To My First Born

Dear Truman,

Sometimes the world does not make sense, and really horrible things happen that we cannot explain. There is a heartbreaking story about another mommy and daddy who will never get the privilege of watching their children grow up, and who will never get to say, 'I love you,' one last time. This story has been weighing heavily on my heart, to say the least. And then yesterday there was another unimaginable nightmare circulating social media, and I just feel pulled to write this post. I'm not trying to be morbid, dramatic, or assume that I love my kids more than any other mother out there loves her own. I'm well aware that my children aren't as 'special' to the world as I perceive them to be within our own little family's world. We, as mothers, all love our children beyond measure and we try to do our best to show them that love since everything can change in an instant. We all know and worry about the worst case scenarios and attempt to soak in all of life's sweet moments while taking nothing for granted. Easier said than done, of course.

That just got really deep, but I wanted to preface this letter to you, T. Sorry if I've been giving you a lot of extra cuddles and acting weirder than usual, too.

Even though you have over 128 posts about you on this blog already, I feel like I need to spell it out directly to you: Mommy loves you more than words. That is one thing you never, ever have to doubt, buddy. Your dad and I both think you are the most amazing little boy we could have ever imagined and I hope you understand the depth of our love for you.

So this isn't a post about what you are doing at age 4 years, 2 months. It's a post about how honored I am to be your mother.

You were the little baby who made your dad and I parents for the first time, and you get the be the lucky kid who introduces us to everything 'new' with parenting. Your first steps were our first time to celebrate a child learning to walk. Your first ear infection, fever, puking episodes and upset tummies were our first time knowing the pain parents feel when their children are sick. Being the first born of the family means you are leading the way for your siblings---something that I think suits you just fine. Watching your personality emerge over the past four years has been nothing short of amazing, even though it hasn't always been easy.

Sometimes I lose my patience with you and your constant demands of me. You are in this interesting place right now where you still NEED so much from your mommy, and sometimes I just can't give anymore. Sometimes you are so independent it's mind-boggling, and in those moments I realize how quickly you are growing and changing. But even when I get irritated, lose my temper, and raise my voice at you please know that it's only because I'm human. My love for you is unconditional and goes deeper than a few rough mornings of 'please put on your shoes, we have to go' four hundred times in a row. I'm sorry for losing it with you, buddy. I can only hope that you don't remember the tough times we've had together and focus only on the happy times---because there have already been so many!

I hope you think I'm a fun mom, a loving mom, a silly mom, and an attentive mom. I want you to be confident, happy, compassionate, and determined in this world. So when I tell you 'no' or discipline you or seem like the most unfair mom in the universe, please know that I really do know what's best for my boy. I don't like making you mad but since I'm your mom, I don't have a choice sometimes. I want you to have a level-head on your shoulders, ready to tackle all of life's challenges, prepared for anything that comes your way. You need to be tough but still sensitive as you grow up. If I give into your every request I'd only be hurting you in the long run, buddy. Trust me on this one.

I hope you really do mean it when you tell me, 'You're my best friend, mommy,' and 'I love you every time I see you.' The other day you also told me that you might marry me when you grow up, as long as you don't marry your sister first. There are just so many quotes from you, sweet Truman, that I will cherish for all of my days.

I truly cannot wait to enter each phase of parenting with you, T. Right now the biggest thing approaching us, aside from meeting your new baby brother, is you starting Junior Kindergarten this fall. When I consider that your school-aged years are here already, and they will be the biggest chunk of our parenting 'careers', I get a little overwhelmed. Excited, too, but it's overwhelming. I can't quite picture that transition just yet but I know you will rock it. Please be patient with me if I'm a little overbearing and nervous about the unknown. I promise to be patient with you, too, if it turns out to be a challenging transition on your end---but I have a feeling you will handle it like a champ. We'll figure out all of the new phases together.

You are absolutely one of a kind. You are the best son that we could have possibly dreamed about, when we started this journey four years ago with you. Even when we are butting heads I still think you are exactly who you are supposed to be. Thank you for teaching us so much in your short life already, and please know how much we love you. Words could never capture the magnitude of my love. You are the best.




  1. Make me cry at 7:20 in the morning, thankyouverymuch. Lovely.

  2. If I had read this start to finish without interruption I would be bawling. So sweet. I think I will write my daughter a letter. It was just her birthday, maybe a yearly thing.

  3. Oh Julia. I just read this after emailing you and after looking up the story about Ryan after seeing so many pictures yesterday and crying for him and his family last night and again right now. And now you have me crying even more. This morning I showed Henry his picture and told him what happened, and I wasn't sure I should have done that, but I told him that I didn't do it to make him scared or sad, but to just know the risks in life and to always try and be so careful when he's playing. There is no way of making sense of these kinds of tragedies, and I'm sick thinking about what those parents are going through right now.

    This was such a beautiful post. Truman is a special kid. The first-born, leading the charge into every new stage and territory, is such a special place to hold in the family. I loved so much of what you said, about how WE think our kids are more special than anything, and everyone feels that way about their own kids, and it's something that truly bonds us. Of course we lose our tempers and our kids drive us bonkers sometimes, but hopefully they always always know how much we adore them and live for them. I think they do - it's apparent in what happy kids they are. I hate the fear that comes with this world, and trying to savor every moment with them just doesn't seem like enough - but it's really all we can do.

  4. It's just too much. Too much sometimes to even contemplate. My anxiety is already high and then to read about Ryan - I bawled on the way to work. We try so hard to control everything, to keep our kids safe, and that's not even enough! It's not fair and I'm crying out to God this morning. WHY GOD?! WHY???

    Beautiful letter, Julia. All these kiddos on the whole earth are one of a kind and when a child is lost there is a huge hole in the world :(

  5. I knew I shouldn't have read this post this morning. Now I have tears streaming down my face. That letter is beautiful!

    I wrote one to my son on the eve of his sister's birth and it still chokes me up to read it too.

    Have you ever read "You Were The First" by Patricia MacLachlan? We own the book and I can't get through one reading without tearing up. Maybe I'm just emotional. Ha. Anyway, if you don't own it, it might be a good present for Truman.

  6. I think in the preface you should have also said, 'if you are pregnant and a sap. Please go get a box of tissues now and move the iPad out of tear dropping distance.'

  7. So many hear breaking things on the internet these days! I am so grateful we are still safe and healthy. What a beautiful post for your boy. I recently bought Henry a book called "You were the first" and I think you guys would love it!!


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