Dear Atticus, a love letter


Dear Atticus,

One thing that made me hesitate about having children is that I know people who don’t seem to like their own. They take no apparent pleasure in spending time with their kids or focusing on their kids’ interests. They roll their eyes at their children and don’t seem to engage them very much. It seemed as if the parenting options were to be disinterested or to be like the chirpiest Christmas letter imaginable. I wasn’t happy with either end of the spectrum. (I am not known for seeing things in moderation.)

A few years ago, I was hanging out with some other women who were doing the thing where they complain about their husbands. Afterwards, one of them said to me that she noticed that I don’t complain about your dad. Which is true. I don’t talk about him dismissively or roll my eyes at him (except maybe when he makes a terrible joke). I enjoy spending time with him, and I try to take an interest in things that are important to him.

But for some reason, Atticus, I didn’t realize that I would feel the same way about you. I thought you would be a kid, and I am not so interested in kids. I am sorry, sweet boy, that I wasn’t more excited about you joining our family. I didn’t know you would be a person. I didn’t know you would be you. If I had known how bright and funny and wild you were going to be, I would have been so much more excited to meet you.

Maybe people tried to tell me, but I just couldn’t understand. Maybe it was something that I had to experience in order to learn. I was afraid I was going to have to hang on until you were older. I was prepared to do that, because I hoped you would one day be interesting. It took a while for me to be won over. I had a lot of ideas that needed changing. Even if every minute is not a joy, I don’t mind spending time with you. I don’t dread all those soccer practices and piano recitals like I used to, because you interest me even if those things don’t particularly.

This, of all the letters, is my love letter to you. I saved it for the end, but it sums up what I have been trying to say all along.

Watching you emerge has been a revelation.


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  1. […] Baumann has spent November blogging letters to her young son Atticus. She finishes up today with a beautiful summary that captures something of the revelation that parenting is: A few years […]