Thursday, November 26, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Much like housecleaning, paperwork, and "To Do" lists, chronicling my parenting experiences has me feeling like I'm constantly playing catch up while simultaneously entertaining the illusion that one day I actually will. Today will not be that day. I am quickly learning that any plans I may write for my near future must first pass over the desk of my new editor in chief. She is a benevolent leader, albeit demanding and unpredictable, and she has taken the helm of our little enterprise with unabashed authority. Amari is now what happens while I'm making plans. Today, as she sleeps peacefully between feedings, I am writing this for her.

Dear Amari,

Happy Thanksgiving, little turkey, and Happy Three Week Birthday. For your dear, old dad, this day has evolved from a once detested holiday into one that, when stripped of its origins and traditional gluttony, has become a personal favorite. When I was a kid, holidays were a time of year when your grandparents tried - for the sake of us children - to harmoniously join their once concentric circles of friends and family. Drinking began mercifully early but ended painfully late, and things were always friendly right up to the point when they weren't. There was inevitably some sort of cooking disaster - like your grandfather trying to roast a turkey on a plastic tray - and invariably a dramatic finale that resulted in loud, drunken arguments and at least one person being removed from the next holiday's guest list. And those were the good years. When your grandmother was in India, as she often was, your grandfather would drag us to someone else's similarly disastrous and compulsory attempt at seasonal social courtesy. And sometimes it was your grandfather who was removed from future guest lists. Good times. Good times.

As I grew older, perhaps wiser, and definitely farther away from home, my holiday experience changed. I drew a circle of my own friends that fast became my family - your family. Thanksgiving became a day of gratitude, of joining with people I had found along this strange and mysterious way, and of appreciating what I have. During dinner we would take turns sharing something in our lives that we were thankful for, and by the end it felt as though our gratitude had multiplied. In this spirit, I would like to share with you a few things I am grateful for in my new experience as your dad:

1. Seven hours of sleep last night: without it, I probably wouldn't feel for anything. You actually slept for four solid hours, three of them stretched across my chest as I lay on the couch downstairs. I love that it's one of your favorite places to sleep, and I love that it has become an evening ritual. It's also really great that we love all the same late night sports shows.

2. Carrie: without her, you would not be possible. She has been incredibly patient with you, with herself, and with me. Not a day goes by that I don't catch myself looking at her with a new and deepening admiration. There is a depth to mothering that I can only appreciate as a witness. I hope you're as patient with us as your mother has been with you.

3. You, Amari: for without you this blog would be dull, non-existent, or all about my growing resentment/unshakable faith as an aging San Francisco Giants fan. The Giants are the new Red Sox, but you, my dear, are the new everything.

4. Granny C:
she has provided us with a home, a sense of family, and a large (sometimes much too large) community of animals for you to play with. Although I tease her somewhere between often and all the time, I love and appreciate her just as much.

5. Friends, Family, and Community:
for supporting me through the most challenging and now the most joyous of times. I have no doubt that I have the best village of all to help raise you.

So there you have it, chief. I'm back at the computer because you are sleeping on a pillow shaped like my belly, which is most pillows. Today was another good day - your tears are less frightening now that we know they generally mean one of five things, and although the volume and pitch of your screams indicate otherwise, none of them are life-threatening. The other day Granny C asked me, "Is Amari being fussy again?" to which I defensively responded, "No! She's communicating." How can a three week old be fussy? If you could talk, I know you would. And when you start, I have a feeling you won't stop, and you'll be just as quick to ask for what you need.

So goodnight, Amari. Thank you for being here this year, and thank you for choosing us to be your parents. I now look forward to every day with a new enthusiasm and a revived curiosity. Who knows - maybe next Thanksgiving you'll actually be old enough to fuss just a little. See you when you open your eyes.

Lots and lots of love,
Assistant to the Editor (and to your mom)

1 comment:

  1. I love your gratitude list!! Especially for the fact that Amari will have these posts to read during many stages of her life. Your gratitude towards Carrie is beautiful!
    I hope I get to do this parenting thing again--and with a partner this time!