Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dear Paige,

When I first heard your story I was intrigued because I, like you, had a brand new baby boy. He's going to be one on Monday and for some reason I find myself reflecting on your story this morning. I'm dealing with my first "sick baby" time--I think it's just teething, but he's got a fever, and he's fussy, and just wants to cuddle. And the pain I feel in my heart for him made me think of how you could even leave your child. I thought, if I hurt this much just from his being a little under the weather, how could Paige have just left Max?

I can understand the overwhelming feeling you had with your husband at work all the time, and your not leaving the house, and the baby fussing. I totally get that. I get overwhelmed on the weekends sometimes, and I have the opportunity to go to work Monday through Friday and do adult things. But still, to just leave? Especially after months when you've had the chance to bond and really form a relationship with him.

Didn't your heart just die? Wasn't the longing for him unbearable? Weren't you mad to be missing such big milestones in his life?

Or does this make me a really clingy mom? I worry sometimes that I am. Going one day without my son makes me fidgety. The idea of him starting to walk while I'm away at work makes me want to quit my job. I miss him so much while I'm at work, yet I'm only away for nine or ten hours. To miss him for weeks? I honestly think I'd die. Or end up in a mental institution.

And I've heard that phrase "never judge a mother" or something like that. And I really do try to live by that. You never know someone's whole situation. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. And I of all people know this is completely true; you never know what goes on in another person's home. Ever. And even with a glimpse into yours, I really try not to judge. I can understand why you left. I can see your reasoning, and that you just snapped. You didn't really want to go, but for your own sanity you had to go. Sometimes we just get to our braking point and something has to change. It happens to me. And I can certainly understand you snapping since you had mommy issues to begin with.

I am glad you found her though. I think it "fixed" something in you. I think it did something for you that would have ate at you forever. You became a mother with the mentality that you were never supposed to have become a mother. And that's not fair for you or for Max. So I'm glad that you did what you needed to do to become the best mother you could be for Max.

But I will admit, I just didn't think I was going to be able to finish your story. I came into it because we had our son's ages in common. I thought, this will be interesting. But I'll be honest, I just got mad at you kind of. How could you not love your son as much as I love mine? And there I went judging you again. Just because you snapped doesn't mean your don't love your son. Just because you left doesn't mean you don't want what's best for him. Right? You really challenged me. You really taught me that the whole "don't judge other mothers" thing is so true. You taught me understanding and empathy and you even taught me a little bit about love. In a weird way.

I hope you have found happiness. I hope you have found yourself through your son. I hope that he makes you feel full and accomplished and special. I hope that maybe one day my love story, my relationship with my son, can inspire you. Because yours, as much as I don't understand it, has inspired me. It's taught me to hold my son tight, to let go when I need to, and to listen to what's in our hearts. It's not just about me--it's about him too. And you reminded me of that.

Hugging my son,

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