I know I need to write this letter to you. It’s very important that one day you read these words, as I write them, fighting back tears and smiling at the same time.
You are our first baby. And for 5 years, it’s been you, mommy and daddy. The three amigos, up against the world. You have been our everything. And now, our hearts have expanded with love and we will soon welcome your baby brother to our family. This is going to change all of our lives, but I never want you to forget how much you mean to me.
You and I bonded in a special way, when mommy ended up in the hospital at 29 weeks pregnant. Daddy and I were scared. Very scared. We weren’t sure what was going to happen in those first few days. Would you come early? Would you have to fight for your life? What would we do if we lost you? But each day, after the doctors were able to stop mommy’s active labor, you grew inside mommy one day longer, reached one more crucial week. Even though your environment wasn’t ideal, you stayed strong. Even before your birth, we knew how amazing you were.
Mommy stayed in the hospital, on bed rest, only allowed to use the restroom and take a shower for the next five and a half weeks. I talked to you constantly. Most of the time, it was just you and I. Sure, Daddy came to see us as much as he could, and all of our family and Mommy’s friends came to visit us, but they all had their lives to live. Work to attend, kids to raise, houses to take care of, and it was just you and Mommy much of the time. I wrote a journal during those weeks with a lot of notes to you and special thoughts Mommy had, and you will get to read that someday, so I won’t go into too much here. Just know that in those weeks, I decided that being a mom was all that mattered to me. That I would be the best mom in the world if I was lucky enough to get to be one. I realized that money and a career wasn’t the priority anymore, you were. That was something that Mommy needed to learn and was one of the greatest gift you’ve given me.
You made it to the doctor’s goal date of 34 weeks! And that happened to be Easter Sunday that year. What a blessed and perfect day for you to arrive. Mommy and Daddy only got to hold you for a few minutes, before they took you away to the NICU. We had to wait a few hours before we finally got to see you and when we did, our hearts exploded with love. You were so very tiny, just 4.8 pounds and 16 inches long and you were inside an incubator covered with wires, surrounded by beeping monitors.
We were first-time parents, terrified and unprepared. But your adorable face and fighting spirit gave us the strength we needed. We were able to hold you and feed you and change your diaper (we got really good at doing that from outside your incubator, so when you came home, diapers were a breeze!) and we sat by your side just staring at you and praying for you to come home to us.
I fell in love with you before you were born, but in those early moments, I realized what being a mommy meant. And the great life that we were going to have as a family.
You were a trooper and you were able to come home after only 16 days. It was the longest and hardest 16 days of our lives, but we were very lucky. Many babies have to stay much longer, or sadly, never get to come home.
Mommy left her job to be home with you, something I never dreamed I’d do. But, I figured out an even better way to bring income to our family AND be your full-time mommy at the same time. You helped me realize what I had inside myself. I created my own business and now live a flexible and wonderful life as a writer (my dream since I was just a little girl).
We chose your name before we knew you’d be a preemie, but it fit you perfectly. Vincenzo means ‘the conqueror’ in Italian and in all the almost 5 years of your life, you have been nothing but that. You have thrived no matter what your circumstances brought you and we couldn’t be more proud of the little boy you have become.
You’ve had your struggles. You’ve had fantastic therapists and you’ve worked very hard. Through your speech, occupational and physical therapy, you’ve grown beyond our dreams. In just a few short months, you’ll start kindergarten and just typing that makes me so happy and so sad. You are growing up far too fast. But you are such a gentleman, such a polite, sweet, smart child, I know that each year of your life will be magical .The life you have ahead of you will be phenomenal.
I could write about you forever, but as we get ready to add another member to our awesome family, I want you to know a few things:
I am always in awe of your talents and how smart you are and I always will be.
Even when you don’t think I’m paying attention, I hear you and I see you.
When I’m busy and can’t always stop and play, it hurts my heart.
I miss you every time you aren’t here, whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours.
I love our snuggles, our lazy mornings together, and all the times it’s just you and me.
Seeing you run to me for a hug and scream ‘Mommy’ as you leave school or therapy will be a memory I cherish forever.
I cry when I think about you getting older and not needing me as much anymore, because I’ll always need you.
You will always be one of my best friends.
You will always be the person I wish I could be more like.
I will always hold you, hug you, love you and help you in any stage of your life.
I promise to plan special days for just you and I for the rest of your life.
No matter how many siblings you have, know that my love for you will never change.
This may be the end of just the three of us, but think about how exciting our lives will be with your brother. He will look up to you and love you and I know you will protect him and adore him. Having a sibling is a great blessing and I can’t wait for my two precious boys to meet and begin their lives together. Your bond will be strong and you will have a forever partner in crime, best friend and support system.
Being your mom is my greatest accomplishment. You are my dream come true.
I love you, my first baby.
Tara, I read this and cried myself. I think back when all you girls were little and now you are grown with babies of your own. I remember when I was expecting my 2nd baby. I wondered if I could possibly love them as much as my first. But I fell so in love all over again every bit as much, there is no doubt about it. It is amazing how much love you have for your children. Like you my girls were my world. I am so proud of all of you. I only hope that you all know how much you are loved and never take us for granted.
Thank you for the sweet words, Julie! I’m so happy to know your family and your amazing daughters. I miss our time together as kids. We really had so much fun. Hope to stay in touch as our own kids grow.