Now you are finally asleep, having kept me carefully away from all the things I should probably have tried to do this evening, I can write you your first letter.
I will make sure you never know how much I relish you taking up all of my time. I will keep from you how much I want to always be possessed by you. I won’t tell you that all our joy rests on you being safe and well and here and healthy.
I will be a better mother than that. I will clean you and change you and feed you and clothe you and teach you to read and allow you to play…
But I will do far more than that.
I will send you to bed and scold you for leaving your shoes on the table and your coat on the floor. I will make you tidy your room and make you eat up your dinner and wash your face and have a bath and finish your spelling practise. You will be cross when I shout and you will get grounded and tidy the table like everyone else. You will be very cross indeed at that.
You will know that you are loved. You will feel it, see it, touch it. We will hold you and cherish you and kiss you and cuddle you. But you won’t know quite how deeply, because I want you to be alive and whole for you. Not for us. For you. Not because we needed you and longed for you and wanted to be happy again. Just because you are Ben with his own place. Not Ben who came after and because of. Just Ben. Last of 6 children. Our glorious, gorgeous, wanted all because we found again the thrill of being a parent, full stop.
I don’t want you to be squashed by the responsibility of being alive just for us. Do it for you.
Your daddy says you are beautiful.
He never thought beautiful was a word that could be used about a boy till now. If I could paint a picture of the love he has for you, the way it has burst out of him afresh when he thought the days of welcoming newborns into his life was over, you would be blinded by the colour and the joy of it. You have made me love him even more than I already did.
Ben, darling boy. Snoring beside me, talking to me at 4am, milk drinking, poopy bummed, thoughtful eyed, gloriously alive baby boy…
Stay. We love you. Stay 🙂