Friday, January 17, 2014

Dear Ada...

I've been writing letters to my daughter since she was 22 weeks old pre-partum. This is an excerpt from the letter I wrote her today.

I'm not sure when or how I will talk to her about my battle with depression. I'm not sure how old she'll be when I first use the word "depression" when describing how her mama feels sometimes. I don't want to make my disease her problem, but I don't want to ignore it either. So until I figure out how and when, I guess I'll write things like this so she knows that even people who have trouble being happy can still have such beautiful days.


Let me tell you more about what we did yesterday. Because yesterday is a pretty typical day for you and I lately. You woke up around 9:15 a.m. (again, this is because you’re not napping during the day very much) and I made you a frozen Kashi waffle with pieces of banana. You finagled some cheese out of me after your waffle and banana were gone, and you drank almost a full sippy cup of milk all on your own. I changed your diaper while you watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. You despise having your diaper changed, so I have to have something to occupy you while I do it. I meant to change you out of your PJ’s, but I didn’t. In fact, you stayed in your PJ’s all day.

Now before you get upset with me about this, please hear me out. Most days you and I just hang around the house. If we leave the house, it’s usually to take a walk in the stroller, where I bundle you up with blankets and a coat, and no one sees anything but your face. It’s January, it’s cold, so keeping you in jammies makes a fair amount of sense. Except yesterday, I took you with me on an errand. To a store. In your jammies. And I kinda didn’t wash your face and hands after lunch before I did, so you were looking pretty shabby.

I’m sorry! If it’s any consolation (which I’m sure it won’t be) I hadn’t showered in two days and was wearing the same clothes I’d worn the day before. I just wanted to quickly run to this one place and be done. Well, it didn’t work out that way.

While in this place, this party supply store, where I had you in the seat of the shopping cart, you proceeded to have a tantrum. You were having none of this party store business. No, ma’am. Fussy, fussy pants. You were scaring me with how violently you squirmed to find freedom from the cart. I quickly bought a few things I didn’t really like and got out of the store as fast as I could. Strapping you into your car seat was like taking you out of one seat you disliked into another that you LOATHED with the fury of hell itself. I was having a sad day (missing your Dada) as it was, so this was not helping me feel better. As I drove out of the parking lot, I had a brainstorm. You and I looked so gross, but I didn’t care. We drove around until you calmed down a bit, and then I took you to the mall.

You love the mall. You love the people-watching the best. The smaller stroller I put you in helps you feel less tethered down, more in the action of it all. You tried fudge brownie for the first time from a sample we shared at the cookie place. A big hit. Best of all, I took you on your very first merry go round. (For the record, you were nervous at first, but then you loved it and didn’t want it to stop.) Then we went over to Dino-Towne, which is a dinosaur themed indoor playground. There were all these older kids running around like lunatics, climbing up things and sliding down others. I set you down and let you roam. And roam you did. 

It's profound for me to watch your world get bigger right before my eyes. You watched all these kids flying around with deep interest. After a few minutes of observation, you took off to the far side of the floor, squealing and laughing as you went. Then you stopped, turned around, and looked for me. I smiled and waved, and off you went in another direction. You stopped my heart to watch you, Ada.

Yes, you were in your jammies. Yes, you had dried peanut butter on your face. Yes, your hair had not seen a brush in twelve hours or more. And all these other moms were sitting on the sidelines, looking very done up and trendy, with their leather knee boots and faux fur vests. I was wearing dirty baggy jeans and oily hair tied in a straggly knot. And all their little ones were wearing things like ruffled bell bottom pants, floral headbands and pink Uggs. Not us, Ada. We were ragamuffins. Fresh out of Slumville. I truly didn't care about my looks, or yours, for that matter. We were on an impromptu adventure. So no, we didn’t stop to look in the mirror when the world beckoned us to go explore it. We never intended to be in public yesterday, but it happened anyway. We were having a rough day, and we needed some fun, so we changed the plan on the fly. I’m sorry if it embarrasses you to hear this story. I can tell you this, you certainly did not seem to care what you were wearing. And don’t worry, love, I don’t plan on making a habit out of public pajama wearing.  

We got home after that and you were a different girl. A happier girl.

I just love you to death, Ada. I love spending time with you. I don’t sleep well these days, and I have a hard time feeling happy. And I will work on that so you can have a happy mom. But getting to spend this time with you is my greatest joy and blessing. Other moms sometimes have to work when they'd rather stay at home with their children. Thanks to a Dada that loves us so much, you and I get to be together all the time. And that makes me so happy. You get more and more fun with each passing day. I miss the baby Ada very much. But I wouldn’t trade her for the spunky, beautiful girl you are now. My dearest girl.