Dear Atticus, on gratitude

Lil Turkey

Dear Atticus,

Before I get into all of this, I need to make sure you know that I am not known for optimism. Every word of this is hard-earned, and I mean it down to my toes.

There is a perpetual discussion about whether it is possible for women to have it all. I pay more attention to this sort of thing now than I used to. I am interested to know whether people think I can have it all. (I also wonder why we don’t ask if men can have it all, but I will save that discussion for another day.) This question is usually answered in the negative: Women cannot have it all, at least not all of the time. Something has to give.

But on this day that is focused on gratitude, I want you to know, Atticus, that I have it all.

I have your dad, who gets up to get you and bring you to me in the middle of the night so that I can get more sleep. He packs lunches, washes bottles, cooks dinner, shops for groceries, and, oh, yeah, does his outside-the-home job, too. He is patient and kind and loves us so well. He has steered us through this past year, because I did not have the energy or emotional reserves to do so on my own.

I have a great job that I enjoy that gives me energy and a sense of purpose. I get to do meaningful work with students and teach them about things that are important to me. They make me laugh, and I learn from them constantly. I get weekends and holidays and summers off to be with my family.

We have a wonderful house that I love in a neighborhood I love. Our hard work has made it our home, and we are rediscovering its quirks and corners with your help. Every room is special to me: mementos and memories everywhere I look. Also, now we have someone come and help with the cleaning.

I have supportive, loving family like your Nana and your Aunt B and your Uncle Joseph. We have the best neighbors in the world. I have amazing friends. We go to a great church.

And now we have you, Atticus. Your smile lights up the room. Your bright eyes are always searching for something else to get into. You are learning at warp speed. You giggle and play with us, and you go on walks with me and listen as I tell you things. When you were born, I called you my little bunny, but now you are my little buddy, my companion.

Having you in our lives has taught me a lot about gratitude. I am thankful for the things we have, the people we have, the life we have. I knew that parenting would be hard work, and, oh, it is. But you are a fun and funny little boy and I am so happy you are part of our lives.

We don’t have endless resources of cash. I wish I had more time to myself, and that there were more hours for sleeping. I am tired, some days soul-exhausted. But I don’t know what it is that people say that I don’t have, because I know the truth: I have everything a girl could want.


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