Dear Baby J,

I have so many things I’ve wanted to get down on this blog, but haven’t had the time. Being a grad student and a mom simultaneously has been a tiring and time consuming experience. I won’t pretend that one job hat doesn’t take away from the other. It’s inevitable for every working mom, really.

That said, I want to thank you for making it easier for me to stop and smell the roses. I could have hidden in the AC’d lab most of the day during the heat wave 2 days ago, but instead I let the nanny off early, and watched you and your little friend W splash about in the kiddie pool. I think I haven’t been so relaxed in months, as you two shrieked and giggled and splashed your hearts out.

And I want to thank you for being YOU. Your father and I could tell within the first week of your life that you are an easy going, sweet and mellow soul. Sure, I get worried sometimes about how best to parent, but really, you teach us every day. You learned so early to communicate your basic needs, and now you even tack on ‘p(l)ease’ and ‘sank (thank) you’ with your requests!

And most of all I want to thank you for your daily affection. True, you are a daddy’s boy; if your father is around, you’d prefer that he hold you at the store, or whatnot. But you still give me kisses every morning and every night, and it was to me that you first said ‘iwuvyou’. I know that someday, you will stop saying it on a daily basis. But that’s not going to stop me from saying it.

You’re turning 2 soon, and I’m finally physically back to where I was before I was pregnant (as I write this, I’m wearing my number one favorite dress that I bought in college). But emotionally, academically, mentally, so much has changed. I think as a person, I am happier with myself and less driven by academic ego, although I’m much more hesitant about my academic abilities in general (yeah I guess those go together, huh?) Your father and I are tighter than ever; he’s the father I always thought he would be, and even better of a husband than I imagined. A good part of this is because of you; your existence, your happiness has changed the lens through which I see my life, my relationships, my work, and sharpened that focusing point. After all, to be the best mom I can be, I have to love myself, and to love myself, I have to do the things that are important to me; bettering myself, bettering society by doing something to push science forward, bettering my relationship with your father.

I don’t really know what I want to do with my career anymore, but I do know two things. One is that I do need to have some sort of career, to be a good mother. I want to show you that it’s worth the time and the effort to try to do good in the world, no matter how esoteric a dent I make. And two is that it doesn’t matter how much of a dent I make with my career, because the most important thing is you. Your curls, your eyes (just like your father’s) your cheezy grins, your hugs. Thank you for taking the pressure off of my career. You’re a lot easier to focus on!


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