Dear Firstborn: Thank You For Teaching Me The Joy In Slowing Down

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“To my firstborn

You are my teacher.

When we first started out, I had no idea how to be a mother. You taught me.

You taught me the joy in slowing down.

Jumping in rain puddles after a storm.

Curling up on the couch with snacks nearby and heads full of dreams waiting to be explored.

Giggling at animal noises at the zoo.

Reading the same book over and over, watching you kiss the pages.

You taught me to pay attention and not ignore the signs of your mental health.

To take seriously the morbid jokes.

To stare into the darkness behind your smile.

To keep asking. Keep seeking your truth.

Accept what your actions were screaming even when your mouth was silent.

You taught me that your biggest need was to be heard.

To care about the small details.

The games you love.

The math explanations you give.

The particular way you like things. T

hat you needed me to listen.

With eye contact and without distractions and interruptions.

Son, I thought it would be me teaching you about life, the world, and yourself.

And it was. 

But as much as it was that, it was equally about you teaching me.

About life. The world. You.

And me.”

firstborn son looks down and adjusts his bow tie
Courtesy of Melissa Neeb

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melissa Neeb from Never Empty Nest and Faith In The Mess. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Melissa here:

‘The dance of cutting kite strings while weaving ropes. Pushing away, but still needing.’: Mom shares emotional ups and downs of parenting teens

‘I think about boys, now men, fighting in a war nobody wanted. Teens, just like mine, protecting their country with their lives.’: Mom shares ‘grief and gratitude’ having her son home safe

‘I have an empty room. An infinite abyss. A portal leading only to my own memories.’: Mom candidly shares difficult empty nest emotions

‘When your big kid asks you to do something, say yes.’: Mom of teens shares important advice

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