dear nixon: volume 1

my darling little light—

Right around a year ago, you were the greatest secret I’d ever gotten to keep.

& now, here you are.

… this delightful little being who wears plaid, and exudes joy, and sometimes smiles so hard that his shoulders instinctively come up to get in on the action—
almost like they’re worried that the sheer force of your delight is going to make your fuzzy little head fall off.

You, tiny sir, are a total trip.

It’s amazing to me that, even all the way a year ago, you were already interwoven with all the strands of magic that would make you a Nixon.

You were like the size of an M&M, but there were already all the makings of your squishy cheeks and daddy’s eyes;
the strands that would make you incredibly delighted by your own farts;
the strands that would give you the little freckle on your toe, and your crop of tiny-fluff hair;
there was even the strand that would make you really super-hate hats.

Bro, you have SO MANY cute hats.

And you hate all of them.

You hate all of them SO MUCH.

You hate them to the point that you actually try to RUN AWAY from them WHILE THEY ARE ON YOUR PERSON.

You still allow hoodies, though, thank everything.
You probably wouldn’t actually be ours if you couldn’t hang with a hoodie.

So far, in the four months you’ve been here, I have taken approximately 70-frillion pictures of you sleeping.
Because, dude, you are ridiculously precious when you’re all crashed out.

Sleeping you is this beautiful mess of squished-up cheeks, and little puckered-up lips, and your hands all folded up under your chin, and I can’t get enough.

Right when you fall back asleep after a mid(dle of the)night snack, there’s this little sleepy-pleased face that you make & I will literally just sit there and wait for it, every time.
No matter how dead-tired I am, I’ll sit there in bed, like a total creeper, staring down at you in my arms and waiting for that moment.

See, someday, darling light, we won’t have our 2-a.m. hang-outs anymore.

You won’t just be a few feet away, dreaming in your little taco bed, and that little sleepy-pleased face I love so much will go from “present” tense to “past precious” tense.
It’ll be one of those fantastic life bookmarks I’ll tuck away in this early chapter of you and I.

And so, for now, while the sleepy face is here & available for the viewing—
I’m taking in every single one that I can.

Toward the end of my maternity leave last month, you fell into a fairly predictable-ish nap schedule and, right after your late-afternoon boob snack, you’d curl up on my chest & have yourself a nice little milk coma.

This was always your longest nap of the day, and initially, I felt pulled a thousand different guilty ways about it.
I couldn’t just let this glorious, at-least-an-hour-long stretch go un-used, could I?
I could-be-should-be doing the dishes, or stuffing diapers, or dust mopping, or throwing in a load of tiny onesies, or DOING ALL THE THINGS

But then I’d remember the promise I made to myself at the beginning of my maternity leave.
A plaid-jammie-pinky-swear that I would govern the entirety of those 12 precious weeks with you by asking myself, “Am I going to regret that I didn’t do more of this when I go back to work?

And if the answer to that wasn’t a resounding, “OH HELLL YES I WILL,” it didn’t happen.

As it turned out, my entire life did not, in fact, fall apart and burst into flames because I let things go an extra day or two.


I don’t look back on my leave and feel even a little bad that I let dishes pile up in the sink, or laundry spill out of the hamper, or that I let go of a thousand other little household things that felt SO pressing & huge.

At the time, oh my god was it tweaking me out to see the fine layer of dust coating the DVR, and the tiny fur-tumbleweeds collecting around the furniture, and to know that the yard was, like, 85% dog poop and 15% mud—
but I absolutely don’t regret that I chose you over them.

I don’t regret a single second of those late-afternoon, late-in-my-leave naps when I did nothing but snuggle you.
Or a moment of the multiple mornings when we were in bed until lunch.
Or the days when I was still in pajamas at dinnertime.
Or the 600 times we’d go to Target and Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx in the middle of the day, just for the sake of being out AROUND PEOPLE and in somewhere that was NOT THE HOUSE.

It was a really big deal for me to put cleaning & organizing & keeping up with—if not keeping ahead of—life in the backseat for a change, and this realization is one I’m keeping with me as we navigate the next thousand years together.

Today, tomorrow, and day after day:
Am I going to regret that I didn’t do more of this?

And if the answer to that isn’t a resounding, “OH HELLL YES I WILL,” some serious reconsidering is going down.

Hands down, the hardest part of this first four months was the first morning I dropped you off at daycare.

What if you were sad?
What if you missed me?
What if you thought I left you there forever and wasn’t ever coming back?

What if you forgot about me?

That first morning, I snuggled you goodbye, slowly shut the screen door behind me, and proceeded to bawl in the very nice daycare lady’s front yard.

Like, we’re talking full-on ugly crying, complete with those really, really weird noises that sound like someone is kicking your soul in the tights.


When I made it to the car, I called your daddy, and I wailed about how it felt like I was giving you away; like we’d just gotten to borrow you for the past three months and now our time was up, and WHAT DO I EVEN DO I MISS HIM ALREADDDDDDDYYYYYY

That first day was the longest you & I had ever been apart since the day we met, and my heart twisted in on itself every time I thought about you.

Blessedly, I have the most incredible, caring and uplifting tribe & they all reached out to love me up.
Your daddy, of course, because he’s incredible.
Your aunt Naomi, who left a message on my voicemail that showed up like the best kind of magic, right as I was parking at work on my first day back;
Kate and Alice, who left us dinner AND A TINY PIE on the front porch that first night;
and all my amazing mama-friends who messaged words of encouragement and texted just to see how things were going, who commiserated and sympathized and reminded me that, at the end of the day, it was all going to be all right.

It also doesn’t hurt that your tiny daycare BFFs think you’re the greatest thing to ever exist, and I know you’re getting no shortage of loves while I’m gone.


Like, that is tiny daycare homegirl’s precious baby Ariel, and her favorite blanket, and SHE NEEDED YOU TO HAVE THEM.
She came rushing over, all, CAN NIXON HAS THESE, and then the tucked you all in, and stood back to survey her work, and my heart splooshed around a bit.

It still sucks to say goodbye to you every morning, even for as much as I love our daycare lady & know you’re being taken care of beautifully—
but now I get to be part of the tribe that encourages and comforts the other new mamas crossing into this brand-new territory, too.
I get to be a voice that can say, I’ve been there, too, sweet girl, and I promise it’s all going to be all right.

I never thought that my absolute most favorite parts of being your mama would happen in the smallest, most seemingly unremarkable of moments.

Like when I see the face you make when we go to unbuckle you from your car seat.

The way your little hand reaches up to rest against my chest when you’re nursing.

Hearing your daddy talk to you.

How sometimes, you literally get so happy that you fall over.

I love the too-early Saturday mornings when you wake up for first breakfast, then fall back asleep against my chest;
when the entire world is still, save for your sweet little breaths.

You are 80% sunshine, 20% cheeks, and absolutely the most fantastic little human I’ve ever met in my entire life.

I knew I’d love you some ferocious sort of fierce,
but I never knew how HONORED I’d feel that you chose me to be yours.

Of all the wonderful things I’ve gotten to to do in this life so far, being a mama—
your mama—
is the absolute greatest privilege of all.

I love you, love you, love you, sweet boy.
Happy 1/3 of your very first trip around the sun.



About ashley!

in love, obnoxiously happy, and up to a lot of awesome.
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5 Responses to dear nixon: volume 1

  1. Ginny Olson says:

    I cried when I read about your first day apart. I didn’t return to the classroom after my two children were born so Inhavent had that experience but I watched as my daughter had to return following her leave and my heart seriously broke for her…and for you. Writing has always been an outlet to release my emotions and I feel that it is the same for you. It will never be about the quantity of time you two have…it is the quality of time. Sit back and treasure every second you have to snuggle, admire and just pour your love into that precious gift from God. Bless you!

    • ashley! says:

      YES. Writing has always been the same for me; a giant, blank canvas where I can pin up all my thoughts in one place and somehow, no matter how messy and tangled it all might come out, it makes sense at the end ❤
      Thanks so much for coming by!

  2. emily fardoux says:

    Dear Nixon –
    I envy your future self getting to read all these letters from your wonderful Mama, she of the glittering keyboard and magic words; you’re gonna ugly cry to learn of these memories she’s saving for you. She’s making the most wonderful scrapbook of moments, with you at the center, and what a bright little center you are!
    Happy 1/4 year, little guy.
    Love, One of your Mama’s Internet Friends, Who’s So Glad For These Letters, and So Glad for You.

    • ashley! says:

      Thank you for this magnificence; it’s like you gave me a hug, but it was made of words, and they all hugged me AND brought cupcakes.
      Adore you, darling. Thank you, thank you, thank you ❤

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