- I hope you will always play and be silly, and I will love you for it. I want you to sing and dance and talk to your toys. When you’re older, I want you to try different languages, instruments, foods, and sports. Life is more enjoyable when you don’t have to be perfect and you never have to be perfect, Little Bear.
- When we fight, I will never go away. We are both going to hurt each other and make mistakes. As your mom, I will never be too proud to tell you I made a mistake and you can always tell me the same. You will get in trouble, but I will not ignore or shame or defeat you. You will make it through every mistake knowing that I will be there. We will get through it all…together.
- I’m sorry to tell you, I’m not going to reward you when you choose to do the right thing. To love you well, I need to expect that you will do the right thing as you walk through the world. When your classmates are making fun of someone else or cheating on a test and you don’t? No cookies or medals as a reward. I expect you to do the right thing, even when no one is offering you praise for it. Especially when no one is offering you praise for it.
- I’m gonna show you how amazing it is to grow a lemon tree from a seed, take you on trips to see new things, force you to eat with your hands at least once-a-month (no OCD for you), limit Christmas presents to no more than 3, and help you memorize your two national anthems.
- You will be a hugger. We will hug a lot, even when you are annoyed or angry with me. Hugs make both people feel joy. There is little else that feels better than a good bear hug and you have that in your DNA and nickname!
- Speaking of Mommy being annoying, I’ll never stop telling you stories about the families to which you belong and I don’t care if it’s annoying. You will feel as if you tasted Saturday’s apple butter and biscuits at Mimi and Pop’s or walked the beach with Granddaddy or listened to Grammy playing the piano. You are the legacy and you will be strengthened by the stories of the shoes you now fill.
- You will learn Swiss German and French and who-knows-what other languages. Christopher Henry, you will also learn the difference between “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” Before you are able to write your name, I will have beaten into your little brain it is “a lot” and not “alot.” I can and will give you a great gift by teaching you what I’ve learned from excellent English teachers. Your education will be the second best gift I give you.
- And, I hope the best gift I give you is a some sort of faith in a higher being. Henry, this is a big world and you are here because you are a miracle. Faith will help you show unconditional gratitude, compassion, grace, and humility to others. It will also allow you to persevere through whatever life throws your way. If you are able to learn these tools from your faith journey, whatever your journey may be, I will feel I have given you the best gift I ever received.
For now, I will spend the next few days thinking of all the little things I need to do to make sure your beginning is exactly what you deserve – the best.
Mommy loves you.
4 more days.
This photo was taken in your nursery in our flat in Bern, Switzerland.