I hope this letter finds you well. If memory serves, I think it does even if I tend to sugar coat some of the period of time that represents who I am sending this to.
You're a new mom! Which means you made it through eight months pregnancy. We told everyone who would listen that the baby was coming early and they looked at us like we had two heads. Take that, suckers!
I know you spent a good part of your morning somewhere between tears, fear and a genuine fixation with what is happening to your body. I'm hoping this letter will shed some light and give you hope? I can tell you, the scars on your stomach are not going to go away, but they will fade. You will still look at them quite often and wish them away, but you won't sob. In fact, you'll earn quite a few more. I won't freak you out with how many pregnancies just yet, because I know what Kristyn was like as a baby and chances are you started your day with puke in your hair and that's enough for now.
Would you believe me if I told you that sixteen years from now you will be starting your day with a hot cup of coffee before your children even open their eyes? You'll shower alone and style your professionally coloured and stylishly cut hair and put on clothes you probably would now call too dressy for church. You will go to work and be in your office putting out fires before your kids even pack the lunches that they themselves made. Your house will be messy and you will be behind on the laundry because time improves us steadily, but it doesn't work miracles. Besides, that's why you will have four kids.
I'll let you chew on that for a bit.
As I write this, all four are not only still alive, but healthy and amazing. I can't wait for you to see what we created. They are the four most foul smelling, ridiculously smart, hilariously exhausting, fascinating people on the planet. They yell at each other constantly and trust me, they get really mean. Even the mean part will impress you because they can be really witty and cutting to each other. I can't even begin to hurl some of the insults they've thrown out. They are energetic and expresessive and engaging. A couple of them are more reserved than the other two but even they are outgoing and confident to a degree twelve year old us would be jealous of.
We have done an amazing job.
When I sat down to write this, my intention was to advise you to slow down some and to work on your neurosys and worry less, but I know you will calm down some. The more kids we had, the more me that we became. As the years go, you will go from the worry wart who calls your obstetrician's office with every twinge to the woman who gives birth in her master bedroom one freezing cold night in 2003. Those solid food charts on the fridge? They won't last. In fact, I'm not completely unsure that your son's first solid food wasn't something he found in the yard as we raked leaves. I would have written it was strained peas in his baby book, but truth be told, I never bought one. We only have three on the shelf and only one is written in.
I'm not saying you or I become lazy, but what you're about to embark on requires not only guts and a firm stomach, but all of your focus and attention too. You're going to feel completely insane for a few years and I'm sorry. You're even going to break a few of your precious cardinal parenting rules. Meaning yes, you will yell and cry and swear and your kids might even see you drink a bit too much and yell "In your face!" as she beats someone at cards.
You are going to face some heavy stuff. Conversations you tell yourself you are prepared for now, but nothing, and I mean nothing, makes you ready for some of the things you are going to say, hear and do. I'll tell you this now, don't worry. You'll do it and do it well. I know I still have a ways to go, but I'm pretty sure the us from sixteen years in the future is writing a similar letter with the same words of encouragement.
ps - Waking up in the morning and your first thought being "God, how long until bedtime?". Yeah, I'm sorry to say that hasn't gone away yet.