Dearest little pepper(s),
If only you knew how much hope and faith it was requiring of me in this moment just to write this letter to you. In fact, last week's letter is in my private journal for you, because it was just too scary to put it out here like this.
I feel as if my heart is breaking with the full weight of both hope and fear simultaneously.
I want to simply be hopeful, ecstatic, joyful. I want to be picking out baby clothes and contemplating your nursery.
But I am afraid.
And up until today I have been feeling so guilty for this fear, for my inability to blindly jump into joy and hope and simply be happy. I have been feeling the best I could do was to make space for my heart in the midst of this fear and be honest about it so that you might some day also know how to make this same space for your own heart when you are afraid. And I still think it is important that I do this.
But tonight, as I was cooking dinner, I remembered something crucial.
When your father asked me to marry him, I was terrified. I knew in the depths of my soul he was the only man for me, I knew with my whole heart that I loved him like no other, my very being cried out with a resounding "Yes!". But still, I was terrified. In fact (and we will tell you the whole story some day), after an entire day of ridiculously romantic, incredible, and magical engagement activities - I broke out in hives and ran home to my own bed to process it all and collapse in an exhausted heap. I was worn out from trying so hard not to be afraid.
Though our short engagement period was romantic and sweet and I only fell more in love with your father, I remained scared. Scared of what was to come, scared of losing what I already had, scared of something tragic happening to your father ( throughout the first entire year of marriage I panicked several times a week thinking he might die in a car wreck or something similar). I was terrified of losing him, terrified of being lost myself.
And on our wedding day? I woke up, again, completely frightened. Even as I walked down the aisle - I was more than a little scared. Excited, hopeful, in love - but terrified as well.
So, why did I go through with it? How did I know, in spite of my fears, that this was right? Well, something deep deep down inside me felt, even as your father asked me to marry him, that there was something true and good and right about this - and something in my heart told me that to take this step, to choose to love, to choose to hope, to choose joy - this was the greatest act of faith I could engage in. And I knew that though I was so scared, that this act of faith and trust was the right thing and the best thing for me to do. In spite of my fear, I chose courage - I chose life - I chose joy.
And I have never ever regretted it. I love your father today more than I ever did when we married, more than I could imagine loving someone when we married. It is still a risk, every day - to love him this much. But I do not regret it. He has brought me more joy and life than I ever would have experienced without him. And without him, there would be no you.
I tell you this story not to convince you to ignore your fear. Most of the time I believe that fear has an important message for us - one we should listen carefully to. Sometimes, we still must proceed with courage in the midst of fear - but I rarely, if ever, think it should be ignored.
No, I am telling you all of this to say that tonight I remembered the faith and courage it took me to believe in love, to believe in your father, to listen to the truest parts of my heart and to take that great leap of trust. And I realized that although I am terrified of losing you, scared that I won't be a good enough mother, panicked about whether we will have a good ultrasound on Friday - I can choose, to take a great leap of faith and trust again and believe in you, believe in myself, and believe in this joy. And it feels right to believe. It feels again, like this chance to have a great faith and trust in something much larger than myself, in the midst of the great unknown.
And so I am, I am choosing to have faith - to take courage. I am choosing to trust this joy.
(And oh, what a joy you are to me already)
I am also telling you this story because I realized tonight that I have this pattern. This pattern of becoming very very fearful in the face of a great joy or a tremendous gift. I do not always know how to receive these, how to relax and let myself become fully intoxicated by these moments. This is something I want to grow in.
Because I want for you, and tonight my wish for you is, that you would always feel free to embrace joy wherever it meets you. I do not want you to fear it, although sometimes you still might - joy is a vulnerable thing. I want you to recognize it and to dance with it, to let it into your heart and to love it. I want you to taste the delicious freedom of joy, true joy, without fear. So tonight, this is my wish and my blessing for you.
My promise to you is that I will try very hard to trust joy more fully when she comes, or at least to celebrate with her while she is here. And I will always try to help you, as best as I am able, to live without a fear of joy. I think babies are born with this ability (so perhaps it will be you teaching me) - but I will do my best to ensure you don't lose it entirely in your journey of growing up. Because joy, true joy, as scary as it can be at times - it is like a perfect taste of heaven.
All my love,