Sunday, July 31st, 2011...9:33 pm

Letters of Love

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Three years ago the ritual of four letters began. N-O-R-A on lunches and blankets, sheets and sippy cups. Each morning four letters lovingly written with a black sharpie marker. N-O-R-A.

Those four letters are sharpie’d onto well-used and well-loved sheets and blankets, sippy cups and lunch containers. I may retrace them, but the labeling is done, they return to a familiar spot, rest easy in the shapes and countours of a broken-in cubby.

This year it is five letters. Five letters carefully, lovingly labeling each piece that will be part of a life led away from me. M-I-L-E-S.

I gathered close all the supplies, all the things a baby needs to survive a day away from his Mama. I gathered them and opened them, washed them and folded them. Then I brought out the black sharpie.

M-I-L-E-S on new sheets, soft sheets, sheets covered in cars and trucks, trains and buses. Sheets to cover the bed where he’ll nap, no longer breathing softly and stretching in his sleep cuddled next to me.

M-I-L-E-S  on a familiar blanket, one bought long before he was born. One used by his sister in anticipation of his arrival. One for him to snuggle with and warm up with in the arms of two loving ladies who will care for him well, I know.

M-I-L-E-S on three barely worn outfits. Outfits to change into after the inevitable mess, the spit-ups I won’t clean up, the poops I won’t change. Three barely worn outfits he’ll wear if he needs them, the sharpie letters rubbing along his back, holding him close when I’m away in a classroom of my own.

M-I-L-E-S on a bag of pacifiers, waiting to be used, waiting to soothe the sweet boy when I can’t.

M-I-L-E-S on three new, plastic-covered bibs. Bibs that won’t do much good when he smears the dropped food on his face and hands. Bibs he’ll wear as he eats and eats and grows and grows.

M-I-L-E-S on diapers, wipes and diaper rash ointment.

M-I-L-E-S on extra baby socks, letters carved into the ribbing, prepared to tickle and touch wiggle baby toes, happy toes, smiley toes, toes that charm.

And each morning those five letters will sharpie their way onto food and bottles. The letters may be accompanied by silly pictures etched by a father’s creative hand.

Tomorrow Miles goes to daycare for the first time. I’ve shopped and washed, folded and refolded. Packed and repacked. Written M-I-L-E-S with love.

His things are ready.

But I’m not.

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  • Hugs to you. You’ve helped me through so much, from returning to work to getting ready to send Posey to daycare. I got to “Five letters carefully, lovingly labeling each piece that will be part of a life led away from me” and I kinda lost it, you describe how I feel so beautifully! Thank you for making feelings so wonderful to read, and thank you for helping me through all these stages!

  • I am dreading dropping Everett off at daycare for the first time. It was so much easier to leave him with his dad or grandma last year. This just made me cry.

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