In my Lovevery subscription, I received a book called Notes to My Child: Letters for a Future You. It’s a beautiful book with several blank pages and a prompt at the top of each. The idea is to write him letters to read in the future, a time capsule capturing the overwhelming love I have for him while he’s small.
I’ve been hanging onto it since he was an infant, and he’s almost three now. It’s hard to find time to write out all the beautiful thoughts and feelings I have about him when I’m busy cherishing every minute I have to share with him. I set it aside as a “someday” project.
Then, a turning point happened. I got a date on the schedule for bariatric surgery.
I have a lot of reasons why weight loss surgery was the right choice for me. One of my life mottos is “Remember your why.” It’s cheesy, I know. Can you hear Hoobastank – The Reason playing in the background right now?
But without a doubt, my biggest “why” is the little sweetheart that came into my life in May 2020, at peak pandemic, after eight years of happy child-free marriage, after an anxiety-crippling pregnancy. My perfect, healthy, beautiful baby boy. He’s a promise of the future.
He is so big now, and so smart, it honestly blows me away. He is the greatest thing in my life.
So my “why” is this guy.
He’s why I want to be active and healthy and purposeful and fulfilled. I want to model a good life for him. I want to give him the experiences he deserves.
To do that in its fullest, weight loss surgery was a step I needed to take.
When I got that date from my surgeon for my gastric sleeve operation, though, my anxiety went into overdrive.
One of my biggest fears was dying on the surgery table. It’s not rational, and to be frank, it just doesn’t happen, especially with this surgery, especially at the hospital I chose, especially with my surgeon. But it was still always in the back of my mind.
So when I saw this book in my stack of Lovevery Play Guides from zero to thirty months, I knew it was the right time to just do it.
Here are the prompts from the Lovevery book, with my own written Notes to My Child.
You make me smile when you…
Wake up in the morning and see my face. Try talking through your paci. Tell me to stop singing. Ask me to beep your nose. Touch noses with me. Zap fingers with me. Ask Dad to put you upside down. Try to do a flip.
Sit in your Harold chair and sing the ABC’s. Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Ask me to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Flower and crack up laughing. Pretend to be every vehicle. Walk us around the house to My Flea Has Dogs. Request Truck Tunes and then sing them all night.
Sing How Far I’ll Go as loud and passionately as you can. Run around the house acting out the video for it. Play the parts of Moana and Pua and climb the mountain and swivel your head and stick your paddle in the sand and fall over onto the boat at the end. Your voice is beautiful. Seeing you is seeing the face of God.
Practice bells together with me. Sing perfectly in tune. Clap to the rhythm of beet beet cherry beet. You are so much farther ahead than you have any right to be at two years old. You are a musical genius and I cannot wait to see what you become.
Splash in the bathtub and play in the water. Play in the bathroom sink. Play in the sprinkler and water table outside. Talk about Great Wolf Lodge. Pretend to drive to Great Wolf Lodge. Mention Great Wolf Lodge every day. Ask to watch videos of yourself at Great Wolf Lodge. Ask to watch videos of corgis at Great Wolf Lodge.
Act out the 1990s video of Mighty Machines – Giant Tow Trucks word for word. TT the towtruck, that’s me.
Give me wet open mouth kisses and then say “Thank you for the lovely kiss.” Give me sweet and cuddly hugs. Sit on my lap with a blanket and a pillow watching TV. I want to do that forever.
I could go on forever.
My favorite thing about your personality is…
How fast you learn. How curious you are. You remember so much detail of the things we teach you. I am in awe of your intelligence. You can be absolutely anything you want to be.
How much you sing. How much you read. How much you absorb.
How fun loving you are. How you wake up first thing wanting to play, and go to bed at night wanting to play. How you can enjoy your time by yourself in your bed before we get you up in the morning just by talking and singing to yourself and playing with your stuffed animals. Your brain is so active. You are growing so fast.
How caring you are. You love to help in any way you can. You feel so happy when you can do something on your own. You want to make us happy and make us laugh.
You are so curious. You learn so much. You love so passionately and grow so excited about the things you love that sometimes you can’t even bear to hear about them. You ask us not to read the words to your favorite books because you want to look at the pictures. It’s like how when the garbage truck comes, sometimes you are too excited to even look at it. Your heart is so giant. You are overwhelmed with your own love. I know how that feels.
You are sweet, loving, charming, and hilarious. You are as bright as the sun.
I could go on forever.
I’ve always thought you’d grow up to be…
Somebody incredibly smart. The smartest man in the room with the most empathy and willingness to help, like your daddy. Somebody with compassion for others and kindness toward all. Somebody who helps figure out really hard problems. Somebody to whom music is important. Somebody surrounded by interesting machines and vehicles. Somebody who makes things work and figures things out and always helps others, like your daddy.
You always get so excited when…
You see a truck. Especially the garbage truck. Even seeing garbage cans makes you so excited.
You get a present. Any present. You are so thankful and gracious. You are so happy and overjoyed. Especially if the present is a vehicle.
You hear a song you love. You sometimes even ask to skip them because you love them so much you can’t take it. But when My Flea Has Dogs comes on, you get so excited, every time. You also love We Will Rock You, Shake It Off, Just the Way You Are, Harvest Moon, Friday I’m In Love, Old Cookie, Dump Truck, and Baby Beluga. And so many more.
You get to watch real vehicles on TV. Real tractors, real diggers, real street sweepers, real garbage trucks, real tow trucks, real steamrollers, real semis, real crane trucks (especially with real wrecking balls), real rescue vehicles, real sea planes, and everything else. You are so excited.
You see a dog. You get to watch puppies on TV. Especially corgies. Especially corgies swimming, especially when water slides are involved. You pretend to be a corgie swimming.
You get to go swimming. Especially at Great Wolf Lodge. The water bucket — the sight of it, sound of it, imagining it, pretending you’re under it in the bathtub, acting it out in any way possible. You get so excited. You love that place and everything about it so much. I can’t wait to take you back there.
You do things on your own. You learned to take off your shoes, take off your socks, pull up your pants. You learned to buckle your high chair. You get to turn lights on and off, turn the faucet on and off, and ring the doorbell. You are so excited and so proud.
We go to Grammy and Grandpa’s. You get SO excited. You get to play with their Thomas train set in the basement. You get to see Parker the dog, even though he barks a lot. You get to play with mommy or daddy the whole entire time.
You see a clue on Blue’s Clues & You. IT’S A CLUE! WHERE? OVER THERE! You are so excited.
It’s Mommy’s turn to tuck you in. I know this will pass, and I know it’s a control thing and not a favorite parent thing, but you get so excited. At least these days. And I will love tucking you in as long as you will let me. Forever, if you will let me.
We chose your name because…
I made a long list of names and Daddy marked off the ones he liked or didn’t like. We struggled for a long time with it. You were a day and a half old before we decided. They had to call you Baby Boy Haynes at the hospital. We almost named you Hector or Victor, but when you were born, Daddy said “He’s hairy!” because you had so much soft, beautiful blonde hair on your head. And then he chuckled and said, maybe we should name him that. And it took a while to finalize it, but in the end, that’s what stuck with me. Nothing else sounded right. Harold was a name that was on my family tree, too, one of my dad’s dad’s brothers, one of the nice ones, at least I think. I like the book Harold and the Purple Crayon, and I like the movie Stranger Than Fiction, in which the main character’s name is Harold. I didn’t know the helicopter in Thomas the Tank Engine was named Harold, or any other fictional character really, but the ones I did know, I liked. The nickname “Harry” is too cute to resist. I also really like the nicknames Hal and Hank. It just sounds so cute with our last name. Some Harolds even take the nickname Roly, which is so cute too. Roly poly. Anyway, I love you and I love your name.
When you’re happy, you…
Smile from ear to ear. You have a little space between your two front teeth that is irresistible. Your blue eyes sparkle like stars. You laugh, you sing, you dance. You renew my heart.
When you came into this world,…
We were just beginning the start of a pandemic that took longer than two years to calm down. The whole world was locked down, kept from going to work, kept inside our houses. It’s very weird to think about. No one knew how bad the virus would be or how many people it would make sick or how people who did recover from it would be affected in the future. It was a strange and painful and scary and sad, sad, sad time.
It was also a time of major unrest among Black, Indigenous and People of Color in the United States and the world, sparked on the particular day you were born because a terrible and racist tragedy happened in Minnesota where a white policeman killed an innocent Black man named George Floyd. Brave people from all over showed up in the streets to protest this injustice.
On your seventh day alive, I wrote, “I will teach him soon about what was happening around the globe at the time of his birth, the tragedies of racism, the pandemic and the overall worldwide loss. They are lessons I would rather not have to teach. I will share with him how important it is to be the person who has the courage to do the work to make things better.” I am very confident you will have that courage.