I write you letters, but these letters are not about you as you are in the distant future, but what you are today and what I am today. I do not yet know who you will be, and while I can imagine and dream, my imagination is not all-encompassing. I wouldn’t want it to be. Part of the joy of having children is seeing them exceed your imagination. My favorite things about each of my children are the things that I was never able to imagine.
I write to you about breastfeeding, sleep, choices, my mothering of you.
You may make very different choices from the ones that I have made. You are not a clone of me. Your life will be different from mine. The things you read will be different from the things that I have read. The studies that you can pull from will be different from the studies of today. Your children will be as different from you as you are from me.
You may have different abilities than mine. Already I know one area in which your body does things better than mine. My ears are broken. Yours are perfect. You react to sounds that I have not heard since I was a child, since before I became deaf. Maybe you will be more graceful than me, maybe you’ll be more clumsy. Maybe you’ll discover musical talent, or maybe you will be as tone-deaf as I am. Maybe you’ll be an artist.
I don’t see the future beyond this: I love you. I will support you. I will delight in the things that you do well. When you seek out my advice, I will offer it, and when you do not, I will not. These letters to you are not my judgement of the mother or the father that you have yet to become. These letters are not a judgement of your future husband or wife. These letters to you are not a blueprint of the mother or father that I feel you must be. These letters are simply things that I wish to tell you someday. Things which may or may not be of use to you.
Maybe you’ll circumcise. Maybe you’ll formula feed. Maybe you’ll CIO. Maybe you’ll spank. Maybe you’ll exclusively pump. Maybe you’ll need a c-section. Maybe you’ll homeschool. Maybe you’ll be a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. Maybe you’ll be an atheist. Maybe you’ll be petite, or maybe you’ll be large. Maybe you’ll grow vegetables in the backyard the way I do, or maybe you’ll hate vegetables with a passion.
I do not know who you will be, what choices you will make, what type of a mother or father you will be, or if you will be a parent at all. Your life is YOUR life, as my life is mine. This is my turn to make the choices that I make. When your turn comes it will be your turn.
Please never feel judged by the ways in which I did things differently.
No one will ever love your children more than you and their other parent do. Not me, not your father, not your friends who do things differently.
If you learn better, do better. But no informed choice made with love is ever the “wrong” one. Guilt is the domain of people who make easy choices for reasons other than love or necessity. Anyone who offers you guilt offers you something of themselves rather than of you. You do not need to accept it.
You know your life, you know your children, you know the partner that your heart has chosen, you know the truth of your thoughts and your feelings. Nothing else matters. Do not take on the guilt that anyone else tries to offer.
Make your choices with love, and listen to what your heart says. Nothing else matters.