Writer’s Note: I love writing letters to my daughters.
I free write these letters and restrain myself from editing, as the words of the heart know no grammar, or punctuation. These letters are pure, just as my love for them.
When my eldest graduated from preschool, I wrote her a letter to open when she graduates from high school.
In less than two months, my youngest daughter, Ruby will graduate from preschool. With a deep ache, this letter billowed from my heart. I rejoice and mourn her growth, equally. I look forward to her childhood, her adolescence and adulthood, yet I take time (as I did with my other daughter) to reflect on her first five years of life and grieve the death of her babyhood.
As I find myself swimming in nostalgia, I am reminded of the gift of her existence, the blessing of being her mother—and the honor of witnessing her life from conception.
Here is an intimate look into our lives, inside my love for her; an example of the love mothers all over the world know. Whether you have a close relationship with your mother, an estranged one, your mother is alive or passed:
I write this for all daughters—you are loved this much too.
My Sweet Ruby,
When did you become an almost five year old? Where has the time gone? There are moments I still feel you dancing in my belly, nuzzling your tiny face into the nape of my neck as I burp you. The smell of dried milk and baby powder on your skin.
You are and will always be my baby, my angel.
I loved every minute of our time together, when I was pregnant with you. Moving together, practicing together on my yoga mat, you, sleeping within me—safe from the world. You taught me intimacy at a time when I needed it the most.
At 34 weeks, you wanted to burst into the world, but you knew you needed a little more time. I was in pre-term labor with you, in and out of the hospital for weeks. Once we reached 38 weeks, I tried everything to get you out—acupuncture, you name it—but you wouldn’t budge.
You are a leader, you listen to your needs and you are not afraid to make them known. I honor that about you. I knew this about you before I ever saw your face.
Finally, when it was time you came with ease, quickly and gracefully. You danced out of me with your perfectly round head and gorgeous face. You have always moved this way, like you were a ballerina in a previous life, stolen from the last scene of Swan Lake, continuing your performance in this life. I could watch you dance, forever.
You are a quiet, observant spirit. You watch, tentative, calculated a master at making your moves appear fluidly spontaneous. How do you do that? You take your time and then you jump in, completely.
I remember feeding you, nursing you. I had to be patient and willing to wait. You would drink slowly, mindfully. Filling yourself to prepare to be awake, aware and engaged in everything you did. I watched you grow this way, from sitting up, to crawling, to walking, to running, to sprinting, to climbing, dancing, coloring, playing, practicing yoga.
Everything you do, you make it look effortless because you took the time to learn, to watch and to know first.
I have relished in witnessing your development. The way you write your name so clearly and crisply. I secretly wish you will always write the Y in your first name and the S in your last name backwards forever. It is precious, as if a sign of your innocence and purity. You are so kind Ruby and sensitive. You understand what others need before they even do. Being gentle with your friends, helping your sister. The way you come up to me and touch my hand, “Mama, I love you, I love your heart.”
I will never ever forget what you said to me about a year and a half ago. We were sitting at the table and you looked through me with the x-ray intuition of a sage,
“Mama do you know what? I looked at you today and I saw your heart.”
“What did my heart look like Ruby?”
“It looked like God, Mommy.”
From the first time I looked in your eyes I recognized that you know, you know in ways I never will. You understand and I hope you never ever lose that. I will help protect your knowledge, your eternal love and wisdom as long as I live.
My favorite times with you have been in the yoga studio when you come help me teach. You love being in there. Standing next to me as I teach and adjust, holding my hand. You love to practice too. With ease, touching your head to your feet in backbend, like you have practiced your whole life.
When the music is on I can hear you humming and singing as you bob your head from side to side coloring a picture on your belly with your legs swinging in the air.
Singing. You love to sing. The way you move your lips and sway your hips to the songs. You perform but the moment I look at you, you become shy, embarrassed almost. Please dance and sing, always, no matter who is looking or not looking. It doesn’t matter, it is how you free your spirit. I can tell.
You love school, learning, reading, drawing, playing make believe. Sitting and watching you play with your baby doll. Sometimes you don’t even know I watch you, but I do. You are a care taker, a lover, a mother. You tell me all the time how you can not wait to be a mommy. You are good at it, the best.
You love your daddy, oh do you love your daddy. He adores you and you adore him right back. I’m thankful for that—that you have a daddy. Every girl deserves a daddy. I don’t have to worry about men taking advantage of you because you will never let them. You have a man in your life who has set the bar for the rest.
Don’t settle for anyone less than the extraordinary example your father has set for you.
I love how you eat. You take time, you enjoy every bite, you taste. I learn so much from you. This is how you live your life, you taste every morsel of life. You are a bit picky with your food too. You love pasta, crackers, yogurt and cheese. You will eat fruits here and there and carrots with ranch but, mainly the ranch. You certainly have a sweet tooth, chocolate is your favorite. For lunch, I have three options to pack you—mini pizzas, a veggie corn dog, or pasta. For a whole year this is what you have eaten, and you couldn’t be more satisfied.
Right now, you are snuggling your stuffed animal doggie, Maggie. You miss your real Maggie dog. I tell you to give your stuffed Maggie an extra kiss when you really miss her. You bring her everywhere when you are not in school. You were so proud to show her off during chant class this week.
You love hair—long hair. I made the mistake of hurting your feelings by telling you your hair was shorter than Emma’s—oh boy did that make you mad and sad. You were Rapunzel for Halloween this past year. You looked like a blonde Cousin It, but it was the cutest thing I have seen. I had bought two purple and pink braided hair clips that you wore non stop for a week, they surpassed your regular hair by at least 3 inches. You love the feel of the hair grazing your back—I understand, I do too.
Yet, your hair is perfect Ruby. Curly, wispy, a mind of it’s own, just like you.
You love to dress yourself, and I let you, of course I do, it is your body to dress. Today, you wore blue running shorts, polka dot knee socks, sparkly light up shoes and a tank top adorned with a glittered peace sign.
You and your sissy play dress up all of the time. You love wearing your princess dresses and tiaras and sissy wears her turtle costume.
Sisters: let’s talk about you and Emma. You love each other so much, best friends. I have never seen arguments escalate the way you and hers do, yet you make up faster than the fights first ignite. You are like limbs of the other. Ruby and Emma, Emma and Ruby, perfect together, made for each other.
You are yin and yang, a perfect balance.
I hope you always stay this way. Fight and make up, always make up, please. I feel blessed to watch vicariously as you intertwine your lives as sisters, as friends. You have a partner, a witness to your life in each other. Take care of your relationship, your bond. Love each other and hold your differences as a gift not a disadvantage. Help one another through life and never leave or hang up with out an I love you.
Your favorite line is, “I can do it by myself.” Yes, I know you can, but sometimes let others help you. It is a lesson I am still learning myself, but it does us some good to let go of responsibility from time to time.
Speaking of our similarities, you certainly have my moodiness and temper. Oh Ruby, you have thrown the tantrums of the century. There have been times Mommy and Daddy have had to call each other to talk through breathing techniques so we didn’t lose it too. You don’t do it as often now and believe me, I know it was part of your process of growth, but sometimes we would be stuck in the car in a parking lot for an hour or two because you refused to get in your car seat.
I laugh about it now, but at the time, phew, it was difficult—I got a taste of my own medicine.
There is just something about you. Something out of this world and I respect it. I always will. I promise to support you in whatever you decide to do in life because I know it is your journey to have. The other day, you told me you are going to be a rock star—I wouldn’t be surprised.
Whatever you do and wherever you go, I will hold your hand like I do right now, and I will walk with you. I’m going to miss the day your tiny hand outgrows mine, when I can’t wrap my pink finger around your wrist as you hop over every crack on your way into school. Nothing ever stays the same, but one thing: my boundless love for you.
I am just grateful you chose me to be your mother. I waited for a very long time for you, my kindred spirit.
Sometimes, I wish I could eat the moments with you. When I walk passed your room and find you playing on your floor, singing into your play microphone, or reading a book. I love how you express yourself in your art, many rainbows and hearts, happy pictures reflecting the happiness in your heart.
Ruby, I love you from the roots of the earth to the moon and back. You and your sister are the loves of my life. Being your mom has been the greatest gift of my life. Raising you to fulfill your purpose in life, is my purpose, one I cherish.
I know you will open this when you graduate high school. I see you as the stunning grown young woman you have become, but I also see, sparkling and twirling in your eyes, the innocent tiny girl with her wispy blonde curls, bright blue eyes, mismatched clothes, big smile of baby teeth and the little hand that wraps around my neck and whispers, “Mommy, I wuv you so much. You the best Mommy” and I reply, “Ruby, you are the best baby.”
I’m not worried about you, because you know what you are doing, even when you don’t think you do.
You will always be safe, you will always be protected, and you will always be loved.
Go adventure, be brave, be bold, be courageous because you are meant to discover, to create, to learn, to experience it all and I will love you every step of the way, no matter what.
I love you Ruby Doo.
Here is the link to Rebecca’s Column: http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/rebecca-lammersen/
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Ed: Bryonie Wise