These years have been completely life changing

Artwork: Letters To Loved & Photos: Lucie Herridge

The following letter was written by Lucie Herridge for her son Harry on the eve of his ‘hearing birthday’. You can read more from Lucie by following her blog ‘Lucie and the bump’ or on Instagram.

Dear my best boy,

I guess this letter will start with sadness and end in celebration much like your hearing journey.  I want so much for you and I’m afraid that in the chaos we call life I might forget to tell you all of these things. So here it is.

You were born without the ability to hear.  It completely broke my heart and shattered everything I believed should be the perfect first-time-mum world.  It took me a while to accept that the songs I had sung (badly) to you or the shushing I made as I soothed you in the night, you had never heard.  I blamed myself, your dad, pregnancy, things I shouldn’t have eaten, things I should have eaten, even the loud music from the festival I took you too whilst carrying you in my belly.  In reality there was nothing we could have done differently, you were just not meant to have proper ears.

You’ve now had your “magic ears” for 3 years and WOW what an epic experience it has been.  These years have been completely life changing, I don’t ever think I will get over how incredible they have been.  I owe everything to the science behind the surgery you had and your implants and I cannot imagine our lives without you being able to hear.

Artwork: Letters To Loved Photos: Lucie Herridge

I will always be your biggest cheerleader and fan. When you spoke your first proper word just 10 weeks after having your magic ears switched on I could have exploded with pride.

You love to listen.  In fact you are a total eavesdropper and join in on the conversations you’re not involved in on a regular basis, you don’t miss a trick.

Your speech is mind blowing.  The day a speech therapist told me she wouldn’t need to see you anymore after just one session I felt so honoured to have such an incredibly clever little boy, it was the greatest feeling in the world.

Artwork: Letters To Loved Photos: Lucie Herridge

Sometimes I want to freeze this moment, where everything is perfect and you are thriving but I know that as you continue to grow, you might come across obstacles and it is going to dawn on you that you are different.  I hope that you take it well and you see your uniqueness as a quirk, a rarity and something to be celebrated.  There is nobody else like you and I just hope you can love yourself as much as everybody around you does.

It can be difficult for people to understand the fact that I wouldn’t change you for the world.  I mean I would change silly things like, I wish you would sleep through an entire night uninterrupted, but I wouldn’t change you and your magic ears.  It is just what makes you Harry.

I’ll always love you,

Mummy x

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Keep being you, keep being kind.

The following letter was written by Jessica of  The Legacy of Leo for her son Eli. She writes to him as a teenager about the importance of being comfortable and willing to share his emotions.

 

 

 

 

Dear Eli,
As you begin to enter the world of adulthood I want to take a moment to make sure you know you can always talk to us about how you are feeling. How do you feel today? Are you able to tell someone if something upsets or bothers you? I hope there is someone you feel able to confide in about how you feel. You always have us though, always.
Some people might tell you things like, “boys don’t cry”, or “man up, pull yourself together” if boys and men get upset. I disagree, though. Boys do cry. And they don’t need to man up either. If you are upset, it’s okay to be upset. It you are happy, excited, or just content, that’s okay too. If you are anxious, worried, fearful, that’s okay.
I just want you to be able to talk about these emotions. Right now, they probably feel quite fast moving and vibrant. Often, emotions can change very quickly. Other times, some emotions hang around for a long time and you can’t shift them, even if you want too. Some may feel more uncomfortable than others. That’s okay, it happens to all of us – even adults. It’s just important to spend time learning your emotions, and finding out what helps you feel as calm as possible.
If you ever don’t feel able to talk to us, please find someone who you do feel comfortable talking to. It’s important to have these people in your life. They are special people, to be cherished. They should just listen to you, without judgement or critique. They might offer advice or another point of view, but you shouldn’t feel upset by their support. If you do, I’d suggest finding someone else – friend or family.
If you don’t feel able to talk to anyone sometimes, then maybe have a go at writing your thoughts down. Sometimes it can really help to make sense of them, and often you feel a lot calmer as a result. You could always write a letter if you want to share those feelings with someone, or just keep it to yourself.
Most importantly, just know you can share the thoughts and feelings that you have. I promise you’ll never be the first person to feel that way. If you are scared or find it difficult to understand your emotions, or they feel too overwhelming – remember you can always ask us for help. That’s okay too.
And return the favour to those who listen to you. Being able to give someone, anyone, time and space to share their thoughts with you is a gift, and everyone needs someone like that in their life.
Keep being you, keep being kind.
Love,
Your mummies

 

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On the day we found out three will become four

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

The following letter was written by Norfolk based mum Lauren for her little boy Dilan. You can read more on Lauren’s parenting and lifestyle blog Dilan and Me.

 

Dilan,

I’ve dreamt of being pregnant for so long now. Dreamt of giving you the baby brother or sister you ask for so very often. Dreamt of expanding our family, growing the love in our house and being able to watch you all grow up together.

I’ve worried that I’ve left it too long, that you’re childhood won’t be as magical as I wanted, as the potential age gap gets larger and larger. I’ve worried that bringing a new baby into our less than simple situation could be really hard.

But I’ve watched as you have met the new babies that have come into our lives, and I’ve seen how gentle, loving and caring you can be. I’ve watched as you’ve helped them, looked after them and loved them with all of your heart. So I know that having a baby of our own would give you so much joy.

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

This morning.

Today we woke up together, you stroked my face and said good morning the way you always do. We went downstairs in our pyjamas and put on some cartoons. I left you playing as I went back upstairs and in the next 5 minutes your whole life changed and you had no idea.

The minute I saw the positive test I was overwhelmed with emotions. So much happiness, so much relief and elation. Excitement, real butterfly inducing stomach flipping excitement. The realisation that this is it, this is the beginning of the next chapter. A little panic and fear, which I think is normal given the circumstances.

But then something I didn’t expect hit me, and a wave of sadness washed over me as I realised that this was the end of something too. The end of ‘us’. I suddenly felt like a timer had started, and that our time of only having each other was limited. A 9 month countdown had already begun, and the time we have left is already ticking away.

 

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

I started to feel a more urgent kind of panic, as I wondered how on earth we’d cope with such a huge interruption. How we would learn to meet everyone’s needs, and keep everyone happy. How I would manage to give you every piece of me that you deserve, and still nurture something so small who’s needs are even bigger. How I would manage being all things to all people, getting everything done without splitting myself in half. How to survive night feeds and sleep deprivation, whilst still giving you all the time and patience that you’re used to, without leaving you feeling pushed aside.

The feeling that settled as I thought it through was a familiar one, one that I’ve felt so often already on my journey through motherhood so far. Every milestone, every development, every day is tinged with this same bittersweet feeling. Happiness at the start of something new and exciting, but so much sadness at closing the door on the path we were previously on.

I went back downstairs and you leapt into my arms, nuzzling your face in to mine. Still no idea how much life just changed, no concept of the news I just had, but an intuition that a cuddle and a squeeze was what Mummy needs.

Will you ever forgive me for causing myself to stretch between two of you? Will you be sad that I’m no longer completely yours? Will I feel guilty for the times of compromise coming up, as I try to balance the needs of our growing family and my own?

 

Photo Credit: Adam Robertson

 

The truth is I don’t know, there’s no way that I possible could. I have to think back to the times I’ve watched on with joy, tears stinging my eyes, as you’ve kissed and cuddled other babies, loving on them so hard. Hold on to all the times that you’ve begged me for a brother or a sister, and remember all the dreams I’ve had of you and him or her, all the special times ahead.

You will be the most wonderful big brother, I have absolutely no doubts about that. There will be hard times, there always are, but I already know that we can survive it all. It will be tricky as we learn to share each other, as someone fresh and new enters our lives and finds their own little place. It won’t be easy my darling, but I just know it’s going to be incredible, and I’m so glad its a journey we can go on together. Because no matter what, it’ll always be you and me.

Unfortunately before I could post this our happy news ended sadly and I had a silent miscarriage in January, at what I believed to be 12 weeks pregnant. Part of me feels a huge amount of guilt for the sudden panic and doubt I had that morning, but I know that our little baby was desperately loved and wanted from that very moment. For a while I didn’t feel like I could post this, I would sit reading it with tears running down my face, but it is something that I want to share. I hope that’s okay with you all.

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Nothing hurts more than telling you “in a minute”

Photo credit: @bellesboutique

 

I’ve followed Laura and her beautiful family on social media for some time now and one of her instagram posts a few weeks ago really stood out for me. It was written for her son Harrison following the recent birth of his little sister Everly. It’s so heartfelt and honest and read so much like a beautiful letter I wanted to share it.

You can follow Laura and her family on Instagram or check out her YouTube channel.

 

Harrison,

Nothing hurts more than telling you “in a minute” or “later” when you ask if I’ll play with you for what feels like the millionth time.

Nothing makes me feel that lump in my throat more than not being the one to tuck you into bed to read Ben 10 books because the baby’s crying.

You’re often asleep by the time I’m kissing your cheek and telling you I love you and that’s another moment with you missed. You’re already in a sleepy haze when I climb into your bed, hug you and apologise for not giving you the every minute that you deserved today.

Even though I tell you a million times a day to the point like that you say “yes mum, I know!” I want to tell you one more time, I love you I love you I love you.

I want to colour in with you all day. I want to throw you around and tickle you and I want to build the highest towers and make bridges out of furniture, but sometimes, I have my hands full. I’m sorry for telling you to be quiet when you’re simply doing what little boys do and playing with your toys. I’m sorry for shouting when the slight drop of a toy wakes Everly. It’s not your fault and I’m so sorry that you are the one to tell me “it’s ok” from time to time at the moment. I should be the one telling you not to cry for being tired. I feel like a broken record sometimes, going over the same things and I’m sorry.

You’re so grown up that from time to time I forget that you’re still tiny too. You’re so understanding and you’ve dealt with becoming a big brother so well, I’m so proud. I couldn’t be prouder and Everly is so lucky to have you as a big brother. I won’t always be this tired H and I promise that tomorrow I’ll play loads more than today. I’ll build those towers and make the fastest slides for your cars. I’ll let you sneak the best treats from my special tin and keep it our little secret. I’ll try not to get cross, I promise. I’ll try not to blame you for the tiniest noise that makes Everly stir. I’ll hug you harder and read you as many pages of your book as you like.

Today’s been a harder day than normal, but again, you were so understanding and looked after your sister so well putting her socks back on when they fell off.

I love you Harrison.

Artwork: Letters To Loved

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‘Make believe. That’s where we are at right now’

 

Photo: @thisisjules

Photo: @thisisjules

The following letter was written by blogger & content creator Julia from This is Jules for her son Oscar. Julia regularly writes beautiful update letters to Oscar and you can read more of them here.

 

 

 

 

Make believe. That’s where we are at right now. Your imagination is in overdrive and it’s all sorts of sweetness and light.

Playing make believe with you and equally, watching you play in your own little world is just about my most favourite way to pass the time of day.

From you literally being convinced that you are Simba from the Lion King, to flapping your arms (…wings!) as we race around the living room like a Rio bird (as in the film), to you cooking up an invisible storm and dishing out pretend pizzas and ice creams to your daddy and I amid that crazy hour (or two!) just before sleep where you are determined that the land of nod is not an option.

You love to play doctors with your Dr’s kit. “Lie down mummy! Lie down daddy!” you demand, as you check our temperatures with your thermometer and then get out your little stethoscope and listen to our chests. “Am I ok?” I ask.

“Yes, very good,” you say, nodding away as the red and yellow plastic glasses that come with your toy kit, slide further and further down your nose until they are perched on the end.

You turned two-and-a-half on November 16th and every single day you do or say something new. Your speech is coming on leaps and bounds and each time you say something you’ve never said before, it blows our minds.

“Are you okay, Oscar?” I asked a couple of days ago.

“Yes, I’m fine mummy,” you answered. It was the ‘I’m fine’ bit which was new, and when I relayed it to your dad pretty much as soon as he walked through the door, home from work that evening, his reaction, did not disappoint.

“Ah, he didn’t?!” he said, beaming. Which translates as – ‘yay, he did!’

It’s the things which might seem to be little, which in fact are the big moments you see.  We are still in the belly of the adventure that is all of your firsts. The first time you do this and the first time you do that, and the way your imagination runs wild makes the journey all the more gorgeous as we go.

Now that you are able to tell us what you want also makes life smoother, for you and for us as it means we can overt unnecessary upset and you can get what you want/need or to where you want to be all the faster. Communication and the development of those skills really are everything I’m fast learning. In the same breath, your new found skills mean you are oh so vocal not just in letting us know what you want, but also what you don’t want, and while your tantrums have paired right back compared to a few months ago where I felt like we were living and breathing your daily rages (which were largely frustration at not being able to communicate what you wanted/needed)  – you do still like to go off on one on a fairly regular basis. And when you lose it, you really, really lose it! You be CRAZY! But when you’re on good form you are practically angelic. Such is this yoyo toddler life.

Since I left my job at the end of July, you and I get so much more time together and it’s magic. I’m so lucky. Instead of you being in nursery four days a week, it’s now down to two.

It’s the run of the mill days that are often the most special. Such as when we go for our long walks exploring the park. It’s in those moments where I catch myself and think how ordinarily I’d have been at my desk, miserable and pining for you. It’s in those moments where I get what I can only describe as a surge of gratefulness where I know I’m so unbelievably fortunate that I’ve been able to create a new working life that affords me these days with you, when we would otherwise be apart. I do not take a single second of it lightly or for granted.

 

Speaking of nursery, I think you love it all the more for being there less. Those two days feel like such a treat for you, being with your friends. And boy do you love your little buddies, Dylan, Jack and Byron being your favourites. I assume they are anyway, as they are the three you talk about. Often if we’re going somewhere special like to visit grandma and I ask you to guess who we are going to see, your answer will be: “Jack!” Or Ella of course, who you adore. Not even three-years-old and you’re practically dating the girl next door. Well, down the street. We can’t drive by Ella’s house without you crying, because you want to see her. “Ellllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!” you wail, as big fat tears roll down your cheeks. Unbelievably cute! But it hurts my heart to see you sad too. Heaven help me come the day that anyone actually breaks your heart. I don’t think I could bear it.

This is the first year that you’ve really been aware of Christmas and I cannot wait! Having said that, we spoil you rotten regardless of the season. Your dad went through a stage of bringing you little gifts home after work, and now as soon as you hear him coming to the door you shout: “Daddy!!!! Present!!!!!”

And then there’s me, who has a lot to answer for when it comes to chocolate. Because of that one time I bought you a chocolate coin from Starbucks as a treat, you associate going to the coffee shop, ANY coffee shop with said coins. I wish I could say that I’d only bought you one the once… I’ve had to cut my visits to said venue right back to avoid the inevitable melt down in your expectation of your beloved chocolate coin. Indeed, just like you holla for Ella, we cannot even drive by Starbucks without you exclaiming: “CHOCOLATE COIIIIIIIIIIN!” Mother of the year right here…

So what else? We’ve very recently been to Australia and back. You’re in a size seven shoe, soon to be eight. Your curls are actual ringlets and people comment on your lovely locks wherever we go. You have the most beautiful manners. After a six month battle to get you to say sorry, thank you and please – those words now spill out of you often without prompt. When you say ‘thank you very much’, I sometimes think my heart might actually burst.

When we leave our local coffee shop, you wave to everyone and say “bye coffee shop!” When you want us to lift you up, you still say “carry you” when what you mean, is ‘carry me’.

You love to play rocket ship with daddy. Hate to be chased. You give us kisses and cuddles every morning without fail. Tell us you love us. Tell us you miss us. Like to sing Hakuna Matata. Love to dance. And run. And slide down our legs as if they are indeed a slide. When we play hide and seek you jump into view squealing excitedly as soon as we say ‘coming ready or not!’ So lush! You’re brilliant with numbers, and while you struggle with your colours you are getting better with them every day. You have an amazing sense of direction, knowing the routes and turns to nursery and the supermarket, and you have a memory like an elephant – in other words, you forget nothing. We are yet to potty train you, but that day is nigh!

Here’s to the next six sweet months.  Who knows what you’ll be up to by the time you turn three!

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