11/12/2013 10:17 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Before You Can Pick Your Own Nose

Annie Vovan

Dear Son,

I'm writing to you when you are at the tender age of just 37 days old in order to take the time to reflect on who you are and to be grateful for it.

You see, your dad and I realize that at this very moment in time, you are 100% dependent on us. We knew of this great responsibility once we found out we were pregnant with you.

You need us to provide you food, shelter, warmth and all your basic needs to help you grow. You haven't been potty trained yet, so your diapers are our responsibility. You rely on us for everything, but you cry and sleep and poop on your own. You even rely on us to pick your nose, which we still haven't figured out how to do (of note: We have debated using a Q-tip versus saline drops).

And one day, it has occurred to me, you won't need us for anything at all.

I have read so many mommy articles lately about the hardship of motherhood, with the attendant rah-rah over how many sacrifices moms make. Trust me, I sing that song from time to time. And while I absolutely agree that motherhood has its challenges, I want to also appreciate the beautiful things about motherhood, because there truly are so many things that only you and I experience together. Your growth so far has made me realize so much about myself and about your evolution from our baby to one day, a self-sufficient young man.

At some point in time, the things that can drive a new mom crazy will fade. So, for now, I will stop and find the beauty in joy in the smallest things you do.

You cry and wail at the top of your lungs. I choose to be grateful that you are 100% healthy. Your lungs are functioning and until you can communicate with words, crying is the only way to let us know that you are displeased with something. And son, we hear you loud and clear. When you were born, you let out a cry that struck a chord in the hearts of both your father and me. And even though you cry mysteriously from time to time, your pitch and tone will forever be recorded in my memory.

My hope is that as you grow up, your cries are reserved for happy moments instead of tragic ones. I can't even imagine yet how gut-wrenching it will feel for me when you start experiencing pain that elicits tears. And since you have no spoken words yet, I am cherishing these days before you can say the word "no," but look forward to when you can tell me about your highest highs and lowest lows. So for now, I am reminded by your cries that you need something from me.

And son, I have a request for you since your mom is a health care provider: Please keep your lungs free of nicotine.

You let me smother you with kisses. Little do you know it, but we give you about 1,000 kisses a day. More or less. As I had posted on my FaceBook this week about how you just smiled at your dad and I a few mornings ago, my friend Adam said it best. To paraphrase him, there's a circle of life that happens when a child smiles at their parents. You'll enjoy us for the next 8 to 10 years, then not be as enthused to see us for another 8 to 10 years, and then you'll be back to being happy to see us with a vengeance.

I realize that the days of 1,000 kisses will fade from coming from your parents and be replaced by a lover one day. May you choose wisely. Very, very, wisely my dear son.

You are comforted most in my arms. As I have chosen to exclusively breastfeed you, you and I share a lot of intimate time together. Easily we share eight to ten times a day where it is just you and I, literally connected. You currently are tiny to where I can set you up on my nursing pillow and even hold you upright with one arm. Yes, there have been sleepless nights, but I know those days are limited. In the coming months and years, you'll grow heavier to where I won't physically be able to hold you in my arms and lay you in my lap. So I am choosing to cherish this finite time with you.

As you grow up, you'll be comforted by other people, no doubt. Outside of your parents, you'll be comforted by friends, family and romantic partners (again choose wisely). My hope is that you always know that you can always find comfort in me.

You piss and poop a dozen times a day. All I can say to this is that you are a healthy boy! There will come a day soon when I'll stop inspecting all your orifices and feeling like a champion for each day that you haven't had a diaper rash. As a little boy, you'll be more obsessed with poop, farts and gas throughout the years and I'll be less interested in them I am sure. As for now, I am obsessed as making sure you burp after feeds and go through enough wet and dirty diapers so that we know you are hydrated and gaining weight. I am choosing to be grateful that through diapers, we can ensure you are thriving.

We hold hands every day. You have the tightest little grip for such a small baby. I am grateful that you have reflexes and you are building up your small motor skills.
Your hands will allow you to express so many things. You'll use your hands to write. I wish you to use your written words as kind and well thought out as your spoken words.
You'll use your hands for play. We hope you use your hands to nurture others as well. You'll use your hand to also comfort others, as we have often comforted you. They'll be those years where you will drop my hand as soon as you see your friends very soon. I am holding on to your hand as much as I can, for now.

It's my hope that as a new mom, we have moments of gratitude in the midst of figuring this whole thing out. I am not saying that these past 38 days have been a breeze but I will say without a doubt, you have made my life richer and have given me a sense to prioritize what's important in life and avoid the minutiae. You have taught me to slow down and be present as you must been keen that your mom is an expert in multi-tasking and working on ten projects at a time. With you in my life, to be away from you for just a minute, must be worth it. That being said, there really aren't that many compelling reasons for me to put forth the effort. As much as I can joke about motherhood, I love it so much. However, when I am away from you, I just make sure it's worth it. Thank you for teaching me to streamline my life and focus on what matters the most.

What am I most grateful for? Is that you arrived outside of my womb safe and sound. I know that other friends of ours are having difficulty conceiving their baby, or are also having complicated pregnancies. I know that it is easy to focus on how hard motherhood is but I hope to be mindful that even on the toughest days, when your lungs are functioning VERY WELL, I'll remember that you have come into our lives. And that you will one day, not rely on us for anything, but choose to anyway.

With my love,