rotation stops whenever you smile at me. You have given me a sense of confidence, humility, and appreciation for my life that nothing else can ever compare to and you give me more happiness than anything else ever can or will. I hope one day you see me as having given you all the things that you have already given me. That is my hope for you, that no matter how far away you go or how different we may become –- that you will see or talk to me and find strength, or happiness, or whatever it is that you need. I’ll be here.