Journal for Estella
My little star. I think about you daily. Your soft hair and your beautiful eyes plague my mind as I go through my days. My sweet baby girl—you are a mother’s dream.
Yesterday, I remembered the letters my mother, your grandmother, wrote for me while she was pregnant with me. I knew my mother loved me, but I couldn’t grasp how she could have so much love and adoration for someone who hadn’t even been born. Now, you’ve allowed me to understand. I can’t imagine loving anything more than I love you. I bought this journal to write to you, so one day you’ll understand how special you are to me.
I heard a song on the oldies radio today and I instantly imagined you. I can’t wait to meet you. Can’t wait to hold your little hands and watch you laugh for the first time. Most days I worry about when that’ll be. I don’t want to wait seven or ten years to meet you. I need the happiness you will bring now, little star. Listen to “Have You Ever Been In Love” by Celine Dion. It’s our song.
October 3, 2022
You are the life of our family. I like to think you’ll look like your dad. I imagine he has dark hair and dark eyes. He likes literature but only modern novels. Declan? Colin? Bartholomew…? We can’t all have good names.
I like Declan. Declan will say you’re his “Daddy’s Girl,” but you and I will both share a giggle when he says that because we know better.
You will complete me, sweet Estella James.
October 5, 2022
I told myself I wouldn’t write to you today, but I need you more than ever now. Today is my dad’s birthday. I always imagined you would call him “Papa” or “Poppy.” This will all probably be confusing for you, as you won’t have a grandpa from my side of the family. I promised myself I wouldn’t let you feel the type of hurt I felt, but I don’t know who else to turn to right now.
My mom says I should call him—wish him a “Happy Birthday,” but I can’t. He got rid of any love he had for me to make room for a new kid, new family. How can you love someone after they leave you? I will never leave you, my Stella. You are my shooting star.
Thank you for being my baby.
December 6, 2022
I’m worried about you. You come home from school and retreat to your room. I miss you, Tilly. I understand life is hard. I understand you miss your dad—don’t you think I do, too? Writing about the future can be therapeutic for some people, and help them realize that better times are ahead. I thought that’s what this was—you would feel better and then you would stop. This has turned into incessant harmful behavior towards yourself. You have let this fantasy hang over your life like a cloud, ready to rain on anything that could make you happy now.
You’re falling behind in school; you haven’t made plans with friends in over a month. Plato scratches at your door every night and you ignore him. Instead you focus on a person you do not know and will most likely never know.
I am your mother, and losing you this way makes me feel as though I have failed at that. I am sorry that you don’t like your life right now, but I want to remind you that this is your life, not those letters, not that child you have created in your mind. I am your family.
So, please, just come out of your room. Eat dinner with your family.
Art by Yi Shen Wei