Mother’s Day Guest Columnist Faith Tissot: Why I Write Letters To My Kids

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Faith Tissot, 40, lives in East Hills, New York, with Marc, her husband of13 years, and Juliette, 7, and Christian, 2. She is a registered nurse and also has two dogs, Dakota and Melbourne.

Dear Juliette and Christian,

In my 12th week of pregnancy, I wrote a love letter to you, Juliette, my first child. Now you’re seven years old, and I still write you a love letter every month.

I began writing love letters to you, Christian, after I had carried you for almost five months. Now you’re two years old, and I still write you a love letter every month, too.

A few months before we conceived you, Christian, I was pregnant with another child, Luke. But he hadnon-mosaic trisomy 21, a fatal form of Down Syndrome, andwe lost him in my second trimester.

That’s why I took longer to get around to writing letters to you, Christian, than I had with Juliette. I was afraid to make the commitment until we had a good idea we would be going to term with you.

In my letters to you, Christian, I told you how you were my rainbow after the storm. When we learned you were a healthy baby boy, I wrote about how you healed my heart.
While pregnant with you, Juliette, my adoptive mother was gravely ill, dying of uterine cancer.Bearing two children later prompted me to go looking for my birth parents. As you both know, I was adopted at the age of five.And then, thanks to help from my loving husband, I had that first conversation with my birth mother and father.

In my letters to you, Juliette, I wrote about worrying that my adoptive mother would die before she could see you born.

In my letters to you, Christian, I told you about my dream that my adoptive mother, by then deceased, was happily congratulating me on carrying you.

That’s one reason I write letters to my kids. Because I’m adopted, I know very little about my early childhood. Because I’m adopted, I longed to find my roots. Because I’m adopted, I wanted to preserve our history as a family, and to forget nothing. I intended for you both to know who you are and where you came from, and to hear it from me, your real mother.

In writing these letters, I’m doing for you what no one ever did for me, nor could.

So what have the letters told you kids so far?

For starters, how when I first saw your heartbeat on the sonogram screen, Juliette, I cried. And how, when you were born, on Good Friday, Barry White’s voice came over the radio in the delivery room. And how we spent our first Easter together in my room on the maternity ward. And how you wore an Easter outfit I got for you, right down to the chick socks.

How right after your birth, Christian, I held you and studied your features, and how your disposition has turned out to be a sweet as sugar, how your personality is so tender and loving, and how you make me laugh.

My letters also tell you how wonderful your father is, the love of my life, along with how we met, and how I knew he was the right man, and how you should both marry your best friend, someone as wonderful to you as he is to me.

My letters have recordedyour milestones, too, such as your learning to read and making new friends, all your triumphs and tribulations. I try to answer your questions, too. About why your Uncle is in Afghanistan. About how we lost Luke, and how losing him broke my heart. About my adoption and how I’ve struggled with the pain it has brought me.

I also try to share a few lessons. To cherish the small moments, to look at nature and live in the moment. To choose friends based on character. How actions tell you more about who someone is inside than looks.

Always I write how very much you are loved, how very much you mean to us and I and how very proud of you we are.

In my letters, I’m telling you about yourselves to protect you, to protect you from ignorance and doubt. I know less about myself than I would like, but I know enough. You’ll always know more than enough.
In that sense, my love letters to youright a wrong.
I’m trying to make sure all your questions are answered.

All your prayers, too.

P.S. — My adoptive mother lived to see Juliette born after all. She lived another 10 months, long enough to hold her in her arms and attend her baptism.

P.S.S. – Please see guest column from Deborah Kennedy tomorrow.
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