letter for lucas

Firstphoto_2You were the “presenting baby.”  That’s what they told us about my “Baby A” during a scheduled ultrasound.  I imagined you emerging with a glossy satin ribbon, my little naked present.  You were always awake during those routine visits.  “The wild child” I called you as you waved and kicked on camera.  And we giggled like new parents.  “Did it just smile?”  Um, no, that’s its abdomen you’re looking at there.  “Oh.  Well, still, it’s just like I am,” I insisted.  You, my first-born son, fought your way out and insisted on presenting yourself to the world before it was ready for you.  And I can already tell, you’re just like I am.

Once you were out, beneath bili lights, tanning your sweet self, you turned beet red.  Sunburn, I joked for a moment trying to bring levity to the situation. “An abundance of red blood cells,” the nurses corrected.  And I came closer, taking small steps toward you, frightened I might hurt you.  I felt your hot back and began to tremble with you. You cry like a small lamb.  I held my breath.  “You get angry,” I whispered into your red swollen face, choking down my own sobs along with your cries.  “And you fight, and get pissed off.  And enter the red zone. Just stay.”  Then I cried, heaving tears, summoning my grandfather Popoo for his spirit and energy.  “Please, make sure he has our spunk,” I said aloud.  And you calmed down.  You are my spunky spirited son, and I love you deeply and won’t ever try to stifle you. 

Yours is the first photograph I have as a mother.  Jenny, the nurse who stayed with me when you were born, took a Polaroid of us, and it is my most favorite photo.  Other people coo over your small fingers wrapped around mine, but the Polaroid is my favorite.  It will allays remind me how damn joyous I was the moment the doctor pulled you from me.  A son.  I know you will be my friend, that we’ll share the same sense of humor, that we’ll roll our eyes at the rest of our family, together.  A mother knows these things, this mother does.  They pulled you away after you were born, but I held onto our photo all night and traced your body with my finger.  “I have a son, a small perfect son.”  And I love you so big. 

Lucas Beckett, I’m sorry I named you after a girl, but she was extraordinary, just as you’ll be.  Just as you are.  You are named after your great grandmother Beatrice, whose engagement ring I wear and polish often.  I caught you staring at it the other day.  Your eyes got really big, and I looked at it with you.  “No kidding,” I said, “All she wanted in life was a mink coat, a Cadillac, and a diamond walnut.”  And if she were alive, she’d live for you, her great grandson.  I wish she were here to meet you.  I talk to her sometimes, at times like these, when I need strength or reassurance that everything will be okay.  It’s comforting that you’re named after her; it will keep you brave and strong.

If you were born a girl, there’d be way too much fighting in the house, over clothes and makeup and the bathroom.  I understand that you might grow to want to destroy things and pee in my garden plants. And you know what?  That’s just fine by me because you’re here, and your mine.  And I suspect you’ll be mischievous which will make me angry and make me laugh.  And I’ll threaten to hit you with a wooden spoon from the kitchen, but I won’t, and the two of us will laugh at me for even suggesting it.  Then I’ll make us rice pudding.   

If you had been a girl, you’d have been named Gabrielle or Gabriella.  At first your father found the name off-putting because of the “Gabe” in my book.  “Hello, that wasn’t his real name,” I had to remind him.  So eventually, we settled on Gabriella.  But since we didn’t want an Abby and a Gabby, we’d call you Ella for short.  “Lucas,” we knew, always, before coming up with any other names, would be your name.  It was the only name your father and I agreed upon right from the start.  It is up to you if you want to be a Luke, but as your mother, you’ll always be my Lucas.  Though sometimes I might call you Linus by mistake. 

I’ve never been around small boys, so a few days after you were born, I insisted on changing your diaper.  I had to come face to face with your parts, particularly your male parts.  It’s kind of strange being your mother and not seeing your penis yet.  So I’ve seen it, once, and I imagine I’ll see quite a bit more of it. And I apologize in advance for the circumcision you have coming.  But I’ll buy you nice clothes–boy clothes, without ruffles, I promise—and I’ll teach you to draw, and your primary and complementary colors, and to harmonize.  I’ll show you how to blow bubbles out of your nose when you’re swimming, how to render bacon, all the names of the different muppets, where Orion is and how to find the Big Dipper. You’ll learn all the uses for Morton’s salt, how to make a buttered raisin rum sauce for bread pudding, how to trace your hand and read your own palm.  We’ll play Scrabble and I’ll be the one to help you with your math homework.  I will teach you to drive but not to parallel park.  No, forget this.  Your father will teach you to drive, and according to him, I’ll be the one to teach you all about sex and vaginas and boobies. But I’ll do it in private, not over a steak dinner at Scotch & Sirloin as my parents did.  My mother will have to teach you how to skip stones.  She grew up in the boonies and knows things like that.  Someone else will have to teach you how to balance a checkbook, do manual labor, and pee standing up.    But I’ll show you how to ride a wave, stick a firefly to your forehead, and all the words to the song “Lola.”    I’ll teach you to not be a momma’s boy, and I promise I’ll always know you love me, especially when you find someone special to love.

I won’t teach you to throw—that’s a big favor, believe me.  But I’ll teach you to dance, despite having no rhythm.  Actually, we’ll have Auntie Lea teach you to dance, or your first cousin once removed, Nicholas. Your father dances like your mother, I’m afraid.  He’ll make up for it though, in so many ways.  He’s a wonderful nurturing man, and he surprises me every day in the ways he teaches me about life and love and myself.  I love that you’re part of this family of ours, and I can’t wait to see this world through your eyes, to learn from you, to watch you grow and change.  To hear your lamb cries turn into a laugh that sounds like little golden bells. 

Today you were bottle-fed.  Yeah, you didn’t like that so much.  You devoured it, then spit it up.  I’m learning your little “stop” signs, when you raise your sprawled fingers near your face, letting me know you’ve had enough.  I’ll learn the way you breathe, when you need a rest, and the ways you like to be positioned.  As small as you are, I’m not afraid of you anymore.  You’re my sweet bean, and you and I are going to do just fine together.  I love you so much, already, the way we have our nuzzles, and the way you cry and hiccup. But you quiet down each time I put my face against yours.  And even if it’s only hot gas, you’ve got a killer smile, and I suspect you’ll know exactly when to unleash it, my son.

* In this photo, the moment you were born, you weighed in at 2 lbs. 11 oz.  "But they always lose weight after they’re born," they warned me.  You now weigh 3 lbs. 15 oz. and today you’re coming out of your isolette and being co-bed with your sister.  It’s just a matter of weeks before you’re home.  The way it works with preemies is you start off with tubes and monitors, given sodium and caffeine, and then you’re slowly stripped from these things.  Right now you’re off the caffeine, though damn, it’s all I want.  You breast feed best in the football position, though sometimes it doesn’t work, and then I get frustrated and want to hit someone.  A lactation consultant came by and without warning GRABBED HOLD AND SQUEEZED, PINCHING VIOLENTLY at my nipple, making a bead of milk appear.  I wanted TO PUNCH HER IN THE HEAD, but you grabbed on and sucked for twenty minutes.  "This is so wonderful," I said to her, and she shook her head in agreement, as if it gave her permission to raid me. 



  1. They are both beautiful! Take care of yourself you are going to need all the enegry you have when they are home with you. I have a feeling that isn't going to take very long at all. :)

  2. thank you for sharing these most intimate feelings with us. I so appreciate it.

    Love to your growing little babes.

  3. as the mother of 2 sons, now 18 and 20, i swear you will love no other the way you love your sons. he will always be the most handsome, most talented, the most curagous man in your life. and no matter what he says or does, when you look at him he will be your "little bean" just as you see him now. congradulations and best wishes to all of you.

  4. AWESOME! I think it's awesome that you are giving them both a chance for their own identity already, that you've included Phil in the special parts of your son and daughter too.

    What is "Rendering Bacon?" Like frying it?

    When I first began changing my son's diaper, my husband was the one to tell me I had to lift the balls to find the nuggets hidden in his diaper, that the underside needed to be cleaned too!

    And, definitely, definitely, teach your son how to pee sitting first. My boys are the cleanest, standing-up-pee-ers I know, and that's because we taught them to be neat, and not to stand and fling piss everywhere when they were definitely not ready!

    Love these letters you've written to your babies. I'm sure you'll keep them up. I always think of you writing fast and furious and completely from the heart with no editing.

  5. Woman! You made me cry again! At least not during work hours this time. So Lucas is the wild child huh…hahaha..imagine- you, if you had been a guy. This should be interesting :)

    I saw the pictures you put up of the nursery today too, very cool. I especially liked the book collection you've started for them. Thanks too for the weight updates, we're cheering them on and excited to hear of their progress.

    Do you suppose they'll be home by valentines day?

  6. Oh, one more thing–how much do they have to weigh before they get to come home? And is it pretty likely that one will come home before the other one? That will be a heartbreaking yet also glorious bittersweet day.

    I hope you get to bring them both home at the same time.

  7. Stephanie,

    I alternately cried and laughed from one sentence to the next, reading this post. Thank you for both of these wonderful letters to your children. What wonderful little babes they are. Reading your posts and seeing your love for your family is very reassuring and heartwarming.


  8. Again, a beautiful touching letter. Your children are lucky to have you and Phil. What a loving family you all are! ….The nursery is beautiful. Love the bedding, pillows, baskets, books. The best is the framed print of their little feet. Too cute! Wow, tomorrow the beans will be one month old! Have a great day.

  9. Two beautiful letters for two beautiful babies!! The nursery looks so adorable. I love the book collection – especially the Olivia books, since that's my daughter's name, and we have all those books too. BTW, I supplemented w/ formula, and my kids could only tolerate soy formula. It's supposedly more like breast milk. I don't know what formula you're using, but if it's not soy, maybe Lucas would like it better and keep it down. I'm just glad to hear how well they're both doing.

  10. This is warmth. Your letter to your son. It is like hot cocoa on a cold day … a warm towel when you step out of the tub. Warm, fluffy, safe.
    I am glad that you are enjoying the small things. The hiccups .. hands moving .. I relive those special moments every time you write about them.

  11. Stephanie, I'm the mom of boy/girl three-pound preemie twins who are now six, flourishing in kindergarten and truly the loves of my life. We weren't allowed to hold them until they were eight days old — and haven't stopped hugging and kissing them since! I'm glad that despite the worry and exhaustion you're finding time to record your thoughts, which as always you express so exquisitely. You have challenging days ahead but it gets better and better (and easier). Enjoy those beauties and remember to take care of you!

  12. stephanie … your last 2 posts have had me in tears … thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts about abby and lucas, and giving us a peek into your experiences as a new mom.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing these! I just love the emotions you make me feel when I read about your two beautiful babies. I feel like i'm eating the best piece of cheesecake in the world only better! Maybe it's catharic in a sense. They're getting so big too!

  14. Your writing will never cease to amaze me. This is so heartwarming, and so sweet.

    My favorite part is where you said you'd teach him the words to "Lola." Brilliant!

    Congratulations again, it's wonderful that they're doing well, as are you and Phil.

  15. I am sitting here with a big grin from ear to ear – how beautifully written Stephanie – both letters to your beautiful little babies. I am so happy that they are thriving and you are revelling in the joy of motherhood. Magic stuff!

  16. Awwww…the babies are finally bunk buddies!! Thanks for the new pictures, and Lucas is really filling out!

  17. My grandmother drove a big green Caddy and was never without her mink during the winter. I was fortunate enough to inherit the latter. I think of her every time I wear it.

  18. These are both wonderful posts, I can feel the love for Abigail and Lucas and know that they have great parents who are going to have a wonderful time watching the two of them grow and develop and teaching them the things they need to know. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts through this. It's great.

  19. When I had my first baby I sooo wanted a girl. I had a boy. And I think I loved him all the more for it. Some 6 years later he is the best thing that ever happened to me. But I have to admit I WAS happy when I delivered my twins, girls. Not sure how I would have survived raising 3 boys under 4!
    I'm happy for you you have one of each sex to enjoy and appreciate. They are looking very healthy and growing, do you know when they will be coming home?

  20. You had tears running down my face once again with this post – but you had me smiling through my tears the whole time. Your love for your children is overwhelming, and the respect you already have for the personalities they're developing is remarkable. Thank you for including us and allowing us to share your awe.

  21. Lucas is a lucky lad.

    Strangely enough, I got an article via email that lists the most popular Jewish names. Abigail (Avigail) means father's joy!

    Don't know where to post this info for you, so I'll do it here. National Geographic Channel is broadcasting a documentary on multiples in the womb on 1/14. They'll be shown sharing the womb, playing and fighting. Must-see TV.

  22. Stephanie – I love these two letters. I'm a mom of a premie myself and now my little guy is 3 and a half and is amazing. Thanks for your blog and letting us into your most cherish and personal moments.

    btw: just read your book on vacation, boy there were so many parts I was able to relate to. Can't wait for your next one. I'll understand if your too busy to get it out for a while though.

    Enjoy your little ones.

  23. I love the letters you have written to your children. I, too, have written letters to my 2 girls, however, I so wish that I had your talent for putting my emotions into words. It overwhelms me when I think of how much love we are capable of having for our children. I once hear that our children are our hearts with feet. I have come to realize how very true this is.

    Congratulations on your beautiful family and all your happiness.


  24. You've got the best of both worlds, Stephanie. I cannot wait to have tea parties with my sweet little Elizabeth, but life would not be worth living without my little boys, who made me the mother I am today.

    P.s. Don't worry about teaching him to stand up to pee. Just begin repeating the mantra "Don't forget to point it down" now. ;o)

  25. Have him learn sitting down, but once he does it standing, throw some cheerios in the bowl and have him try to hit them. Also, put a splash guard on the rim when he's sitting, or he will pee right under the rim. And while he's in diapers, keep the new diaper over his peepee because every once in a while, he's going to decide he needs to pee while you're changing him. Better to waste a diaper than to get a facial. And DO NOT teach him to drive. There are actual people that get paid to do this. Neither you, nor Phil, nor Lucas, no Abby need the aggravation.

    And why 86 responses for Abby and only 36 for Lucas??? Poor guy is already discriminated against.

  26. Okay, here's my comment for Lucas.

    Lucas, Im betting your mom is going to be one of those magical moms who can make even the most boring, mundane tasks seem fun. You'll fight with your sister over her attention and affection. Your dad will probably teach you how to be the best "big" brother you can be, and you'll always be protective over the women in your life.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    Regardless, you'll always be adorable. :)

  27. Your letters are so touching. God bless your babies.
    Looking pictures, I noticed they had grown very much!
    All the best again

  28. Sorry for the double, Stephanie. Just clicked on the pics and saw the nursery (and the adorable pic of them sleeping together). It looks FANTASTIC! I love the monogrammed pillows and pants. Too cute. You did a great job on your nursery.

  29. JoeyB – I'm fresh out of synonyms for unbelieveably adorable, cute as a button, and a bundle of snuggles, all of which Lucas is. I think too many of us gushed over Abigail and have to replenish for Lucas. Plus, we're all very busy loving the nursery.

    Also, next time someone annoys me, I'm going to tell him or her to go piss on a Cheerio.

  30. As I have said before, I am envious of your ability to express your beautiful love for your children. I think that it is so very important for a mother to express her love and thoughts especially to her son as it helps shape them into wonderful men.

    I couldn't imagine my life without my son and dread the day that he won't want to snuggle, kiss and hug his mommy. Although, I naively tell myself that it will never happen.

    Oh – and adhere to Joey's advice: keep a diaper on hand for those impromptu showers that your son may decide to share with you. Also – keep the penis pointing south when doing the diaper up. Never knew that it would be such an important piece of advice from the NICU nurse. :)

  31. I'm trying to get pregnant and as it happens when you are, I'm bombarded with moms and advice. I keep thinking "I don't want to be *that* kind of mom!" But the letters to Abigail and Lucas definitely resonated with me and that's the kind of mom I want to be. I love how you put that feeling into words.

    I hope they come home soon!

  32. I have no idea what has made you a 'sicko' with regards to these posts..but whatever. People are strange. Your letters to your babies are beautiful and your telling of the summoning of your Grandfather's energy just makes my heart stop and my eyes well. Absolutely gorgeous, Stephanie. Lucas and Abigail will treasure them forever, I'm sure.

    May I please redundantly ask after wedding pics again?

    Blessings to you all!

  33. To JoeyB,

    I've said it b/f, and I'll say it again, people tend to favor girls over boys. Don't ask me why, but it's true. I have 2 boys and a girl, and I've seen it happen more times than you can imagine. I happen to have 3 great kids, and when my younger son was in 2nd grade, his teacher said to me, "I love him so much, even though he's a boy". Gee, thanks. And, after having 2 boys and being pregnant the 3rd time, you wouldn't believe the horrible comments I got – in front of the boys, no less, such as, "you must be praying for a girl" and "God forbid if you have another boy". These morons would actually say these things in front of my boys. You can tell from all the posts that a lot of people even commented only on Abigail's pix. Meanwhile, Abigail and Lucas are both beautiful babies. Go figure. So, that's my take on why Abigail's letter got so many more comments that the one to Lucas. Hopefully he won't take it personally and he'll know that Stephanie and Phil love them both to pieces.

  34. Okay, I swear this thing hates me. Everytime I leave a comment, it never appears, I think it eats it. LOL

    Anyway, all that I had commented on was that I think that your two entries to your twins were absolutely beautiful. You are such an inspiration to me, and it really makes me want to try to go somewhere with my writing.

    It's good to hear the wonderful updates about the twins, I'm keeping you all in my thoughts!

  35. To Andrea,

    I think teachers discriminate horribly against boys at a young age. Some of it understandable, since boys mature slower, and are ever so much higher maintenance at that age. Still, I've seen so many teachers torture boys in a way that they would never do against a girl.

    As for moms, I think there is there is a dichotomy of feelings. A boy will always be a mom's 'baby', while a girl will eventually develop into a mom's best friend. Both good, just different.

  36. A beautiful letter!!
    But I have to admit I was taken aback by your nonchalant reference to circumcision. I really just can't believe that anyone would have that painful procedure performed on their perfect little babies for no reason. Poor Lucas.

  37. Hi. I have recently found your blog. I can't get enough of reading about your life. I am not sure if you read all of these comments, but I want you to know that I look forward to each entry. I, too, have a son named Lucas. I nearly felt all of the same things you described when my Lukie came into this world 2 1/2 years ago. Now I have a Stella to go with him; she is now 9 weeks old. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am still in my 4th as well. Thanks

  38. Thank you for articulating what I’ve been trying to in my own letter to my 8-month-old boy. “I’ll teach you to not be a momma’s boy, and I promise I’ll always know you love me, especially when you find someone special to love.” Lovely.

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