Well, kiddo, you turned five years old this month. Which means that I haven’t written for an entire year! Remember when I used to write every month? Where in the world did I find the time to do that? Without a doubt this past year has been the most chaotic and life-altering for you so far. Years from now when you’re reading these letters, you’ll have a much better understanding of the things that have taken place over the past several months, and it is my fervent hope that your memories of this time will be of the good things rather than the difficult ones. Because Morgan, despite all the challenges and changes we’ve been through lately, we’ve had an incredible amount of fun.
Just the other day I was curled up on the couch while you sat on the living room floor, drawing (which is one of your very favorite things to do). As I watched your little hands working and admired the look of concentration on your face, I also began noticing other things. Your long, thin arms and legs. The way you brushed your hair behind your ear in a way that just seemed so adult-like. I listened to the big words that spilled out of your mouth as you recalled a conversation you’d had with your cousins earlier that day. I thought about how, not so long ago, your vocabulary consisted largely of babbling and high-pitched squeals, and I remembered how you used to fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm. And in that moment you suddenly seemed so old, so impossibly grown up.
Occasionally when I have these moments of realization, I panic a little. I feel like maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention, didn’t really take the time to savor all the moments we’ve shared. And that scares me a little. But all I have to do is reach back into my memory — the hours, days, weeks, months and years I’ve spent being your mother — and there you are. I remember the moment you were carefully placed into my arms and our eyes met for the very first time. I remember watching Greys Anatomy marathons when you were just a year old, and the way you’d start clapping and dancing the moment you recognized the theme song. I can almost still hear the way you called yourself “Mo-nee” before you could pronounce your name properly. I remember watching your blonde pigtails bounce wildly as you ran down a hospital hallway once when you were about three, and when you reached a chair at the end of the hallway, you threw your body into it so violently that you puked all over the seat… and then laughed hysterically. My mind is filled with thousands of memories of you, beginning on the day you were born – a day that altered my life so drastically that I sometimes feel like I’m still trying to catch my breath.
Morgan, you are such a unique child. You frequently use large words in the right context. You love to color, draw, sing, dance and do anything outdoors. You are very smart and have an ability to think logically and creatively that surprises a lot of people. You have a vivid and lively imagination and you entertain me with wild stories on a daily basis. You are stubborn and strong-willed, yet also amazingly sweet and kind. You feel your emotions in the rawest of states, and you are just as raw in your expression of them. You don’t try to mask them or keep them hidden away, you just let them fly. Whether you are enthusiastically joyful or incredibly upset, you are definitely committed to and passionate about whatever you’re feeling. This is something I love about you, but it also worries me a bit. I can assure you it is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply, and because you take after me in this way, I know you’re going to experience a good deal of heartache in life. My advice to you is to stay soft, hold onto that passion, and don’t let the world make you bitter. Because even though it hurts sometimes, life is full of more beauty and love than you can possibly imagine. Let yourself experience that.
You and I both started school last week. Kindergarten for you, college for me (I went for a semester before your dad and I were married and now, for many reasons, I’ve decided to go back). It’s been a pretty big adjustment for us and you’ve spent a good portion of the last week feeling tired and cranky. Although, if I’m being totally honest, I have to admit that I’ve been a little tired and cranky too. It’s been exciting and scary and fun and exhausting all at the same time, but as we’re becoming used to this new schedule, things are getting better. My favorite part of most days has become that quiet time in the evening when we’re sitting in the living room together, each of us working on our own homework assignments.
Sometimes when I’m sitting in class, I find myself thinking of you and trying to imagine what you might be doing at that very moment. Are you sitting cross-legged on the floor while your teacher reads a book to the class? Are you outside on the playground? Are you sitting at your desk, working on your handwriting? It’s an interesting thing, the way an entire portion of my brain is constantly dedicated to the thought of where you are and what you’re doing at any given moment. And I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling this way, won’t ever be able to escape the nagging hope that you’re somewhere safe, feeling happy and fulfilled. I suppose that’s what being a parent is all about. You are a part of me, after all. A living, breathing piece of my heart that walks around outside my body. And as terrifying as that can be sometimes, as vulnerable and exposed as it makes me feel, I could never thank you enough for the dimension and purpose it has added to my life.
I love you so much, baby girl, and I can’t wait to see what adventures your fifth year of life has in store for us.