My baby: I know you’ll leave one day, but can you promise to always need me (just a little)?

Dear baby,

Please know that I would never ask you to stay.


My job, responsibility and honor in this life are to help you grow into someone who can leave. Someone who can go on great adventures, fall in love, make the world a better place.

I want nothing more than for you to go and do all of those things.

But if I could ask one thing of you, make one small request, it would be this: Could you promise to always need me just a little?

Right now, I am your hero. When you have bad dreams, I soothe you back to sleep. When you don't want to get into the water at swimming lessons, you cling to my body and find safety. You once even asked me to make it stop raining.

In your eyes I am invincible, and you look to me to solve each of your problems.

Over time, little by little, it is my job to teach you how to solve your own problems. And though it feels scary for both of us, every time you solve them—or fail trying—you grow more confident, and you need me a little bit less.

Before we know it, you'll be the hero you need, not me.

But if you could, would you promise to sometimes let me swoop in? Let me put on my mama-cape and save the day, even if it's just with a bowl of soup when you're sick, or a last minute day of watching your kids?

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Right now, I am your expert. I know exactly how you want the blanket put on you at bedtime, and exactly when to press fast-forward in Frozen so you don't have to see the snow monster, and how the blue cup is your favorite EXCEPT WHEN IT'S NOT, and all the tiny, weird, lovable idiosyncrasies that make you you.

My days revolve around how well I know you and what you need to thrive.

Over time, little by little, it is my job to help you become your own well of self-knowledge. To teach you to trust yourself and your intuition, to be "the boss of your body," to know what you need to be happy.

Before we know it, you'll be the expert you need, not me.

But if you could, would you promise to sometimes call and ask me what I think? I'll try so hard to hold my unsolicited advice, but know that I will never want to stop knowing everything about you, and wanting to make you infinitely happy.

Right now, I am your true love. Your excitement when I walk through the door is palpable. You want to show me all of your tricks. I am the recipient of your handmade treasures.

Over time, little by little, it is my job to help you love yourself so that you can one day love someone else. And if that person respects and adores you, I will place your hand in theirs with pride and joy.

Before we know it, they'll be the true love you need, not me.

But if you could, would you promise to sometimes remember that I loved you first? I will never presume to think that I am more important to you than they are or try to interject myself where I don't belong. Just know that whether that person ends up breaking your heart, or spending all their days by your side, my love for you will never, ever fade. I will be your constant. Even if you are not mine.

The truth, my dear baby, is that being a mom is hard work. It's hard to be needed all the time. The responsibility of always being the one weighs heavy on me at times. I worry much more than you know. And some days, I am just so very tired.

But being needed by you is also the greatest joy of my life.

And watching you grow over time, little by little, is the best thing I have ever done. I want so much for you in this world, and it is endlessly exciting to bear witness to your magic every day.

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