I promised myself I’d finally get Paul’s birth story written in time for his first birthday.
This is not that story.
There are a few reasons why, but only one that really matters – I’m still not ready. I’m really not even ready to read the notes I took during that first week in the NICU. I may write it someday…I may not. No, I probably will…when it’s time. Probably. Maybe. Whatever.
I found this letter I wrote to Paul on the morning of his birth. It seems fitting to share it today, a metaphor for becoming a parent I suppose. In an instant, my fear of my own death was obliterated by the knowledge I could loose my child. A year later, it looks like you’re stuck with both of us for quite a while longer. And so…a letter:
Today is the day. Looks like we already have to come in and rescue you. You have your Dad’s sense of direction. That will be a problem when it comes time for you to get a driver’s license. Maybe you should just plan to stay in areas with mass transportation.
So they tell me there’s nothing to be worried about today, that people do this all the time, that my recovery time might even be faster than if we did this the traditional way. But just in case…
Ya see kid, your Mom has a tendency to get all creative with this medical stuff. I think maybe this body just wasn’t meant to live very long. I mean, medical advances are something of which I certainly take advantage. Cancer should have taken me at 31. Now, technically, a hundred years ago I would have died in pregnancy. But again, thanks to modern science, you and I are going to have plenty of time to get to know each other.
Again though, just because I have my mother’s ability to fret and my dad’s need to plan, I have to consider the possibility that things could happen. And if they do, I just don’t want you to feel any guilt. It’ll just mean I ran out of chances to cheat death. Things will just have finally caught up to me. But I will still count myself lucky to have lived long enough to h ave you. You’ll keep our family whole if I’m gone. You’ll heal them. And in turn, they’ll heal you.
Your dad is so in love with you already. Everyone is, really. Your grandmother is already dressed and itching to get to the hospital. When she isn’t complaining about our coffeemaker, she’s talking about how excited she is to meet you. Your granddad isn’t saying much, but you’ll soon learn that’s just his way. But he’s been up since 5am, so I think he’s pretty excited, too.
But your dad… He sits in your room and looks at your clothes and arranges the toys. He has trouble sleeping. He whispers to you in my belly incessantly. He is going to shower you with love. Be kind to him. If something does happen to me, you will be his whole world. Don’t shut him out. He’s more fragile than you realize He’ll try to be strong for you and end up breaking himself, so try and keep an eye on him.
And don’t forget your three wonderful uncles. They so want to be a part of your life. They have a lot to teach you, all of them. Thom can teach you about loyalty. Mike will teach you about honor and family. Drew will teach you kindness and worth ethic. They will all teach you love – for they are so very filled with it.
I guess if could only teach you one thing, I’d want it to be the importance of laughing. I think it’s the single most important skill you can have. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at defeat. Laugh at obstacles. Laugh at fear. Just laugh. Hope lives in laughter. So does courage. Peace, too. It even physically heals you when you’re sick. If you can find the joy and humor in any situation, there’s nothing you can’t do, my love. I can’t wait to hear your first laugh.
I love you, kiddo. Welcome to the world.
P.S. – I uked. I just didn’t manage to get it edited in time to post. But it’s here now. So pour a glass of something MFBT appropriate, and give a watch/listen. Or don’t. I’m halfway through my first glass so I really don’t care what you do. Unless you’re clubbing kittens. Then stop it. Fucker.