Making Memories For Finley.

By Alison September 1, 2005 5 Comments 3 Min Read


Is it wrong to mourn the baby my little boy was yesterday? Although I can hardly bear it, Finley will be two tomorrow, and while I had long suspected that Motherhood was destined to be punctuated by intense moments of grief, I never imagined that the longing for my seven pound little babe in arms would be quite so sharp…

As Mothers we learn to stand on the sidelines of somebody elses life: we experience bliss no man could ever understand, and we pay the price in the sheer sorrow of what it is to watch a child grow and change and leave only the most fleeting of memories behind. I, surely can’t be the only Mommy in the world to hardly recognise my little boy in some of the photographs we took of him in the early days of his life? Who, we ask, is that stranger? Where did he go and who will he become?

We do our best to grasp what we do remember. We photograph it, hoard, dream of it and journal it. But we know we cannot live it again. Not how it was to feel them at our breast in those few moments after they are born. Not how it felt to be close to collapse with total exhaustion and absolute joy  in the middle of the night. Not how it was.

So, blessed are we that human nature let’s us look forward to the child our baby is becoming. To the man he will one day be. To let us look forward to the next word, the first three legged race, the day he discovers a passion for Batman. And more than that, to understand that we exist to document all of these moments for our children to look back upon, and more than that even, to document them in such a way that our babies will look back and understand how much those moments meant to us, because those same babies were so absolutely loved.

The night before Finley was born, I couldn’t sleep. My legs were throbbing and my heart all a flutter with the the knowledge that the very next morning I would finally meet the child I had somehow known all my life. (I had a ceasarean) . At three o’clock in the morning, I  took a cool bath, drank hot chocolate and wrote Mark a letter, marking our last moments as just us. Then I wrote to Finley, a long meandering tired happy letter, telling him who I was, what I felt like that night, how loved he already was and what it felt like to be on the brink of  Motherhood. Then I tidied the living room, emptied the dishwasher and put Mark’s letter in the fridge and Finley’s into his treasure box, and finally went to lie down in the darkness and worry about epidural needles and never coming home again.

And so began a ritual I have come to treasure. Writing to my son. Each Christmas, Easter, and Birthday I have chosen a card, and sat down to tell my son how our life was as I saw it.  What he was like. Who he was becoming. How he makes his Mommy and Daddy feel. Our pride, joy and daily little sorrows. I write until I feel I have said all there is to say, then I put the letter inside the card, seal the envelope, wrap it in fine, pale blue ribbon and put it in Finn’s box, to remain there until he can read, until he is old enough to understand what I am saying to him and what total bliss I have found in knowing him…


  1. Kerry says:

    Alison … my big baby Cam turned 8 earlier this week. He, of course, was thrilled to be turning another year older (technically just another day but chronologically and for the purpose of statistics … another year!) but I was taken by surprise, as I am each and every time my boys celebrate such a milestone, by the huge range of emotions this stirs in me. I tried to find the words to express the way a mother feels … this 'watching from the sidelines' as you call it … but gave up trying.
    Thank you for finding the words.

  2. ms*robyn says:

    sounds to me like ms*Alison is feeling a little clucky !
    I cannot believe that all you did the night before your caesar was tidy up the living room & emptied the dishwasher ! I imagined you scrubbing furiously 🙂
    enjoy your little boy Alison and don't worry too much about him growing up, they have a tendency to do that and you have all the memories in your hear. Lovely post too !!

  3. Barbie says:

    This has brought back lovely images of when I had Rebecca and started a book of memories to give to her when she was 18. Unfortunately life took over and the book ended up in the loft only to be found again by Bex last week. She was thrilled and quit emotional when reading it but sad that I had not continued to jot things down. So keep up the memory chest Fin (and you and Mark) will love it when the time comes to go over all the lovely things that have happened while he was growing upx

  4. Savannah says:

    Well, dear, my baby turns 24 on Monday. Reading your post brought those hot little tears to my eyes and opened my mouth in a static little holding of breath, the way I do to escape sobbing. But I always maintained and still do that I don't ever really miss the years that were because as Gerred gets one year older, I just realize I could easily do with (this year) 24 little boys, one for each age he ever was. It gets better and better. Happy Birthday little Finley! and in many ways, Happy Birthday, Alison and Mark. Don't you feel you were somehow born that same moment, as well? Hugs!

  5. surcie says:

    What a beautiful post. My son turned 2 this summer and I still can't get over it. It's just like someone said–when you have children, the days are long and the years are short. I don't know where my baby went.

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