My darling Xiou Xiou,
This morning as I was working out on the elliptical machine at East Shore Athletic Club, I was listening to “It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)” by Arcade Fire. It’s a pop-rock song driven by syncopated synthesizer, heart-rate drum beats, and dreamy production. One of my favorite songs, actually.
For some reason, it made me start thinking about you inside my belly. You are an entire universe and you don’t even know it. I was wondering about what you might see as you begin to open your eyes for the first time. We are at 28 weeks into this journey, and the experts say this is when that happens. I’m sure it’s mostly darkness and blurry, but the fact that you are opening your eyes inside my belly blows my mind.
Eva, I want you to always know and never question that I wanted you, and I love you. My dream of you started when I was 22 years old, when my father died, and I was thrust into the brutal reality of life. This reality, my baby, is that this life is finite. It will end. Everything and everyone you love will disappear forever. And that makes each spark of a moment invaluably precious.
Your eternity is something that I cannot believe I was blessed to be a part of. You are my link to infinity, and I am yours. As you knock around inside my womb, you have no idea that just 8 months ago, you did not exist. And it won’t ever matter again, because now you do, and here’s what I want for you.
I want you to thrive. I want you to embrace the wildness of this world with never-satiated hunger and desire. I want you to be in awe of how miraculous it is that you came to be alive, and that one day you will die. I want you to realize your power because my darling, you are a powerful creation. But I want you to be – always – at once completely humbled by your power, while also willing to step out of your own way in order to utilize it with mastery in order to improve the lives of the people around you – as well as your own. I want you to honor the gift of your life by allowing your force field to bend everything around you. I want you to strive for success, and I want you to fail and get right back up to try again. I want you to be fulfilled and find deep gratitude in the world you create for yourself.
You are such a gift in my life. You are one of my dreams that has finally materialized and I cannot find the words to describe how vast the scope of my gratitude truly is. But I can say that this pregnancy has been the closest I can get to a spiritual experience, and I feel transcendent. Every decision I have made since I was 22 has been in an effort to make you real. You are my sweet, darling girl, and I cannot wait to meet you.
The time of my pregnancy with you has been a time of great learning for me. For instance, tonight I learned why I only spend my time and energy on superficial or happy commodities and entertainment. My darling girl, I just learned that I have lost too much already, and I don’t need to exercise my losing muscles for future devastation. I’ve been lost for so much of my life that I will never need practice on how to survive it again. That is one thing I excel at now.
Instead, I seek things that make me laugh, or make me feel like I’m in the presence of something beautiful.
Just those two things, Eva. Beauty and laughter. That’s what I am going to teach you. I am going to raise you to be beautiful and to have a sense of humor. I am going to make sure you grasp, very firmly and with complete certainty, the wildness and the joyfulness of this life. You are going to have a happy childhood, my darling. You are going to learn to be a happy, courageous, and resilient person.
I feel you all day and all night now. I call you wiggle worm. You kick and punch in rapid fire succession. You flip over and root around. You get the hiccups. You are adorable. And I love you.
The baby is like a grapefruit sized knot stuck on top of my intestines. I’m not feeling her kick yet, but the ultrasounds show her in there moving, punching, flipping over constantly. The days where I could go hours and forget I am pregnant are over, and I can no longer fit into my clothes. Mostly, I feel frustrated that I can’t do any of the things I most enjoy – running in the heat of the summer evenings, sun bathing at the beach, enjoying a glass of whiskey and watching the sunset from my front porch & generally subjecting my body to extreme conditions that make me feel alive, free of age, and closer to my youth.
Otherwise, alternating waves of euphoric love and transcendent gratitude capsize my heart, sending it into a deep blue abyss that feels like the safety of eternity. What a beautiful way to bring a dream to life. My baby girl, my oldest and hardest fought dream, is finally here, safe and sound in my belly.
12 years ago today, my father passed away. It’s so weird how significant calendar dates still stir up the same state of mourning.
I was 24, he was 49. It shouldn’t have happened.
I miss him, and feel his loss every day. But I also feel his legacy in many of my thoughts throughout each day.
Dad, if you are out there somewhere, thank you for being such a good daddy. I will always miss you.
Love, innocence, laughter. Where have you gone? If I were to look for you in the sunset, golden, shimmering, would you appear to me? Bony knees against my hardwood floor, morning after morning I have prayed for your quiet return. But you have not. I beg of you, please tell me this is not what living longer is going to be. I cannot bear it without you. Please come back to me.
Remember the other day when I told you that I would give anything to go back in time to when the only thing that mattered to me was to lie next to you in bed, and hold you in my arms? Well, I’ve been thinking. I was wrong. That is still the only thing that really, really matters to me.
My darling. My sweet love. I have known you a while. There have been years between us, months on end in which we lived on different continents, and long periods of estrangement. But, even after all of the hard things that we have said and done to one another – sometimes on purpose, but most times, by accident – even with all of that. It is still February 2009 in my heart. It is still exactly like it was 5 years ago, when I would give every moment of my long, undefined future, just to hold you one more second.
You are my darling, sweet love. You are the one who makes me want to be better, kinder, stronger, more generous, more gracious, less afraid, more alive, and more grateful.
I love you. You are so very beautiful to me.