Last Night, so I never forget
A few weeks old now, but —
Today, you turned 3 weeks old. Last night, your dad and I were on the couch, and he was holding you on his chest. You were wearing a little white onesie with long sleeves that were rolled twice on each arm so that your hands could be free like you like them to be. Your dad was wearing a white T shirt too. You lay in the crook of his shoulder and chest, where he loves to hold you. You were curled up and sleeping with your mouth open a bit. You were so content—your eyelids just shut and your tiny arm curled up underneath your head. You’ve slept like that since the day you were born and I don’t think I’ll ever forget the way it made me feel to first see you like that. And you didn’t have any pants on because your dad loves to let your skin breathe. He even loves to let you hang out without a diaper on! Because he can imagine how good it must feel to be totally free. He keeps you warm with his own skin or, in last night’s case, the three of us shared your blanket that we bought for you in Greece before we even knew you.
We’ve spent many nights on the couch together so far, Grace, but there was something about last night that made me weep. I watched your tiny back rise and fall as you breathed, your dad’s big hand petting your head and feathery light brown hair on the back of your neck. Your softest pink skin and sweet little face resting against him. Your hands—your perfect hands and tiny fingers in a fist by your face, just like you’ve always held them, even inside of me, like a little boxer. You curled up there in your deep, peaceful sleep, completely helpless and with what felt like full, blind trust in your dad and me. He kept telling me to look at how sweet you were, but I already was. I couldn’t look away. I lay on my own hand, just like you, completely arrested, and felt tears pooling there on the side of my face. I felt tired and ugly and so deeply, deeply, vulnerably in love. Ever since meeting you, Grace, love is a new word and a new world and a new paradigm. It runs deeper and longer and lives in the darkest corners of my soul. It’s not just laughter or sunshine or a good buzz or a great song or a good conversation. It’s bewildering and earth shattering and unconditional and heavy—not in a burdensome way but in a way that my life has taken on a weight that I’ll feel for the rest of my days. The weight of wanting to show you nothing but all of the greatest joys and wonders of what it means to be alive. To feel the sunshine and the buzzing and hear the songs and the good words. To feel safe and protected and warm and wrapped up in love every time you open your eyes or close them at night. The weight of knowing there will be minutes and moments and days where you are sad or scared. Where I will disappoint you. Where I won’t be able to soothe you, or where I won’t be able to help. Where your tiny heart will feel broken. This kind of love is thousands of layers deep. It’s complex and cannot be simplified or divided or pulled apart. It is a kind of happiness that makes my heart flutter and ache—like it truly might burst.
In this night, I was looking at the three of us from the outside, like someone viewing us as an illustration in a book or a scene inside of a snow globe. In our big dark house, but all within just a couple of feet of each other in the lamp-lit corner of the living room, piled together and breathing together and knowing we were the best team the world’s ever had. That the three of us chose each other and that there was no other way it could possibly have ever been written or built or designed. I felt like I had everything I could ever want or need, and I didn’t even know how we got there. I felt like I’d been reborn right along with you, Grace. Like one of my favorite songs. “This is the first day of my life. I swear I was born right in the doorway.” I just need you to know that you’re only three weeks old, but it took seconds of you being here to show me the biggest, most tender love I’ve ever known. The kind that will light me up for the rest of my life. You are love and light and wonder and you are my Grace.