July 15th, 1987
Dear Baby Tourist,
We have been up together since 4:15, and since you show no sign of going back to sleep, we are in the living room so we won't wake up Dad. You are talking to your elephants, and I've been picking up the house and enjoying you.
Today we go to the Doctor for your 2 month check-up. You will get your first shots today. I'm not looking forward to that. I don't like anything to hurt you, and you won't feel very well afterwards. You are so happy, that I hate to have you not feel good. I've gotten some baby tylenol for you, so I hope that will help you.
The last three weeks have been busy ones for you. We went to Michigan for vacation this year and stayed at the cottage in Glen for a week. Daddy and I had a nice rest, and had a lot of fun being with you. We were able to visit almost every day with Grandpa R and Becky. I know Grandpa liked that. You liked swinging in the hammock with your Aunt Judy & Uncle Gregg. The trees above really fascinated you. While I sat on the deck in the sun, you would take your nap under an umbrella. You seemed to like being outdoors.
Home from the doctor. Dr. C says you are a healthy kid an we can keep you another month! You now weigh 12lbs 5oz and are 24 1/2 inches long. Big girl!
In another week and a half, I start back to work. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to get a part time position at a banking center closer to home, and only 3 days a week - Monday, Thursday, Friday - so I will be home with you on the weekends and Tuesday and Wednesday. I am very happy about that. I like being with you, and it is important to me to spend time with you. Also, since we've had you, life is busier for me, so it will be nice to have some time to myself, and time to get housework done without having to cram it all into the evenings and weekends. Also, it looks like I may be acting in another show soon, so I will have rehearsals in the evenings. I won't feel bad about leaving you with Dad at night when I have time with you during the day.
This weekend we go back to Michigan for Uncle Todd's graduation party. He has his associates degree from K.U.C.C and is working for an architect in Kalamazoo. He likes to design houses. Maybe someday he will design one for us to live in!
You will be baptized in Michigan on August 9th, probably at Camp Geneva in Holland. Steve N. will "dunk" you. Steve is the minister who married Mom & Dad, and we are glad he can baptize you. I have known Steve ever since I was 14 years old, and he is a very important friend to my family. It is special that he will be the one to baptize you as a child of God.
Baby T, I have to do some work today! I treasure this time of sharing with you. Knowing that I have this time with you now, and that through these letters, I can share it again with you when you are older. You are very precious to me, dear. You are only two months old, but you fill me with such pride with your baby accomplishments. Your first noises, smiles and laughs, the first time you rolled from tummy to back thrilled me, I felt triumphant for you. You are a constant source of joy and wonder to me. I enjoy being a mother. I love being your mother.
I'm glad my baby accomplishments thrilled you. I hope someday my Big Girl accomplishments thrill you, too. (I secretly hope I've thrilled you already.)
It's almost strange to read these letters now, to have you write so fondly of Dad, of Grandpa and Becky, knowing every thing that comes after. Especially Grandpa R. I can only just barely remember a time when he wasn't the way he is now, when life was more that just his garden and his clarinet. These are just hazy half-remembereds, though, split-second snippets of Becky taking us to visit him at work, laughing at dinner, talking to the bird that had landed on his foot. I couldn't even tell you how much of that is real memory, and how much of that is fabricated ideas of what I feel should have happened. Now my thoughts of him are dominated by that hurtful letter he sent when you got remarried, that awkward car ride last summer (or was it two summers ago already) where we barely spoke, because we couldn't even pretend to have something in common, or that moment the year before, when we stood feet from each other, and he didn't even recognize my face. Oh, what time (and drugs) will do.
You know how I feel about Vacationing Babies - I don't know if it's exactly ironic, but what a strange twist of fate to have been a Vacationed Baby myself. Maybe it's a sign. Maybe I was always meant to travel, and I just forgot about it in the way I've forgotten so many other baby things. A tourist in diapers.
These letters are revealing. I now know that my fear of needles is well-established historical fact, and that I've apparently always been a bit of an insomniac. I don't remember these elephants, though. I can't picture them in my mind, and I have a pretty far reaching memory for toys. Strange the way memory works - I can't remember a conversation we had last week, but if you needed it, I could provide a word for word transcript of some of the amazing things my Barbies would get up to. Sorry about that.
I'm so grateful you like being my mother. I rather enjoy being your daughter. Thank you for sharing these letters with me. I hope you don't mind that I've shared them with the internet as well.
Your American Tourist