While it was announced widely on Facebook and via text message to those closest to our family, I opted to bypass such news on Twitter, LinkedIn, or my other social network pages due to their public or professional natures. I will grant you that, yes, this blog is extremely public, but it is on my terms that I share this news.
Matt and I are expecting our first child. No, it was not part of the grand plan as we had it, but children have always been a joy in my life. I expect our own children will be the same in both of ours. With this happy announcement, I offer you this letter.
Nine months seems like such a long time before I will meet you. More than thirty-six weeks feels like ages until I hear you laugh or cry. It will be too long before I smell your hair, or feel your heart beat, or count your fingers and toes, but know that your father and I await you with great joy and with the anxiety of new parents.
As our first child, I can promise a life of serious growth and learning – both for you and for your mom and dad. It is one thing to read or hear stories about childbirth or child rearing, but opening that box to experience it ourselves is an entirely different thing. Every pregnancy is different, they say. Every child is unique, I have read. That means that you are going to be a trailblazer for children everywhere, even if you choose to follow the norms.
Feel free to be different.
The world you are joining can be many things. It can be bright, sunny, and full of hope. It can also be dark and full of sorrow. I cannot promise to shield you from all things sad, scary, disheartening, or hurtful. What I can promise is that you will never have to survive these things alone. There are some hurts you will have to experience, and others you can learn from someone else’s story, but you will never walk your path without a hand to hold or a gentle nudge to guide.
Every person is different. It is with this in mind that I feel the need to begin reminding you now: I will love you no matter what. You are perfect as you are, even in your current state. As you grow, as you learn, and as you establish yourself as a person, know that you are accepted, loved, and supported in every way possible and by more people than you can count.
You have more aunts and uncles than you will ever know what to do with.
I have as many hopes for you as I do promises to give you. I hope you will enjoy some of the same things as your father and me. I hope you will introduce us to some things new. I hope you will value the feeling of volunteering, and I hope you cherish the empathy inherent in humans as opposed to stifling it. There is as much happiness as sadness in sharing someone else’s feelings.
I hope you do well in school. I will offer this fact now to make arguing about your grades easier later: I was an awful student until I had to pay for the knowledge. You might win the but-you-did-awful-in-school-and-are-successful-now argument with me, but not with your father. He excelled at learning and at setting standards. Keep your grades up; I promise it will be worth it, even if it seems tedious at the time.
I hope you experience all you can. There are some things that cannot be taught in the classroom and some lessons that can only be learned through doing. I will never have all the answers, but I have experienced many things. Where your father was a scholar, I was outside until well after dark, with groups of friends both good and bad, and learning in as many ways as I could. Do not be afraid to scrape your knees, get dirty, or ruin your new shoes.
I have been there; the experience was worth it in the long run, especially after your grandmother was done scolding me.
Your dad and I are not always of the same mind with things, but regardless of where we might need to discuss something, or compromise, we will make the best decision possible on your behalf. We want what is best for you and will do all we can to make it happen, even if we have to use trial and error to get there a time or two.
Boy. Girl. Straight. Gay. Tall. Short. Scholar. Athlete. Maybe you will play an instrument or be a martial arts champion. Maybe you will love video games or want to be a soldier. Nothing matters except that you are who you wish to be and that you will always have the complete, unwavering, unquestioning support of your mom and dad.
We might need some convincing at times, but that is part of growing up as a family.
Nine months is a long time to bond without talking, or hugging, or laughing. Every day is one closer to the moment you take your first breath or look into my eyes. Listen to my heartbeat as you grow and feel the joy I feel when I think of you. Know that you are wanted more than anything in this world, even if you were unexpected. I have loved you for all my life, even before you existed outside of my dreams.
Your mom and dad are very excited to meet you, but there are many more people awaiting your arrival than I can count.
Until I see your face,
P.S. If there is more than one of you in there, multiply this letter as often as necessary.