Letter to Joffrey (on the night of his birth)

This letter was written to my oldest son, Joffrey, whom I adore, on the night of his birth. Enjoy! Those of you who asked for a re-read (I read it on the night of his going away party).

My Darling Joffrey,

Well, here we are exactly, and I do mean exactly, nine months from when all this mess got started. You were born precisely on your due date at 2:02 a.m. That either means I am punctual or you are. I don’t know which.

Its 4 a.m. and your father, Lord love him, is sound asleep on the floor beside us. He barely survived the whole birthing ordeal, and at one point they nearly had to resuscitate him, but we’ll keep that between us.

You are wide awake beside me watching the world with amazing curiosity. Your eyes are simply soaking it all in, and I am astounded at how I feel like I know you so completely already. I thought you’d come out a stranger to me but here you are, and you are Joffrey.

But, it is hard to tell if you know me too, so I feel a few facts to introduce your family to you are probably appropriate. I’ll start with the bad news first. (First lesson in life: it is always best to start with the bad news first.) So, here goes.

1. We’re poor.

2. We live in the middle of no-where.

3. We will never go to Disney World.

Now at the moment, and for the next few years or so, you probably won’t notice or care about these few points. But one day, I’m guessing around age 10, you’re going to go home with THAT KID. THAT KID will have every new toy under the sun, and will live in a cool subdivision (as opposed to the middle of nowhere) with a pool, and THAT KID will have gone to Disney World at least twice. (Probably more if he has rich grandparents, and by the way, you do not.) I imagine you will come home, arms crossed, and demand to know when you will be supplied with the same. Well, let me say now that you should refer to items 1-3, letter dated 4/20/89. You were informed.

Now to your parents. I’ll start with me, your mom. Again, I’ll start with the bad news.

1. I am horribly unorganized, which is really bad because you should see all the equipment that comes with you.

2. I absolutely never follow the rules, and here’s where it gets rough for you, so let’s just get this one settled. You, my dear boy, will have too. It isn’t my idea, really. It comes from all these parenting books I’ve been reading. It seems If I don’t want to raise a brat, I have to make sure you follow a schedule (again not my idea, I detest schedules) and rules. Sorry kid.

3. I can’t cook and really rarely make the effort. Your father and I eat out a lot. But, here’s the upside. I know most of the cool restaurants in Asheville, and we love Mexican, so its not all bad.

4. I am a terrifyingly horrible driver, which I inherited straight from your grandmother, but hey, I’ve discovered that car seats are super handy when a State Trooper pulls you over. Who wants to give the harried mom a ticket?

5. I haven’t figured a thing out about this world, and generally find myself lost in the middle of it, but I am hoping we can discover it together.

But lest you despair, let’s move on to your father, the more positive part of the intros. Your dad is and always will be one of the great things in your life. He’s pretty darn awesome, mostly because he can literally fix anything, which is why I married him. Everyone needs a good handyman around. So, here goes.

1. Your dad knows all the places to hike, fish and camp, and he knows all the names of trees. (Although, if you hear him say Dogus Woodus, well, feel free to roll your eyes.)

2. He drives a cool truck with a bunch of gadgets and radios on it, which you, being a boy, will so totally love. (Me not so much. I can never get into it gracefully, which provides your father with oh-so-many questionable jokes at my expense.)

3. He loves AC/DC and the Eagles so you’ll get long hours of good tunes.

4. He can quote most of Shakespeare.

See? Pretty good, huh?

But, a few positive notes about me, so you don’t worry this is a one-sided deal.

1. I am killer at Battleship and will kick your butt in it, but I promise to let you win at CandyLand. (Side note: Do not play your grandmother in Scrabble. It has been my suspicion for years that she cheats.)

2. I know all the kids books and I’ve been practicing how to read to you. (Your father did not enjoy this activity–pretending he was the baby or I was–and reading out loud, with emphasis, despite his aforementioned talent of quoting Shakespeare).

3. I’m not too big on homework, and chances are good I won’t make you do it. (I mean, what if a good movie is on??) Which brings me to the best point of all and one that I believe will give me a leg up on dad.

4. I will take you out of school on a whim for vacations. I love the beach in the fall and see no reason to miss it just because of school. What do you think now?

So, see? There is hope for dear old mom.

Well, my brand new perfect baby, the sun is rising and those blame nurses will be in here soon to poke and prod, so let’s get a bit of sleep while we can. Tomorrow we start an amazing 18 years together. Sounds like a long time, huh? Your grandmother says it isn’t, that it goes by in a blink. I hope she’s wrong because already you are the delight of my life.

Sleep sweet, dear child. I love you, Mom

P.S. I forgot to mention that your pediatrician will be here bright and early. I can tell you now, you aren’t going to like him, but don’t worry, they say it only hurts for a second.