A few years ago, my mom gave me a stack of journals that she had written from 1978 to 1990. Originally, I think she had written some of these in Finnish, her native tongue, and she transferred these to a new journal and translated into English so I could read her words. The journals are about me and the life around me, sometimes recorded daily, especially in the time before my sister was born.
After receiving the journals, I glanced through a few pages, tucked them into a fire-proof safe in the basement, and forgot about them for a while.
I suppose I wasn’t ready yet.
So tonight, as I was digging through the safe to find my social security card that is constantly missing, I pulled out the 1979 book and started reading.
My mom’s handwriting, exactly the same as it looks now, felt alive and real. It put me into a trance and I was completely drawn into her words. I *really was* this little baby who was seeing the world for the first time. My mom *really was* that young mother–younger than I am now. She was once like me, and I was once like my own babies.
And as always happens when nostalgia hits, tears rained down my cheeks.
When I was seven months old, my mom watched and noticed everything I did. She had, and still has, an incredible attention to detail. She paid attention to the weather, which foods we ate, which people she visited with, how many hours I slept, the words I said, how my little body looked.
I was her “sunshine”. She thought I was smart and incredible and cute. She loved my round blue eyes, my silky white hair, how I looked like my dad. She loved how I laughed and smiled, how I loved to eat all kinds of food, how I “purred like a baby bear” and squirmed around while I drifted off to sleep.
And suddenly I get it.
I once was that perfect little baby who was loved more than anything in the entire world. There never has been and never will be another baby exactly like me. That baby didn’t have to do anything to deserve love; she was perfect and loved just the way she was.
For the first time that I can remember, I think it might be possible that I am the same person as that baby. I think it’s possible that I deserve love, that someone loves me just the way I am, that I am perfect just how I am. It might be possible that I should love myself and that baby I once was.
So thank you, Ma-a, for writing those journals and most of all, for loving me.