I Promise: An Open Letter to my Baby
February 16, 2001

Dear Anna~

You're lying asleep in my arms and I've been reading through old letters I wrote when your big sister was as small as you. You should thank Victoria, because she's already taught me so much about how to mother better than any book has.

Here's some lessons I learned, and promises I make to you now.

I promise to remember that babies are only toddlers for a little while, and to say "no" less and simply distract you more.

I promise whenever you are cranky and in a funk I will try to imagine what it's like in your little world at that moment. I will remember that you've only been here a few hundred days, and it's perfectly reasonable to be awfully, awfully upset that wonderful tasting pennies, crayons, or dirt are continually snatched away.

I promise to remember that I have no right to treat you any worse than I would a stranger on the street. I will be sympathetic and use manners with you, because you deserve that more than anyone I know.

I promise at least once a day to get down on the floor and be a total idiot with you.

I promise to celebrate your voice and let you hoot like a monkey, shriek like a banshee and be a happy goofball like the rest of us. I'll make sure to happily distract you with quiet fun if we're not someplace that would appreciate the wounded coyote song, but I'll make sure to do it in such a fun way that you really won't mind.

I promise to talk to you a lot, to point out everything in our world and remember how new and exciting it all is. I promise we won't just read Victoria's books, but ones just for you too.

I promise to teach you how to be the kind of child and person who people will love to be around. I will have high standards for you, but never too high to attain.

I promise to teach you how to find your own happiness so you never need more men, money, or friends to find joy in life.

I promise to always give you time where it's just the two of us.

I promise to be honest with you. I won't sugar-coat the world but I will also always let you know that you have a lot of people who treasure you and they will always help keep you safe. I promise not to forget, when you're old enough, to teach you how to stay safe -- even though I don't want to admit you could ever need it.

I promise to always put a little magic in your life.

I promise that sometimes I'll love you so much it makes me cry, and that no matter how old you are I will still sneak looks at you while you're sleeping, playing and living life. I promise that there will always be people who love you so much it's amazing, and we will be there for you no matter what.

I promise that even if you don't want it, I'm going to hound you and your sister and make you value each other. She is the greatest gift I've given you outside of life and love.

I promise to never stop reading parenting magazines and books, talking to mothers, and listening to my heart so that I grow as a mother.

I promise to realize that you have to make your own mistakes sometimes and it's not my job to protect you so much that you never experience life. I'll do my best to give you room to fall off the jungle gym, date a guy with blue hair or take a year off college. If your daddy has to superglue my lips together, I swear I'll hush and be supportive!

And now, Sweet Pea, you're stretching and waking so I promise to give you many, many kisses and be really silly for a while.

I love you, Annalee.

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