Dear Henry

The thought of writing you a letter overwhelms me. Putting my feelings down into words about the person who means the most to be in the entire world into a neat document seems too much. But I want to. I want to do this before Tulip comes and rocks your world as you know it. I want you to read this one day whether it’s when you’re getting your pen license in primary school, or getting your driving license in high school, I want you to know how much you mean to me now, as a 2 year old. And how much you will always mean to be, even as a 52 year old.

You’re at such a cute stage right now but I’m not sure which is my favourite thing about it. I’m not sure if it’s your ready willingness and want for constant cuddles. I’m not sure if it’s the way you calm yourself down and say ‘it’s okay Henney’ when you’re sad or say ‘it’s okay’ to us when we are sad. Or is it the way you give us three gentle pats on the arm when you apologize to me and your Dad? I’m not sure if it’s the way you play with all of your toys happily by yourself. Or the way you laugh when someone trips over or does something goofy. You have so many likable qualities it’s hard to narrow it it down to a favourite.

I’ve always said that you have been so patient with me. You’ve been such an awesome ‘learner’ baby. You were patient with me while we were learning to breastfeed. You were patient with me when I was anxious about taking care of you and when I was in the intense throes of the baby blues. You were patient with me while I was learning to mother my way, and you never let me mother in a way that didn’t sit right with me. In fact you protested it, and in hindsight, that was one of the best gifts you given me. We have bonded so well due to us learning so much about each other and going with each other’s flow, always.

You sleep with us most nights at the moment but I know you won’t when you’re 15. But I’ll always be here for you anyway. You may not be keen on the overnight sleepover with mum and dad once you get older, but I hope we can still hang out and watch movies together. There used to be nights where I’d just wish you were a solitary sleeper, but the older you get, the more I hope you stay. It doesn’t bother us like society told us it would, my boy. And if I could give you some advice as you read this maybe as a father yourself maybe one day, it would be to never trust a book, an ‘expert’, or even a friend’s opinion over your own intuition.

I can’t wait to see you as an older brother. To see how caring you are now just makes me so excited. You won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t matter. You’re not meant to be. But you’ll be tender. You’ll be fun. And you will hopefully be patient with me just as you have always been, as I learn to juggle. Juggle the love. Juggle the attention. Juggle the play-doh and the breastfeeding. Juggle the bed time routines. Juggle my time. But knowing I’ll be juggling it with you, my boy, stills my heart and calms me. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve got this.

While all this juggling takes place, can you remember one thing? I’ll always adore you. You’ll always be the person who made me a mother first and held me through loss thereafter. You’ll always hold a special spot in my heart that is reserved for you and you only. Your little sibling will have their own unique spot and I will love and adore them too, but you will never and can never be replaced. I’m sorry if you feel as if I’ve failed you along the way as I’m learning to mother all over again. I’m sorry if I let you down in the process. But I will always try my hardest to be there for you when you’re learning to be a big brother too.

But let’s jump in anyway – it’s scary, it’s unprecedented, it’s unknown, it’s new. We’ve got each other and your Dad so I know we will be okay. Our team is tight, and it always will be.

I’ll always have your back. Always have a certain level of anxiety about making sure your life is as awesome as we can make it. I probably won’t ever make you wash your hands as much as your Dad will. There will always be chicken nuggets in the freezer for every growth spurt you experience. And I’ll always listen to you and hold space for you to be you. You don’t always need to give me sunshine and rainbows, because I just want the most you-est you you can give me, forever.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for making us laugh. Thank you for convincing us we are doing something right. We love you.