Now You Are Three

Dear Connor,

Today you turn three. I can hardly believe it.

I know, that sounds trite. But as I write this on the eve of your birthday – with you asleep next door in your big boy bed (the one you insist on showing every single person who comes into the house, and the same one you never want to sleep in alone at night) – I feel a little bit stunned. Three years!

This is the first photo taken of you when you were born:

Looking back, it tells me so much of what I now know about you. You’re not a huge fan of being taken away from your mama. You know exactly what you think and aren’t afraid to express it. You’re sensitive to your environment, but if you want to be the loud one, nothing can stop you.

As well, the expression on your face is one I’ve seen many a time since:

Something has happened in the last few months. I don’t know when, exactly, but you stopped being a baby. I know you’re not a baby and haven’t been for a while, but until recently I had moments every day where I caught a glimpse of baby in you. Each time I held on tightly, knowing it was a fleeting gift.

I’ve only just realized it, but it doesn’t happen every day anymore. Hardly at all, actually. Even last week when you were sick you didn’t stay stuck to me in the same way you did when you were sick only a couple of months ago. You’re growing up.

And I’m growing up with you. Since I’ve been off work the last couple of months, I’ve been working on getting better and for a long time Daddy was taking care of you. He was doing all the hard stuff that I couldn’t do at the time, like getting up with you in the mornings and trying to get you to eat breakfast, putting you down for naps, doing baths and bedtimes. For a short and very scary time I wondered if I would ever be able to do those things. It seems so silly, but I couldn’t do them. I was too sick and I needed to take care of myself before I could take care of you.

Over the last couple of weeks, though, I’ve started being mom again and doing some of those hard things that used to set me off when you didn’t cooperate. At first I had to talk Daddy into letting me do those things, to let him know it was okay and to assure him that I’d ask for help if I needed it. And we always had back-up. So many people have helped us over the last few weeks – I only wish I could repay them with something other than endless thanks and undying love. We owe Grandma especially for being here at times when I needed someone to do what I couldn’t do with my own child. Sometimes you just need your mom and I’m so grateful for mine. I hope I can always be there for you, for whatever you need, the way she is there for me.

We’re doing well, though, you and I. Which is not to say everything is easy, just that I can handle the hard stuff better now. And my darling boy, sometimes you are a holy terror. I can’t tell you how many times someone in public has commented on what a handful you are. If only they knew. I could do without the screaming fits and the meltdowns over seemingly insignificant things, but I know that’s part of who you are – a passionate, expressive person. (And you get that from me but don’t tell Daddy I acknowledged that.)

The past three years have changed my life in ways I never could have imagined, and for a long time things were so hard I wasn’t sure I’d make it through. I know what happened to me was hard for others as well. Your dad is really annoyed that I didn’t get the help I needed soon enough. In one way I’m sorry too, because it meant he had to deal with a lot of things I wish he hadn’t had to. I can’t change that now, but I do know how much he loves me and I know how much I love him because we’ve been through this together.

Mostly, though, I really don’t resent what I’ve experienced. It was awful – don’t get me wrong – and it’s not over yet. But I’ve learned so much from it – about you, about our family, about myself and about life. I now know just how much love and support we have, and that’s a powerful thing.

My experience with postpartum depression has also taught me that every one of us has something to give. We all have ways of helping someone. Of changing someone’s life, even. A few people have helped change mine, and I hope I can do that for someone else.

I have found new passions and new sources of inspiration that I never would have found if it weren’t for this, and no one can ever take that away from me. This insight is one of the biggest gifts I hope to offer you – to live your life fully, to do what you feel you’re meant to do, and to love and be loved in the process.

I will love you always and forever,
Mama xx


 

Comments

  1. Lovely post!

    It is nice to look back and see all we have done, how we have changed, and what the future may hold.

    You have a 3 year old now, which is both fun and challenging.

    In case you ever need a laugh I suggest you watch this, but there is swearing, so don’t watch it at work or with your kids.

    Theresa
    xoxoxo

  2. What a sweet letter to your a big 3 year old! Happy birthday Connor! It’s very obvious that you are loved so very much by those around you. And Happy “birth” day to you too Robin. It’s your birth day as well :).

  3. Beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy…

  4. Happy #3!! I hope when he is older that he will read this and be as awed as the rest of us!

  5. Happy birthday. So sad when they lose that babyness and start to become big kids.

  6. lovely words Robin….lucky little boy!!!

  7. I’m bawling my eyes out. So beautiful. Happy birthday wee man. You have an awesome mother even though at times she doesn’t believe it. She loves you so much and she fights every single day to be the best mom she can be for you.

  8. Sweet, sweet letter. Happy birthday, Connor.

  9. What a lucky little boy t have a compassionate and loving mother. This is a beautiful letter.

    I love this line: “…every one of us has something to give.”

    Happy Birthday to you both!

  10. I always mean to sit down and write these types of letters to my children… it never quite works out that way. ;)

    Beautiful letter for your big boy.. my “holy terror” will be 3 in August and it annoys me when I have all 3 boys in public and someone comments that I “certainly” have my “hands full.” I’m already frustrated; thanks for your observation.. ;)

    Happy Birthday, Connor!!

  11. "Yoga Mom" Laura says:

    You write so beautifully Robin. I’ve been thinking about you lots since I read some earlier posts. I’m so happy you are on your path to feeling better. I love how honest and open you are — I’m sure it will help many moms deal with similar feelings. Happy Birthday to Connor and to Mom and Dad too!

  12. What a beautiful tribute to your son! Happy birthday, Connor!

    I’m glad to hear you are feeling better. I hope everything is uphill for you from here.

  13. Aw, happy birthday to your beautiful little guy! And huge kudos on being able to look at the most painful, difficult times and find positivity and beauty in them. I know I struggle so much trying to do that, and it’s always uplifting to see someone else being able to reach it.

    • Thanks, Tamra. I know just what you mean about how hard it is. Others have helped me see that too, and I want to capture what this feels like now. Amazing how different things can be, even if it took a heck of a lot of hard work.

  14. so touching and gives me hope. he is one lucky little (or not so little!) boy!

    • Thanks, Erin. Think how far you have come since your girls. You have the strength and resources to support you, and we are all behind you!

  15. Happy Birthday Connor!

    Such a beautiful letter Robin. You are expressive – in your writing. You bring it all to the page. Really. Am so glad you’re able to do the hard stuff now. So proud of how far you’ve come. xoxo

  16. Wow. How beautiful. When Connor is a man (and that’s going to happen so much faster than you think!) he will be so proud of you and himself. Enjoy 3 little man!!!

  17. Lovely! Yay mama, and happy birthday little guy!

  18. You are an amazing momma. What a sweet letter. I’m so proud of how far you’ve come and how openly you’ve shared your experience with the rest of us.

    And happy third birthday, Connor! :)

    • Thanks, Jaime! People like you who are open about this too help make all the openness in our community that much more powerful.

  19. You are amazing Robin. I admire your honesty about your battle and your willingness to help others and yourself. You are a wonderful beautiful mother and your child is very blessed. Happy Birthday to the little guy.

  20. Happy Birthday, Connor!

    Isn’t it awesome, Mom, how God eases us out of one phase of our children’s lives and into another so that we know we will find joy in their growth even as we miss who they used to be!

  21. So, so beautiful. One of my favourites. What you said about being too sick to handle the basic tasks resonates very loudly with me, and reminds me of how far you had come at this stage, and ultimately how far I have come now.

    I’m a little in love with C even from here. A passionate boy with a passionate mama.

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