Today was the first time you cried when I left. I cried more. Most days, I convince myself it's the last day I'll leave. But then I see your tiny feet, and I must keep them warm and safe. I see your small tummy, and I must keep it full. I must teach you courage. So tomorrow, I'll leave again, but know I'll always come back. I'll warm your feet as you warm my heart, fill your tummy as you fill my soul, and teach you as you teach me every day.
-Jessica Covington, Autism Behavior Therapist
"My dear son Jake,
I was home today, taking advantage, like you, of a snow day. You were upstairs playing, and I was in my office. You came downstairs and asked for my help with something, and I said when I was finished that I would. The conversation was strangely familiar, as if I were my father talking, and you were me. Getting hit by lightning can be painful, but so is guilt. Putting my work aside is one thing, but doing the same to you is another. So, my son, what do you want my help with... I'm all yours."
-Gary Messenger, Writer/Editor
"My sweet Kara,
Today you noticed me while nursing and began to babble a seemingly very interesting story. Your face was so expressive — I think you can convey every emotion with those eyebrows! Always know that, every day, I'll be there to listen. Even if I'm busy, or you move miles away, you can always call your mother. However, I'd prefer if you never move more than a few blocks away from your father and me.
-Samantha Mathur, Stay-at-home Mom
I had a moment today. Today was the first time you said 'mommy.' So many emotions ran through me after hearing that word (all positive, of course). As I got dressed for work, all I could think about was how I was about to leave — leaving for work after you said that wonderful word. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but it's so hard to leave your smiling face. You're the thought that runs through my head all day, every day, and it makes everything that much more rewarding when I get to come home to your kisses. I hope one day you look to me as a role model, a mommy who can be there for you and work hard to provide for you. Just know, no matter what, you are the thing that keeps me motivated, and one day, I know you will be a strong, empowered woman who will always have her mommy."
-Helen Breneman, Marketing Executive
You know when you see Mommy running around with the vacuum and spray and paper towels and that fuzzy thing I tickle your nose with and say 'dust, dust, dust'? Well, Mommy and Daddy have to make money to buy that stuff. We buy you food so we can cook you dinner and teach you words like 'NO' and 'HOT.' Mommy works all day and then sometimes comes home and has to answer the phone and keep the dog from eating your toys and clean the house, but you make it fun. I work to provide for you so you can be the happiest little boy (who makes me the happiest mommy)."
-Ali Hoyt, Teacher
"My dear Charlie and Duke,
While I would love nothing more than to spend hours sifting through your toys for that one tiny, elusive, invisible, and specific piece you need to complete the 'dragon' you've been making, we must go and pick up your sister from school. I know, I know... You are crying and flipping out because you love toys more than your sister's safety and well-being, but alas, I have a 'no-kids-left-behind' policy when it comes to running errands. Well...except for grocery shopping. I have an 'all-kids-left-behind' policy for that. That's Mommy's special vacation time, a time where I spend at least an hour reading the magazines before even setting foot near the produce aisle...but I digress. Stop crying and get in the car.
My love for you is endless,
-Alicia Ann Wilke,
Cook/Chauffeur/Laundromat/Nurse/Teacher/Naptime Enforcer/Boo-boo Kisser/Janitor
"Dear Andru and Maddux,
I know it seems to you that Mommy is gone all day working while you boys go to school or stay at the sitter's, but there is not a moment that goes by that I don't wish to be the one teaching you or the one watching you all day. Honestly, I'd give anything to be that person, and I must admit, I'm jealous of those who get to have that time with you while I'm working. By the time we get home at night, it's late, and it's already time to start the nightly ritual of preparing for bedtime. Once you boys are fast asleep, Mommy stays up preparing the things for the next day. Secretly, I take a few minutes to sneak into your room while you fellas are sound asleep just to kiss you both one more time before I can join you in the dream world. Every second I have with you boys is my magic, and I love you even when you can't see me.
With the utmost love,
-Katy Waguespack, Chiropractic Assistant
Today I was thinking about the time I took off to volunteer for a day at your preschool. During story time, you kept turning around to wink and wave at me and, because I was so excited to be there, I would do it right back. But after about the seventh time you did it, I finally had to tell you to pay attention to the teacher and pretend as if I weren't there. Your response was, 'You're just so beautiful, I can't stop looking at you.' It took so much for me not to cry while sitting on a mat in circle time surrounded by four-year-olds! I know exactly how you feel, honey girl — that's why, since the day you were born, I have tried to never take my eyes off of you, but sometimes, sweet girl, I have to work late, and I'll cherish the memories like that day forever.
Your not-so-secret admirer,
-Emily C., Full-time Student & Stay-at-home Mom
"My sweet, darling Addison,
You spilled your milk on the sofa; I cleaned it up. You colored on the walls; I scrubbed and scrubbed until it was gone. You spilled the dog's food; I swept it up. You poured out Mommy's favorite expensive shampoo while you were in the bath to make bubbles; I cried (no, really, I did). You threw your dinner on the floor that Mommy made from scratch because you wanted the boxed mac 'n' cheese; I made you the mac 'n' cheese. You looked up at me and said 'I love you, Mommy' and kissed me on the lips. That's the only thing you did today that matters. You're worth it all — even after a long day of work."
-Clarissa McMillan, College Admissions
I know we haven't met yet (see you in May, little guy!), but I want to apologize to you. I need to tell you that I'm sorry for the baseball games and the birthday parties and school recitals that I might have to miss. I know this apology won't make it any easier for you when it happens, but I hope that one day, when you have a son of your own, you'll understand that the work I did was all for you. And, if I'm being honest, there will come a day when you're too embarrassed to have me around anyway. I love you with all my heart!
-Cory Stufflebeem, Counselor