The Mother Letters

It started as a simple act of encouragement, really. I wanted to give Amber a special Christmas present, the kind that keeps giving, so I began to collect letters from just a few mothers. But what started as a simple Christmas project mushroomed into something much more.

Over several months, and quite by accident, I would receive hundreds of letters from mothers across the country, mothers like Ann Kroeker, who wrote:

Dear Mother,

*Blink*

That’s how fast it happens. I’m sure you’ve noticed it. When you brought home your newborn, you probably fell into some kind of rhythm and routine. Next thing you know…

*Blink*

Baby starts rolling over. And crawling.

*Blink*

Now he’s toddling and talking.

How was I supposed to savor changing three-ton diapers, mopping spit-up off the kitchen floor and chasing after my toddler only to find him splashing his hands in the toilet water?

How was I supposed to enjoy them while facing a mountain of laundry and so tired the only way I could keep my eyes open was to prop them up with toothpicks and guzzle a jug of black tea. How?

Each of the letters was profound in its own right. Each was honest, was a sort of truing up to the realities of parenting, to this breath of a moment. And as I read these letters from the perspective of a father, I was somehow changed. Perhaps I understood Amber a little better. Perhaps I understood the complexities of parenting better. Perhaps I just learned the importance of tenderness. I still can’t put my finger on it, but what I can say is that these letters changed my life as much as they did Amber’s. I’m thankful for that.

***

Even though I’m super manly, like bratwurst, explosions, and car engines, I’d like to extend a bit of an invitation.  Would you join us at the Mother Letters?  Also, please feel free to consider joining the photo contest, and the Facebook photo contest. And while you are at it, check out the Mother Letters photo stream on instagram (search #motherletters in instagram).  You’ll love the collection of photographs capturing the art of motherhood

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