To my sweet, growing baby:
I’ve been loving and growing you for 9+ months now. I’ve done everything in my power to keep you safe, healthy, and content. Your daddy and I will do our best to continue to do those things as you get older and more independent. I’ve been seeing this message going around on facebook a lot lately. Your daddy and I have had quite a few conversations about it, and I thought I’d write about it here, as a note to you.
This image does a very good job of detailing exactly what your dad and I want to avoid when we raise you. We will always be your parents first, of course, because that’s what we are - your parents. But we do not want to create a feeling of fear and obedience in you, when you think about us. Here is our promise to you:
We will not stalk you. We will do our best to create a sense of trust between all of us so that, when you are old enough to do things on your own, you realize it is important that we know you are safe. We hope to have open, honest communication with you, so that you will tell us where you are and who you are with. Even if we don’t fully support your decisions, we still want to know about your life, and to let you be independent and make your own choices.
We will do our best not to flip out on you. I read a quote recently that said “there should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire,” and this is something that I hope to keep in the front of my mind in our home. I’m sure that there will be times when your dad and I will be frustrated or upset with you, or not agree with things you have done. However, we will do our best in those times to take a deep breath and look at you as a human being, who makes mistakes as often as we do. It’s very easy to get upset with a child and to yell at, shame, or belittle them. I hope that your dad and I will be able to remember that you are very small and new to this world, and that you will make mistakes.
There will be times when we want to lecture you, and I’m sure that sometimes that might be our first reaction. But I hope that, rather than lecturing you, we can talk calmly with you about the issue, challenge, or problem, and include you in the discussion and solution. We will try not to sit you down and talk about you for 30 minutes; we will instead use it as a time to have a conversation about what could have been differently.
I’m sure that we will, inevitably, drive you insane at various points in your life. I hope, however, that instead of you getting upset with us, you will be able to calmly explain that you need some time to be without us. Whether that means you read a book, take a walk, or visit a friend’s house, we will try to teach you constructive, healthy, and positive ways to deal with the conflict and frustration that can come from being close to others.
I honestly don’t even know how to express that there is nothing we hope to avoid more than the idea that we are your “worst nightmare.” I have no doubt that there will be times in your life where you will be frustrated, annoyed and upset with us. I’m sure that, in moments like these, you will want nothing to do with us. But I also hope that we can have the type of relationship with you in which you know that our family is based on love and respect. I hope that, no matter how you feel about us in any given moment, you will also be able to realize that the negativity will not last. I hope that you will be able to look back on other moments that you have felt similarly towards us, and know that you will always come back to the positive, even if it doesn’t seem possible.
This goes along with my first point, but I hope that you never feel as though it’s necessary for us to hunt you down, like a bloodhound or in any other way. Honest, open communication and a sense of trust will hopefully be a large part of our relationship, and something that we teach you to value.
I hope you don’t hate us, although you might feel as though you do. I hope that you are able to see the love and light in our family, even when you only feel negatively towards us.
All of these things are, indeed, because we love you. We want you to be a healthy, happy, well-adjusted, independent adult. These things will not be the markings of that - instead, they will be a way for us to know that we have taught you what we hoped to before you were born. As I’m writing this, your dad and I are still not completely responsible adults. That comes from living, making mistakes, and learning from them. You will make mistakes, as we have; we hope that we can help you avoid mistakes that can cause you or your life any major damage or trauma, but we know that we can’t keep you from living and making mistakes, and that is not something we should try to do.
We love you, and we always will.
Your mom and dad