a mat leave love letter

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My Baby Finnick,

I knew how special you were before you even emerged as a babbling, sweet, snuggly baby. Your birth at the end of 2019 was nothing short of eventful, but then you were here, with us. Like magic.

And our world has never been the same.

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You have the softest skin, you slept a ton (and continue to) and are so, so so cuddly. I took you to matinee movies at the theatre, we dined together in restaurants, and attended baby-mama yoga classes and social events. We had people over to meet you, and family and friends got to hold you and snuggle you. We held our first family Christmas dinner at our house and met your cousin Tanner, and you slept in the corner through the entire meal. After I healed from your birth, we were out and about on our own or with friends for coffee and Prosecco (for me) and milk for you. 

I am eternally grateful for the peaceful, special time we had together before the entire world was flipped upside-down in March of 2020.

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This isn’t a note to talk about the struggles and hardships the pandemic brought upon us; yes, it was (and still is, unfortunately) such a huge part of our lives, but I refuse to let it define the little person you are becoming, and the time we shared together during the first 13 months of your life. One day you will read the pandemic diary I have been keeping since the beginning; of course I need to acknowledge the position it put us in and how it changed the rest of your first year on this earth, but I will not let it cast a shadow on the memories we have built together. 

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Three and a half months after you were born, our worlds were rocked. Thinking back to those first few months of the initial worldwide lockdown, it’s hazy, to say the least. I didn’t expect your older brother to be home with us on maternity leave, your father to be holed up in our bedroom while working 16 hours a day, and I could never have imagined being afraid to leave the house on a walk with you both, but that’s the way it was in the early days of the pandemic. There are so many challenges we faced as a family head-on. I was in survival mode a lot of the time, taking care of you while pumping milk and working on getting you to sleep long nights, all while trying to create engaging, creative, fun days for you and your brother. And you know what? Through all of that, I am so appreciative for the time you and your brother spent together, the time we spent together as a family of four, and the time I had with you and Xavi together each day; you and your brother built a bond that would have taken much longer during ‘normal’ circumstances. You love each other so much, and it is evident every time you look at one another. 

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In the summer, when things lightened up a bit and pandemic cases were low, we safely visited your grandparents homes, went swimming, traveled to the cottage for the first time, and you even got to meet your Vancouver cousins. We had outdoor visits with friends and family. We went to parks and the beach, rolled around under tents at baby-mama yoga outdoors, and we sat on blankets and played with your friend Presley in shady, grassy nooks.

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Your cheeks started getting chubbier, your thighs grew thicker, and your hair grew into luscious, long, auburn locks. Your personality was developing rapidly and you started becoming a squishy, hilarious, feisty, silly little potato. You (still!) love hiding things in the dishwasher, and aspire to climb any structure just like your big brother– God help us. You love singing and music and tickles- all the best things. When we go for walks in your stroller, you wave like the Queen of England to dogs and people alike, and when you are out of your stroller, you often chase anyone and everyone down the sidewalk, yelling “hi, hi hi!”

Nowadays, when we arrive home from daycare pickup each day, you refuse to go inside right away: you want to get a peek of the neighbours and roll a ball to a passerby. You make your dad, brother and I laugh every single day, and bring so much joy to everyone who comes in contact with you, even if it is from a distance. You run over to hug my legs, your dads legs, and your brothers waist several times a day, and you make us giggle with your reactions and silly faces, even when we are feeling irritated or stressed. 

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I can’t wait to see who you continue to grow into. I am here for every step of your journey. Thank you for making our family’s year much brighter than it should have been. And as we transition to the next stage in our family unit, back to dual-income parents and two loving kids in daycare and school (hopefully they go back soon), we recognize daily that it isn’t easy right now. It’s hard, and it truly takes a village. Heading back to work is demanding and exhausting under “normal” circumstances- for a variety of reasons- and this time there are even more challenges we are facing. But I know we will continue to do it together as a family, support each other and make each other laugh. You have helped teach me that I can do anything; we all can do anything. And I can’t wait to see what you do. ❤

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We love you, I love you and I love who you are. 

Love,

Mama

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P.S. To all those who didn’t get to experience the time with their babies that they originally envisioned: I see you and I hope you can find the silver linings and some hopefulness for our kids future world.

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