Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Better Than A Birth Story - A Celebration of Our First Year

Dear Larkin,

I don’t know what the weather was like on the day you were born. I was laboring in a room without windows, and I had been there since late the night before. I assume the sun shined, I imagine birds sang. Given that it was September in Houston, I know that it was hot – the kind of heat that you can’t tolerate one second longer, if only because it’s been so hot for so very, very long.

I remember the drive to the hospital. I recall uncertainty; a reluctance to be excited, to anticipate your arrival, because I was unsure if this was just another false alarm. I remember the drive down Hwy 59, silent nervousness punctuated only by Daddy’s occasional chatter, as he fluctuated between insistence that this wasn’t it… and excitement that maybe it was. I zoned out, letting my eyes relax and the oncoming headlights cross into double vision as the street lights flew past the window. I watched absently at the familiar billboards and street signs, and wondered if today would be the day that everything would change. My hand rubbed across my belly as you rolled and tossed inside, poking out a foot, pushing your head, saying a physical hello.

We arrived at the hospital, where Daddy jumped out of the car, leaving all our bags inside. He returned to retrieve them, and then darted towards the lobby, leaving the car keys on the roof of the car. He swore he wasn’t nervous, but his actions betrayed him. My eyes dilated in the glare of the hospital lighting as I started my slow waddle to Labor and Delivery.

Once there, it was confirmed that your arrival was eminent.

There are no rainbows and unicorns in your birth story. But, oh! There were fireworks. My labor was a long, hard road of uncertainty punctuated by fear. But your arrival was an explosion of love and joy and amazement. The sight of you when the doctor held you over that sheet – I have no words. You were the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. You made everything okay. Everything. Past, present, future. Everything was made perfect, because it was the path that led to you.

365 days. 8,765 hours. 525,600 minutes.

I don’t know whether to say I can’t believe it’s been a whole year, or to say I can’t believe it’s only been a year.

I keep glancing sentimentally at the clock. A year ago right now, I think, my water had just broken. A year ago right now, we were talking to the doctor. A year ago right now, the nurse was taking measurements and vitals or the epidural was being administered.

A year ago, I didn’t even know who I was waiting for.

And that is the part that astounds me. I HADN’T MET YOU. I’ve only known you for a single year. You, who has become so crucial to my happiness... I only met you one year ago, today. And I still don’t know you, not fully. I don’t know who you are going to become, who you are going to be.

No one does.

Sometimes I wonder at your tiny hands, as I kiss the sweet dimples in your knuckles, and chew on your long chubby fingers to make you giggle. I imagine what those hands will build, what they’ll hold. Will they mold pottery or hold a paint brush; will they wrap around a sports ball or pound away at a keyboard? Will those squishy fingertips grow hard and callused from strumming a guitar or holding a hammer or gripping a surgeon’s scalpel? I wonder how old will you be before they reach out to brush a date’s hand in some movie theater, or get you in trouble passing a note in History class.

And those delicious Play-Doh feet! I dream of where they will guide you, what paths you will walk. Will you chase bad guys or walk the halls of some hallowed Ivy League building? Will you scale mountains in some exotic land or walk the deck of a great ship over a rolling ocean? I kiss the tiny shoeless feet that will one day lead someone you love across a dance floor, and down a wedding aisle, and through a delivery room for the birth of your own miracle.

Maybe you’ll love to read. Maybe our family will take literary-inspired trips together, go see hills like white elephants in Spain, skip stones in Walden Pond, watch Othello at the Globe, trade quips at a round table at the Algonquin. Maybe you’ll love sci fi and silly movies, and we’ll all frequent conventions and dress up and be nerdy together. Maybe you and Daddy will get lost in computer talk and video games, and I’ll have to roll my eyes until you start speaking a language I can understand again.

Maybe you’ll be a big brother; maybe it’ll just be the three of us.

But now you call for me, and I rush to you. Because the future is a beautiful dream full of hope and promise, but the present is the real gift. A soft, sweet babe, still needing his mommy. Still just my little boy, my tiny miracle. Whatever the future hold, little one, I can’t wait to meet you there. And I can’t wait to absorb every moment of the present.

I love you, child.

To the moon... and back,