an open letter to my first born child

Saturday, March 23, 2013

to my first born child,

I don't know whether to start this letter to you with a thank you or an apology.  The thing is, my darling, that as our first born, you get both the best and the worst of us as your parents.

My sweet baby, the day you were born, you made us parents for the first time.  You should have seen us leaving that day from the hospital, you only two days old.  The nurses wished us good luck and breezed out of the room - leaving your dad and I standing there staring at each other dumbfounded.  I think I remember Dad actually whispering to me, "Are they seriously just going to let us walk out of here with this baby?"  We could not believe that somehow we were deemed responsible enough to take care of your little living, breathing self, without so much as an exit exam.  Come to find out later, we were capable enough but mostly because we had a great teacher; you.

It may be hard to imagine, but we weren't always old and 'all-knowing'.  We actually still aren't all-knowing (and we certainly don't feel as old as you think we are).  The truth is; we are your parents, but that doesn't actually mean we know what we're doing.  Like; at all.  We are just trying to do our best for you and our family.  We're just getting through each day learning from our mistakes and moving forward.

Speaking of mistakes, let's just go ahead and get to that apology.  Sorry for all the times that we got it wrong or mixed it up with you, our little guinea pig first born.  Like the time, we took you to the pediatrician for a low grade fever in a panic, only for them to tell us you were getting your first tooth.

Or the time your day care called me to say, "we have no problem helping with potty training, but when he comes to school, he's going to need to wear's a hygiene policy."

Or in the future when we're teaching you to drive and somehow in my little mumma-heart, I will think making your 16 year old self sit on my lap in the driver's seat is safer than letting you take the wheel by yourself.  (well, that's what my mom thought for me - her first born!)

There have been so many times that Dad and I have thought, "oops, we messed that one up."  And there will be plenty more to come, because the thing is - our first born baby - we are learning right along with you.  Each day we we are learning to be a parent of a (fill in the blank age) for the first time ever.

In a few weeks, we will be the parents of a three year old for the first time.  Right now, we have no idea what that might bring, but we know you'll show us and lead us through that unknown jungle of new phases and milestones and challenges.

Someday, you will be the first to teach us how to be parents of a child that rides the school bus and makes friends with kids that have parents that we will need to make friends with (or at least courtesies to).

Someday, you will be the first to teach us how it feels to watch our child suffer through the heartbreak of lost games and fights with your friends and failed exams.

Someday you will also be the first to teach us how it feels to watch our child fall in love and pass your drivers' test and make a right choice all on your own without any suggestions from us.

And then we will get to experience all of those things again and again with your younger siblings but with probably a little more grace and patience.  They will have it a little easier because we will have some cushion and confidence that we have only earned because of you.

Because for you, our dear first born - with you it will be our first time ever too.  And we will have to lean into those waves of overwhelming pride and sometimes aching sorrow with no experience on how to keep our balance.  We will most likely flail our arms and fight against it or think we can handle it, only to be swallowed up in the undertow.

And even though you've endured the worst of us (or at least the most inexperienced of us) - you also get a lot of the best of us.  There was a time (and will always be that time in our memories) that only belongs to you.  It was a time that there only existed the three of us.  You taught us about unconditional, all-consuming love.  You introduced us to the wonder and magic of a newborn that was ours.  You were the first person to call us Mum and Dadda.  You; our sweet first baby.  

We don't love you more or less than the rest, our darling first child- but you were the one that made us parents and you were our first teacher through this hard and wild journey.  So sorry about all those times we jumped the gun or guessed wrong, and all the times yet to come where we'll make a mistake.

But mostly thank you for all the lessons in parenting - you are a great teacher.

we love you forever and ever.
even when you get so big.
mum & dad


  1. *sniff*
    What a beautiful letter to your big boy. They grow so fast, it's definitely bittersweet.

  2. This brought tears to my eyes, as I am 4 weeks from my due date with my own "first born." I can only imagine that we will experience the same feelings as you did.

    Thanks for sharing! As always, your words are inspirational and always make me stop and think about life.

    1. So excited and happy for you Aly! Sending my love and good thoughts to you in the final stretch. Your baby is lucky to be getting you two as parents <3

  3. Thanks for the Monday morning cry, Tab! Happy Birthday to Greybaby! Love you guys.

  4. You were our first born Tab, and now you know how we feel about you <3 Love you more, your Mumma n Papa xoxoxo

  5. I love this. I am a first born and I always knew I had a special spot in their heart because of this. I had my dad's heart until the day he passed and my mom overprotected me until the day she passed (I just went with it). Don't get me wrong they adored my younger siblings, but I had that special status of being their first and greatest teacher. I have two boys now and even though they are equally loved I have that special spot in my heart for my oldest son and my greatest teacher. By the way, your little guys are precious and you come across as an awesome mom. Good job.

  6. Thank you I used your letter to express how I was feeling to my 13 year old daughter Ella, so hard to remember so many mistakes with her, now we have a son 10 and a younger daughter 6. My six year old is growing up so fast but I cherish every minute, wish I could have done that the first time around!