Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

We Don’t Let Go

Last week it was warm enough to wear a skirt without tights for the first time in months. The week before, I went for a bike ride around the park one sunny morning while our babysitter, Mavis, took Jackson to the library for story time. When I came home, they were still out so I took a long shower and didn’t worry about listening for a cry or a wail from the other room. Afterward, I turned on the stereo and danced around my living room. This week, I’ve been working from a new neighborhood coffee shop the two mornings Mavis has watched Jack. No one there asks me where the baby is or how he’s doing or whether I’ve been getting any sleep (they don’t even know I have a kid). Some people ask what I’m working on though.

A few weeks ago I started carrying Jackson facing outward in the wrap I use to hold him close to me when we’re out and about. We’ve been going for long walks all around the neighborhood and, when it’s sunny, he wears shades. For some reason, people think this is the funniest/most random/interesting/weird thing they’ve ever seen, a baby in shades. We get stopped on the street all the time. People honk as they drive by. They laugh. One woman the other day standing next to us at the crosswalk said she couldn’t take her eyes off him (and she couldn’t). Another woman asked me why he was wearing shades. “It’s sunny,” I say, tired of always feeling like I need to justify everything. “I don’t want his eyes to hurt.” No one asks me why I wear sunglasses.

When we walk, I tell Jackson about everything we’re seeing.
“Those are daffodils, Jack,” I say, pointing to the yellow flowers in someone’s yard.
“There’s a group of pre-schoolers crossing the street. You’ll be in pre-school in a few years.”
“That’s a kind of dog called a Golden Retriever,” I say. “That other one looks like a mutt.”
“There’s another baby like you, Jack.”
Jackson holds my index fingers with a firm grip, like he’s holding the handles of a motorcycle. I imagine him, years from now, helmet on, hugging the turns of the road as he rides. I imagine him years from now.

The time last year he was still a secret from most of the world. I didn’t know yet how hard the first few months of his life would be. I didn’t know the challenge of finding myself again after becoming a mother. I didn’t know I’d question myself so much, feel like I was making wrong decisions, like I was failing, like I wasn’t being the best version I could be. I didn’t know my heart could swell with so much love and pride and gratitude at the same time my mood and spirit plummeted.

I think of Jackson holding on to my fingers when we walk, how firm his grasp is, like he’s holding the handles of a bike as he rides.

We hug the turn of the road as we go. We hang on tight. We don’t let go.

57 comments… add one
  • avatar

    britannia March 14, 2012, 3:07 pm

    I really like how you take him out and talk to him, explaining the world! It’s a great way to get babies attuned to their world, even if they don’t really understand speech yet, and an excellent bonding technique. He’s so lucky to have a Mom like you, and I bet he’s going to be a very, very intelligent boy 🙂

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      MissDre March 14, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Agreed!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    lets_be_honest March 14, 2012, 3:11 pm

    You just made my heart a little warmer.
    This weather is great for our spirits, isn’t it?

    p.s. I think you’re a very smart and caring mom for putting shades on Jack. Our eyes hurt from the sun, I’m sure his would too.

    Reply Link
  • JK

    JK March 14, 2012, 3:17 pm

    I love that you have shades for Jackson! I´ve never seen them for babies here (hell, I have trouble finding hats for my girls!).
    The best time is starting for you, when they start discovering the world around them, enjoy!!!!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    SGMcG March 14, 2012, 3:18 pm

    I LOVE the green carrier/wrap you’re using – stylish and functional. Who makes it? Jackson looks ready for St. Patrick’s Day!

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 14, 2012, 4:12 pm

      Thanks! It’s on loan from a friend of mine. This version is called Sleepy Wrap, but the Moby Wrap is the popular one everyone knows.

      Reply Link
  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo March 14, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Oh my goodness, the kneepad cutouts and the shades…. I think my heart is gonna explode from cute!

    Reply Link
    • Leroy

      Leroy March 14, 2012, 3:33 pm

      He looks like he escaped from some sort of baby thunderdome.

      Reply Link
      • call-me-hobo

        call-me-hobo March 14, 2012, 4:23 pm

        Two babies enter……

        Link
      • Leroy

        Leroy March 14, 2012, 5:43 pm

        .. and two babies leave, because they’re babies and even at their worst they’re still pretty harmless.

        Link
      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 8:47 am

        Until they start teething…

        Link
  • avatar

    Taylor March 14, 2012, 3:24 pm

    Beautiful! Way to make me tear up at work =)

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      SweetPea March 14, 2012, 3:39 pm

      Right there with you!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    LolaBeans March 14, 2012, 3:32 pm

    aww so cute! loved this, as always!!

    Reply Link
  • Lili

    Lili March 14, 2012, 3:33 pm

    SO. MUCH. CUTENESS.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Chica4 March 14, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Beautifully written, as usual. Making me tear up at work… also as usual!

    Reply Link
  • becboo84

    BecBoo84 March 14, 2012, 3:42 pm

    Babies in sunglasses… such a rarity! We kept them on our daughter whenever it was sunny from the time she was a baby… she’s 3.5 now, and people still always comment on them. The most common thing we hear is “Hey there Miss Hollywood in your little shades.” It seems like common sense to me, too: If the sun’s hurting my eyes, it’s probably hurting the little one’s eyes too. If the sun isn’t good for my eyes, it probably isn’t good for hers either. Anyway, good for you! You shouldn’t need to explain yourself when you’re looking out for your sweet kiddo’s best interest!

    Reply Link
    • Leroy

      Leroy March 14, 2012, 11:15 pm

      Exactly. Sunglasses are probably a very good idea for babies. Aside from ambient light, there’s the fact that babies don’t know not to look into very bright light for extended periods – they tend to stare at bright light.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    HBomb March 14, 2012, 3:48 pm

    My sister in law use baby sunglasses on all three of her girls. If our eyes need protection from the sun, theirs do too! Cute post!

    Reply Link
    • Budj

      Budj March 14, 2012, 3:53 pm

      psshhh babies don’t have pain receptors or pupils to dialate…

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    MissDre March 14, 2012, 4:04 pm

    So perfectly precious in every way! You’re such a good Mom, Wendy 🙂

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Samantha March 14, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Baby shades make so much sense, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them before… Jackson wears them very well – what a cutie!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    melikeycheesecake March 14, 2012, 5:04 pm

    Made me tear up!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    SiSisodaPop March 14, 2012, 6:12 pm

    I just loooooove these essays…..make me tear up, too…. but I’m a little emotional right now. Due in 9 days with my second, first is now 15 months. I do the “Look at the pink flowers… that’s a little boy riding a bike, you’ll ride a bike one day, too” thing as well. I never put much thought into all of the little things that come with being a mom before I had a baby. I did put thought into how my life would change, but I don’t think I realized how truly difficult those changes were going to be… Wendy, you are such an awesome person all around.

    Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 14, 2012, 6:14 pm

      Aw, thanks. Good luck on your labor!! Our niece and nephew are 15 months apart. Oh, girl, you’re gonna have your hands full for the next two and half years, but then they’ll be great playmates and keep each other entertained.

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        SiSisodaPop March 14, 2012, 6:40 pm

        Thank you for the good wishes 🙂

        Link
  • landygirl

    landygirl March 14, 2012, 6:38 pm

    Wendy, I just read the Charlize Theron adopted a baby boy and his name is….wait for it…..Jackson!

    Reply Link
    • JK

      JK March 14, 2012, 6:42 pm

      You beat me to it!
      Maybe Charlize is a lurker on DW and copied Wendy! 😀

      Reply Link
    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy March 14, 2012, 7:04 pm

      She’s got good taste!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    heathacat March 14, 2012, 7:46 pm

    D’awwwwwwwwwwwww! He looks like a baby ninja turtle!! <3 <3 <3

    Reply Link
  • MELH

    MELH March 14, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Jackson looks like such a badass! He’s gonna get all the ladies!

    My cousin put sunglasses on her daughter all the time as a baby. Cutest thing ever!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Caris March 14, 2012, 9:41 pm

    He looks SO bad ass! lol. Love the picture. And what you wrote is just beautiful.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Caris March 14, 2012, 9:44 pm

      p.s: you look gorgeous

      Reply Link
  • katie

    katie March 14, 2012, 9:55 pm

    i think its so cute that he hold your hand… like, he cant see you, but he still wants to know your there!

    awwwwww

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    AnotherWendy March 14, 2012, 11:58 pm

    Loved, loved this post! My baby is 15 Years old, but 15 months ago seem like yesterday. Days are long, but years are short. Trust your mommy instinct, never apologize for needing time to yourself and keep a sense of humor and you both will be ok. You guys look awesome!

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Anna March 15, 2012, 3:17 am

    It’s pictures like this and stories like this that make me really want to be a mom soon. Thanks, Wendy. That was beautiful. I hope I’m as good at it as you are.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 15, 2012, 8:49 am

    I hope my baby has as great of style as Jackson!

    Also, love that you’re using a wrap (in the prettiest green)! I can’t wait to get one when I’ve got a kid-o.

    Reply Link
  • Just Max

    Just Max March 15, 2012, 9:13 am

    As always, beautifully written. And you look wonderful, Wendy!
    Jackson too! 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing; I love these essays on motherhood.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 9:15 am

    About sunglasses – does the sun really bother your guys’ eyes? Because it doesn’t affect my eyes at all. Sure, if I look straight up into the sun, that’s unpleasant, but otherwise, no. So if you ever see me in shades, it’s because I think they look cool. But then the day is a darker tint and that usually annoys me, so I take them off. So, I’m wondering, does the sun really bother your eyes? And is it weird that the sun doesn’t bother me? There, that’s my deep thought-provoking comment about sunglasses.

    p.s. I’m ready for a baby. ‘Cept I want that one. He’s adorable.

    Reply Link
    • JK

      JK March 15, 2012, 9:24 am

      I´ve never really been bothered by the sun in my eyes (and I´ve got quite light eyes). Now the glare when I´m driving bothers me, but with glasses I can´t really do much about it. Until I decide if I´m going to wear contacts.

      Reply Link
    • Just Max

      Just Max March 15, 2012, 9:25 am

      yep, the sun bothers my eyes. My eyes and forehead hurt when it’s too bright and I’m not wearing shades; probably from all the squinting I do. So I wear shades most days, rain or shine, cloudy, etc.
      Which reminds me, I need new shades!

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 9:30 am

        I have a friend like that. She always thinks it’s weird that I don’t wear shades. But I’ve always thought it was weird that she wears shades even when it’s cloudy and whatnot. Funny. I wonder what makes the sun bother some but not others. … I’m sure there’s a reason but I’m too lazy to google it. I wish I needed sunglasses because I think they are adorable. But I, like JK, wear glasses, and I can’t justify spending extra money on prescription sunglasses. Or those flip shades a l dwayne wayne. (Was that his this name?!)

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 9:42 am

        I’ve always worn shades. I heard that people with light eyes (mine are blue/silver) are more bothered by brightness. I hate night driving too for this reason. I don’t need glasses so luckily my $10 shades from walmart are fine. I did splurge for the first time at the airport’s LaCoste store and got shades from there. I now know how some people can wear shades indoors. Apparently the better quality ones don’t just make everything very dark.

        Link
      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 15, 2012, 9:45 am

        lbh i hate night driving too (and also have light blue eyes). i feel blind when all of those lights are coming at me. my husband is the same way and so try to be home before dark, which makes us feel really old.

        Link
      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 9:58 am

        I can´t drive at night at all. People think it´s just because I´m scared (which is part of it), but the one time I´ve tried (in the 2 years I´ve been driving) I felt like I couldn´t see a thing.
        Luckily my husband drives fine at night, but the times he´s not around I´m screwed.

        Link
      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 15, 2012, 10:03 am

        it is frustrating! i find that in well lit areas i have less of an issue than in really dark stretches of road. and it’s also worse on the highway. the local roads at home aren’t bad, because they are well lit and there isn’t really much traffic 🙂 but i hate going in to the city at night!

        Link
      • JK

        JK March 15, 2012, 10:10 am

        Where I live the streets are quite badly lit, so I can´t see anything, it´s awful! Luckily there isn´t much traffic around here, but the cars that do go by kill me (even worse the newer cars that have white lights instead of the yellowish ones)

        Link
      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 15, 2012, 9:46 am

        Maybe that’s it. My eyes are green but they aren’t too light. Some days they seem lighter and brighter than other days. Maybe if I got a nice pair of sunglasses then I can still look cool without the annoying darkness! Success!

        Link
      • avatar

        jlyfsh March 15, 2012, 9:40 am

        i’m the same way. i can’t be without my sunglasses, especially when driving. unless there is no sun at all.

        Link
    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 15, 2012, 9:55 am

      I get headaches if I don’t wear my sunglasses. But I also think they look cool so.

      My mom has dark brown eyes and she has to wear sunglasses frequently due to migraines.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Anna March 15, 2012, 10:11 am

      Yes, my eyes are terribly light sensitive. I even have to wear my sunglasses on semi-bright days in the winter when the small bit of sunlight is reflecting off of the snow. So when you see me wearing my sunglasses it is because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes open…and they look cool. 😉 Also, kinda odd but when the sun is in my eyes I tend to sneeze. Anyone else?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        Ktfran March 15, 2012, 10:14 am

        Oh, the snow. Good call. I get headaches then too.

        Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 15, 2012, 10:34 am

        Yes about the sneezing. In fact, if I feel one coming on, I will look into a bright light just to let it out.

        Link
    • avatar

      Ktfran March 15, 2012, 10:13 am

      I also need sunglasses, even if it’s slightly overcast. My eyes and/or head hurts without him. I also have trouble driving at night. I have blue/gray eyes.

      I didn’t know this happened to a lot of people with light eyes until now. Interesting. And eductational.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    jlyfsh March 15, 2012, 9:40 am

    he is so cute wendy! i have to say i’ve seen babies in sunglasses before but jackson can really pull the look off well 😉

    Reply Link
  • Jess

    Jess of CGW March 15, 2012, 10:00 am

    Ohhhh, you got me with the “There’s a group of pre-schoolers crossing the street. You’ll be in pre-school in a few years.”

    So sweet. I so appreciate your raw, intimate, honest, and heartfelt descriptions of motherhood. I feel like we are so lucky to read them.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Carpool Candy March 15, 2012, 1:53 pm

    Great piece Wendy! You captured where you are right now so well. I would print this one out for the baby book.

    Reply Link

Leave a Comment