It’s probably long past time that I wrote this. When you were still a tiny baby, I wrote you letters all the time—not to send really, but to tell you even just on a screen you’ll never see how I feel—and then my hard drive died, and they were gone, and I just stopped.
I don’t know you as well as I’d like to, but I know that you are the best kid, just like Joey is the best kid; you’re both the best that ever saw daylight, and my life is the poorer for my distance from you. When you were born, I knew you better than anyone in the world, and we fit perfectly together. Then, when you became part of a different family, I started to lose my sense of who you were. I didn’t know what your days were like, or what you liked, or what your sense of humor was like. Heck, I didn’t know that babies had senses of humor until this year. I missed you so much that I couldn’t quite understand what had happened to me.
Ah, see, I’m crying now, just like I did in those old letters. I’ll tell you a thing about myself that not many people know, and that I’ve been working on for years now: When I’m scared, I get cold. And nothing scares me like you do, kiddo. That’s not your fault! You are warm and awesome and objectively unscary. But when I think about what I did to you, and about having to explain that to you and to Pete, I get very scared. I don’t know how to tell you why I did what I did, because it seems so stupid now, and I want to tell you that I was a fool to send you away and that even now I imagine you here with me, probably snoring, curled up next to your brother while I lie in a strange bed, unable to sleep. And I can’t. You’re in a good place, and your moms are wonderful moms, and I don’t want to scare you. But I can’t make any sense without talking about scary things. It’s less scary to imagine you grown and yelling at me, because at least then I can tell you what happened and know that even if you hate me for it, you will probably understand what I’m talking about, mostly.
I’m also mad at your moms. Again, not your fault! And I’m less mad than I have been sometimes, and I’m working on not being mad at all. But sometimes I want to blame them for the fact that you and I aren’t close. Some of that might be fair—some of it isn’t. But being mad is easier than missing you, and easier than feeling guilty about having a hard time reaching out to you.
You have a brother now; you’ve met him, although I’m not sure of whether you remember that. And I can’t stop talking to your birth dad about what you were like as a baby, and what you might have been like, and how much we lost when we lost you. I don’t think your brother suffers—we dote on him, and he seems amazingly cheerful and well—but I’ve only just realized that you might, because of my worry and my coldness, and I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry. It sounds so crazy to say that the reason I sound cold toward you is because I wish I was closer, but I swear to God that it’s the truth. I’m surprised even right this very moment by how raw the loss of you still is, when I stop to look. You were my perfect baby son, and now you are someone else’s perfect son, and I can’t quite explain why that feels awful. I’m glad that you’re happy and well, though; I never wanted you to pine for me.
I am a pretty strange lady. Hopefully you will one day mostly get the endearing pieces of this (the fact that I get too excited about giving gifts to keep them secret, mostly, or my odd little crooning songs, or my determination to feed the people I love). Hell, maybe it’s too much to hope that we’ll have a one day together. But I do, you know—I so badly want what feels impossible now—you to think of yourself as my son (never only mine, I would never want you to lose your connection to your moms), and to want a relationship with me and your other biological family. I don’t want to replace anyone, and I don’t want you to feel any lack in your life at all . . . so if I get my wish, you may never have any need or desire to see any one of us Books. But that would be worth it if it meant you were happy. In the meantime, I will try to be less of a jerk.