A letter to my son

My dear son,

I see you crying for me, as if you can’t live without me. My brain tells me you can so I hurriedly rush to the bathroom. But my heart tells me you can’t, so I hurriedly rush back to sweep you up in my arms and cuddle you.

I see you watching me take care of housework, waiting for the moment when my eye catches yours and you’ll give me that smile that melts my heart.

I see you getting excited when I walk towards you to pick you up. You grin and move your arms up and down quickly as I get nearer. Seeing you reach out for me is a wonderful feeling. I know you need me, but this means you want me.

As I watch you sleep, I think about the day when you will want another woman. When there will be another woman you cannot live without. Another woman who will fall in love with your kind heart, beautiful eyes and sweet dimples. I can’t lie – I know it’ll hurt a little, but I will reason with my heart to let you go. My heart will understand.

Some days it’s hard for me to struggle with this tug of war going on with my emotions in my head. I want you to need me, but I also want you to be independent and strong. Some days I pray you will just quietly play while I take care of my work, but some days I secretly pray that you cry for me, so I know I’m still needed.

One day you might read this and laugh. Oh Mama. Why did you worry about all this? I was bound to grow up, didn’t you know?

Oh, I knew. But you see, my son, being a mother is a different kind of thing. You’re strong and smart and resilient. But you’re also gentle and delicate and sensitive. We have to be perfect in both sets of qualities to raise good kids. My strength enables you to gain confidence, and my gentleness allows you to understand kindness and compassion.

With our brains we raise you to eat good things, and say good things and behave like good kids. And with our hearts we teach you faith, show you how to love one another and how to care for others.

But don’t you worry about me, my son. I knew from the moment I felt you in my womb that I wanted to raise you to be a soldier. That when you stared in the face of good and evil, you would choose good, without even so much as a blink.

God blessed me with you after giving me two beautiful girls. And I often hear that you will grow to be a “Mama’s boy” or be spoiled, having come after your sisters. But I tell myself that I won’t let this happen. I want to raise all of you the same way. But I know I can raise my daughters to be good mothers. I have to raise you to be a good father and to choose a good mother.

And so I tell you now, my son, that when you will choose another woman, remember to look for strength in matters of the brain, and gentleness in matters of the heart. Remember to choose a woman who will aim to raise good children. Remember to choose a woman who will be ok when she is forced to let go.

And remember to love her more for these things, because you will never understand how a mother feels and how she has to battle between her heart and brain for the sake of her kids.

But you just might get a glimpse of that when you see her one day fingering a small baby blanket or unfolding an old baby outfit, and pressing it against her face. The faint smell of fabric softener still lingers along with the smell of being a new mom.

Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll give her one of those beautiful, warm smiles that light up my heart and soul. And because of our special bond, I’ll feel it too.