The small things

Dear Carter,

I haven’t written you a letter in a few days. I got a new job and I’ve been busy learning and going to a million meetings. It’s good in a way, to be so busy at work that my thoughts aren’t consumed by how much I miss you. But then I get in the car, where I’m all alone with your memories, wishing so much I could glance in my rearview mirror and see you sleeping in your car seat, and I just crumble. Probably everyone in Pinellas county is talking about the crazy crying lady that drives the black Subaru.

Daddy and I took your big brother and sister to LEGOLAND this weekend. I felt so very alone. In my mind, everyone in the whole park (including my husband) had alive babies and I was the only one with a dead baby. I don’t know if that’s true or not but our family felt so incomplete without you with us. I kept thinking about how the day would have been different if you had been there. How I would have told your Dad and the big kids to go ahead and hop in the lazy river while I found a shady spot to sit with you and show you all the bright colors and tickle your chin because it made you smile every time.

You didn’t get a chance to know your big sister and brother. They don’t live with us all the time, just mostly in the summer and sometimes during the holidays. The rest of the time, they live in another state.  We’ve showed them your picture and talked about you to them, but maybe I should tell you a little about them.

Your sister is 13 years old. She’s so funny. She would have been the one to make you really laugh for the first time, I just know it. She makes me laugh every day. She’s creative and artistic and mischievous.  She’s trendy and unique. She likes for everyone to call her Ross, although we don’t know where that came from or why she likes it so much. She looks a lot like Dad, which makes me think that you would have looked a lot like her as you grew older. She’s beautiful, just like you.

Your brother is 10 and just really starting to let his cute personality out and about while he’s with us for the summer. He loves bread and spaghetti, but take it easy on the vegetables, please. One night, a sweet friend brought us tacos for dinner He looked hard at his tacos and finally said, “Tomatoes on a taco?….I can live with that.” And proceeded to eat all of his tacos, complete with tomatoes. He’s so very sweet, with a purity of spirit that is precious and unabashed. He wants everyone to be happy, all the time. He dances freely and, man, can that kid sing. He’s tall, and he’s got quite a little jump shot on the basketball court. He would have loved to teach you to shoot while your Dad looked on proudly.

Last summer, Dad and I had all kinds of grand ideas for how we wanted our household to run. We had chore lists and really strict curfews and lots of rules that we were kind of sticklers about. We got irritated when we found silverware in the trash can or didn’t hear thank you at all the appropriate times.  We (and I mostly mean I) let that irritation color the summer. I was brand-new pregnant with you, and I like to hope that those crazy pregnancy hormones had a little bit to do with my fairly quick temper during those summer months last year, but I don’t know for sure. I know only that I could have acted more graciously to the family and more forgiving when things didn’t go exactly according to my neurotic plans.

That was before you, sweet baby. When you came, you showed me that neurotic plans don’t always work out. That life is not under our control, but under the control of Someone Else. All of my carefully laid ideas about a full-term pregnancy, and birth by midwife, and water birth, and unmedicated delivery, and easy breastfeeding, and sleep training, and cloth diapering were pretty much thrown out the proverbial window when you came into our lives, guns blazing. You stayed for such a short time. And then you were gone, and again all of our plans imploded. Plans for your oh-so-bright future that simply had to include sports and music and books and so much love. You showed me that so much of what I worried about and planned for and stressed over and sprouted new gray hairs about was so very, very small. You taught me to try to savor every moment of this summer with your brother and sister, because tomorrow is not a guarantee. To laugh hard when your silly sister called it “crapple pie.” To smile instead of cringe when I find crumbs and trash in the backseat of my car. To not make so many plans, but rather ebb and flow with the rhythms of the family and try to enjoy the ride.

Your life was important, love. And your important life showed me that the small things aren’t worth the gray hairs. Thank you, baby boy. This lesson is one of the best yet.

I kiss you.

Love you forever,



2 thoughts on “The small things

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s