Dear Emma Jane,
As you sleep in your bed on the last night you will be ten years old, I am restless thinking back to the long night we spent bringing you into the world. And since the calendar repeats itself every eleven years, this Thanksgiving weekend has been spent reliving each day that led up to your birth. From the ridiculous black Friday shopping, to the tree trimming and wrapping marathon, and ending with the cleaning frenzy of Sunday, I have been thinking back to the days of the weekend before you were born.
You were not due for four more weeks, so I could not know that you were coming so early. But my body somehow knew you were imminent. The classic nesting signs that are now part of the family lore were just me being OCD that weekend. How convenient that I got the tree up and decorated, presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree, the entire house cleaned, and a grocery store trip that involved me purchasing a deli tray for 20 people, all before my water broke on Sunday evening.
Just as everyone was returning to their hometown after the Thanksgiving weekend, they started to get the phone calls, Emily is having a baby tonight...well tomorrow anyway. I was in denial all the way up until they told me I wasn't going to be back home in time to watch Bobby Donnel in The Practice. "What?" I said, "Why?" The nurse just looked at me and said "You are having a baby."
It was a tough night. I am not going to lie. You were a difficult child to birth. A breeze to raise to eleven, but a tough one to gestate and birth. But you were finally born at 10:19 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 2002. There are a lot of things I don't remember about that morning and I blame the stadol for that. But I do remember the look on your dad's face when he saw you. I couldn't see you, but I could see him. The best word I can use to describe it is awestruck. He was in awe of you. Then suddenly, we both were.
As I sit next to the Christmas tree decorated with ornaments you and your sister have made over the years, I can't imagine not being your mom. You have changed me. You have made me into the person I am today. You see, before you, I was...selfish. And kind of a boy, really. I had no maternal instincts. None. I had no desire to ever be a mom, or do mom things. I was a scientist! And I was really pretty happy doing non-mom things. I was 32 when you were born. All my friends had children and that was fine for them, but I had things to do! I had boats to race and rocks to climb and miles to run! I knew that I should feel something when people would hand me a baby, but I never did. I never felt that yearning to start a family...or bake...or sew.
You must find this odd to learn that your mother who bakes and sews and crafts all the time, didn't learn to do any of this until you came along. When you were born a hormone was released that caused me to become domestic and crafty and maternal...I turned into a girl.
Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for giving me focus and meaning and joy. I love every part of being your mom. Watching you grow and mature these last eleven years has been the best time of my life. I am so lucky to have been here for it. I can't wait to see what the next eleven holds.
Your father and I could not be more proud of you. You are loved to the moon and back. For the sister that you are to Lucy, for the daughter you are to us, for the person you are when we aren't watching, and even for the times when you feel you've let us down, you are loved unconditionally.
Go back and read the letter I wrote you this past March. It says everything I want to say today. Because as I have been typing, the day has now changed over to your birthday.
Happy Birthday Emma Jane
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