dear eloise,

today is my first mother’s day. it feels like christmas or my birthday – but better. i celebrated mother’s day last year, seven months pregnant with your cute self. i don’t remember much except that your dad made me my favorite breakfast – an omelet with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta and his blueberry pancakes (i’m pretty sure i also had a toasted onion bagel with scallion cream cheese that you were none too fond of). but this year, i want to remember every minute. just like i’ve tried to since you were born nearly ten months ago.

every holiday grandma bangles says that your dad, uncles, and i are her gifts. i smile and am reminded of how much your grandma loves us all so much. but i also question how that could possibly be true. surely, she wants a new pair of earrings (your dad and i brought her to get her ears pierced) or bracelets to bangle around in. but, like life does when you don’t fully comprehend someone’s perspective, i’m beginning to experience her sentiment for myself.

since the day you were born, i’ve experienced many moments - moments that have filled my heart with so much gratitude that i find it difficult to express it without choking up. moments that take my breath away. moments that fill my body with so much love, and joy, and peace, that there is no room left for any pain in my heart. these moments - these tiny, little moments - have brought me back to life. they are my gifts. you, eloise, are my gift.

one of these moments, and it might sound silly, is singing to you. since i was a little girl i have dreamed of becoming a famous singer. your dad laughs at my childhood dream of getting everyone i’ve ever known into one big stadium – friends, family, teachers, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-boyfriends’ moms – and belting out some of the greatest love ballads of all time. instantly, everyone would be in awe at my secret talent and praise me for my gift. from childhood to adulthood, i’ve sang to express my happiness, sadness, or release my fears and anxieties. do i have talent like uncle anthony or papa? no. but it moves my soul. it gives me peace.  but until i held you in my arms, rested your head on my shoulders, and sang you to sleep, i never knew a peace like the peace you’ve given me. your one little self is worth a stadium of thousands. because you eloise, are my gift.

another moment happened just the other day. we were at a park with a few mommy friends and their kids. one of the little boys took a seat next to you and you both began playing with plastic cups. something about the interaction made him mad, and he hit you in the head, not once, but twice. after the first hit, you sat there, stared him in the face, perplexed as to why he would hit you, and continued playing. by the second hit, you let out a cry. i let you take the lead in terms of your reaction. i wanted you to discover your feelings for yourself, without my influence. if you were OK, i was OK. but when you cried the second time, i was equally heartbroken for you as i was pissed at this kid for abusing you. 

all of a sudden i was hit with the reality that accidents will happen to you, and even more than that, that i cannot control them. people will hurt you. you won’t know why. and you will have to rely on yourself to respond accordingly. as i swooped you up, gave you a squeeze and encouraging word, i prayed to god that you are always and forever protected. god let me know that he’ll do the best he can, but nothing in life is guaranteed. so, i bargained with god. if we can't be there to protect you from every bruise or heartbreak, pain or disappointment, then i pray that in those moments, you feel the warmth of my love and comfort from my heart’s prayers that rest in the depths of your soul. because you eloise, are my gift.

as i lay you on your changing station and blow kisses on your belly, place you in the swing and watch you look at the world in wonder, or play peek-a-boo ad nauseam just to hear one tiny giggle that surely sounds like an angel’s laugh, i am made aware that you are the greatest gift that my soul has ever been given. you demand my presence in a way that is only possible when i am truly present. and only when i am truly present, can i recognize and appreciate the greatest present of all.

from my very first mother’s day to my very last, i will say a prayer. i pray that when you experience the worst of the worst, that you have someone, like i do in you, to remind you of the very best of the best. thank you, my sweet, strong, powerful, eloise. you are the greatest gift, i’ve ever known.

love always,

mama