(Originally published September 4, 2008)
Dearest baby Jack,
On Labour Day, 2000, I was going to school for something I hated and gearing up to divorce your brother's Daddy.
On Labour Day, 2001, I was living in a homeless shelter and pregnant with a baby boy you'll never get to meet, although you can trust me that he was pretty awesome while he was here.
On Labour Day, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, I was getting ready to go back to work after the long weekend. It was a different job each year — all temp — and I hated each with varying degrees of intensity.
But on Labour Day, 2006, you came, and everything was different.
There's a Bryan Adams song that you will one day hear on oldies radio and cringe, and it says, “Everything I do, I do it for you.” I personally think our pal Bryan is a bit of a poser, but I know how he feels on this one.
Everybody says that when they have a child, it changed their lives forever. This is obviously true, but it's kind of a dumb thing to say if you ask me. I mean, do you think all these parents were pacing the halls at two in the morning before they had kids? Like, for fun? Because if we're honest, you and other people in your demographic are a bit of a pain in the ass, frankly. So yeah, kids change lives.
But in your case, you unknowingly changed a lot more lives than just mine.
Between the bedrest and the panic attacks and the dental surgery without anaesthetic and the abject poverty, being pregnant with you was not what it said on the tin. I kind of wanted my money back, really. But then you decided to join us in the world of the living and breathing and cussing earlier than strictly necessary, and it got a little ugly. My water broke really, really early and they strapped me to a bed and wouldn't let you come out.
Since you are my son, after 10 days you said, “Screw this noise!” and came out anyway. Your Daddy took six months off work because neither you nor I were particularly healthy, but things were not looking good in the Dunford family bank book.
After we hung out with you for half a year, though, we didn't really want to stop, so we created IttyBiz. It's been a battle at times. Trying to work with you nursing and screaming and demanding fruit cups and insisting that feeding a magnetic letter C to the cat is your basic human right ain't exactly a walk in the park. But we did pretty well. Your Daddy was able to quit his job in time for your last birthday, and now he gets to hang out with us all day. That made it all worth it, and we were able to take on more clients and do more stuff.
Because of you, we've been able to help a lot of people with their own tiny businesses. We've been able to help people quit their own jobs to hang out with their own kids. One lady had a husband who wasn't being very nice to her at all, and she had FOUR of you. She's getting ready to move her babies to a safer place now, and we got to help.
Another lady was on bedrest like me, only she lived in America and didn't get to take time off like I did, and we helped her start freelancing from her bed.
I got an email from a man the other day, and he said that he'd made enough money with his new little side business to take his kids to Disney World for the first time.
A whole bunch of kids like you are able to see a lot more of their own Mummies and Daddies because you showed up and made it happen, and I think, if they ever knew, they'd say thank you and share their fruit cups with you.
Dearest baby boy, this post goes live at 11:04 PM, exactly two years after you came into the world. Your Daddy and I don't know what we ever did without you.
Because of you, the world is a little brighter, a little funnier, a little sweeter. Because of you, I have the perfect family. Because of you, I have the greatest job in the world.
I hope that being two is better than you could have ever hoped. I will move mountains to make sure it is full of raspberries and rubber ducks and books and choo-choo trains and red buses and bubbles and the number TEN screamed over and over and over.
I hope that all you ever know is love.