Friday, September 10, 2010

Day One

*I wrote this on Friday night.

Dear Henry,

You're laying next to me in your pirate jammies. We're sleeping together tonight 'cause daddy's out of town. (*whisper: Don't tell Dad, but I love to sleep with you*end whisper). I love to listen to your gruff night-time breath. I love to feel the warmth of your hot little body in the sheets. I love to run my fingers through the sweaty hair above your ears. I love to imagine what you might be dreaming of.

Every single first day of school shot I took turned out blurry; we might have to recreate this scene

Today you started kindergarten. You could have convinced every stranger in the neighborhood that you were 100% brave, but I'm your mom - I could smell nervousness down deep. So as we were pulling out of the garage, I asked how you were feeling. You cheerfully told me, "I'm really excited, but mostly still a little bit nervous." I was mostly a little bit nervous, too. But I knew you needed me to be brave. So we stopped the car and said a prayer. You started praying and Lily echoed each phrase, you paused for a minute then started whispering your prayer in her ear, happy to let her be the voice. It was so sweet to hear you pray for yourself, and then hear her repeat those supplications for you. She loves you so much. While you were at school, she kept saying, "I wanna go at kinneygowden, mom. I wanna go wiss Henny."

It is maybe the greatest joy in my life, watching you and your sister becoming dear little friends. I would say that as a general rule, your patience with her exceeds mine. You understand what she needs, whether her desires are expressed or implied. And when I give in to impatience, (which, I regret to say, has been too frequent an occurrence lately,) the thing that softens my heart to repentance quicker than anything else is seeing a look of confusion and sadness on your face. I know that you understand charity and empathy in deep ways, without ever having had a Sunday School lesson about them. There is wisdom and discernment behind your little almond eyes, Henry. And light. And sometimes I just want to let go and step back and have you illuminate the way for me.

I want you and your sister to teach me about God and godliness because He is fresher in your minds than mine. When I'm in the right frame of mind, it happens. I realize deep, sparkly things from our interactions. Treasures.

When you came home from school, you promptly removed your socks and shoes. (You prefer bare feet to any manner of footwear, a preference I completely understand). And then you walked into the kitchen, pulled a bowl from the cupboard and the applesauce from the fridge and made yourself an after-school snack. And for some reason that insignificant little sequence just nudged me a bit - it seemed so "big boy." And I had a 5-second vision of teen-aged you coming home and rummaging through the fridge for a snack.
I hope we can afford to feed you then - you already eat as much as a lot of adults I know.
But mostly, I hope we're still friends - when you're 6 foot something and unfairly handsome and always-hungry, I hope you'll still ask me to lay by you in your bed some nights. I hope we'll still chat about your day and about the things you think would be really, really cool. I hope you and Lily will still be allies. I just hope you'll still Because I'm quite fond of you, sir.

Puffing a "wisher"

Sometimes we play a little game, trying to quantify our love for each other. I'll say, "I love you to the moon and back." And then you say that you love me "to Pluto and back." And then I say "I love you to Pluto and back, twice!" And then you say with unmistakable finality, "well, I love you to the celestial kingdom and back!" And I say, "WOW! That's a lot of love!" And I give you the satisfaction of thinking that you do indeed love me more. But that is just me appeasing your desire to have the last word. Because I totally love you more. And you won't believe me 'til you have a baby of your own. And then you'll watch that little person and your heart will twist and swell and pound and you'll realize how very little you understood about love before parenthood.

I can't imagine my heart without you in it.



  1. I looooove your Dear Henry letters. I don't know you, but I sure know you love Henry and Lily. They are so lucky.

  2. That letter was so beautiful, Emily. You have a way of expressing your feelings that I truly admire. Your kids really are blessed to have you as their mom.

  3. Oh Em... I cannot believe Henry started Kindergarten!! We miss you all!! Give Lily and Henry hugs from us.

  4. Beautiful, Emily. It made me get teary! Henry is such a sweet boy. I hope he has a wonderful school year.

  5. First of all, you have such a charming way of expressing deep things. Love that about you.

    Secondly, my heart is aching right now at the thought that my own sweet boy is going to grow up way too fast. I can't believe Henry is a kindergartner already. Weren't WE just in kindergarten not too long ago?

  6. Your writing consistently qualifies as poetry not prose (to me, anyway). I think my favorite line was about Henry lighting the way for you. Children are so much more attuned than I think we could ever be as adults. It's no wonder we are commanded to be like the little children. They have so much figured out.

  7. Good grief. I think you should be Relief Society president, not me.

    And I love that book, too. But to love someone to the Celestial Kingdom and back? Did Henry come up with that on his own? Wouldn't surprise me....

    I love that little guy. And I miss him on Sundays!

  8. stab me in the heart why don't you...

  9. you have such a gift with words, Emily. This has been starred in my reader for days because I keep rereading and treasuring these thoughts. Thanks for reminding me of the best parts of motherhood.

  10. Em, I just love this little glance into your life. This is going to be one of your greatest treasures when the kids are all grown. What a fun thing to look back on and read. :)