Grand plans and great expectations. We all have them at some point,right?
Shortly after Will was born, I ran out and bought a journal. I was determined to document every daily milestone and wax poetically about every precious moment. Well, Will turns five this month and that journal? It's on life support. Actually that's being generous. Only one page has anything written on it. And by the looks of it, I must have frantically tried to write down several of his "firsts" in one fell swoop.
So, when I realized I was not up to the task, I found an alternative. One that works for me and one that is more me than a journal. Every year for his birthday, I write Will a letter. To me, they are love letters to a little boy who has captured my heart completely.
There's no right or wrong to them, no formula. I simply write what strikes me on the eve of his birthday. The first year, I wrote up a list of my "mama advice" for him. You know, the really important things like "if you tell a girl you're going to call her, call her!" and "Find something you love and make a career of it- don't do a job simply for the paycheck." and "Remember your manners. Please and thank you go a long way."
The other years, I've written about the fun adventures we've had and the funny things he's said like the time I made pancakes and the smoke alarm went off. For the next year, Will refused to eat pancakes, covering his ears and saying "Mama, pancakes are too loud!"
I've also written about his friends and how much he's enjoyed t-ball or how he fell in love with Scooby Doo. This year, I'm telling him how much he's changed our lives, how he is a blessing to our little family and how he is the best assignment I've ever had.
I will let him know how much I've learned from him. I've learned to be patient, I've learned that a lot of things I used to think matter really don't and I've learned how to drive slowly and eat quickly. I've also re-learned the joy of going to the library, splashing in the creek and running around the house in circles for no particular reason.
When he was a baby, I bought a bunch of those parenting books and then lamented that I wasn't doing things just right. A wise mama (Elizabeth Gardner) told me to ditch the books. She said I would find my own way and I would be fine.
She was right ... finding your own way is much more fun and writing love letters suits me just fine too.
Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a preschooler. She starts writing for Go Ask Mom monthly.