The tired October sun is rising, fighting in vain against the frost gathered on yellowed leaves and old roof shingles. There is the customary stillness to this Saturday, long a critical part of my inner peace. You, one week old, sleeping so soundly. The pups, Zipper and Salvador, are gathered at my feet, still clinging, drowsy and unsure about your sudden arrival into our lives. Your Papa is asleep as well, his familiar form an anchor for us all.
You turned 1 week old in the young hours of today. And I, your father, am worried.
You will realize over the years to come that your father worries a lot. If you are eating well, sleeping well, breathing well. If this cry means stop, or if it means more. Are you getting enough sunlight. Enough vitamins. Enough time to yourself. I will worry about reading you too few books, about dancing with you too few times. Do you have sufficient wonder in your life? Magic? Math and art and nature? Have we shown you a good portion of the world outside your door that it makes you want to conquer it all? Will you be safe when you venture out? Will you come home?
I will worry about many things, dear daughter, and I know I cannot promise to shield you from my struggle, but I hope you grow to know that it is my pattern, not yours.
Today I worry about that most delicate and trecherous of things: memory.
You arrived into our lives in a rush, a great swell of activity hurried to fill the long gap of our waiting. And then, here you were, and we bend our knees and our habits to you, to protect you and serve you and all things that good guardians do. And we love it, having the hearts of guardians. Our ways change and our days blur together as we struggle to understand the 'you' of it all, and how our lives could shape to your fortune.
Yet in all that, I worry that we will not record your story, and that through the days, months, years of joy and change, that story will become faded, mutated or lost. I am not a man foolish enough to believe that a story is sancrosanct, immutable against the tide of time. I feel a duty, though, to capture what I can, so that we may hold up the 'what was' of today and the 'what was' of tomorrow, and marvel at the images made where they overlap and where they diverge.
It is a daunting idea, to try to capture the details of the moments leading up to your birth, the hour you came into our care, the first week we spent as family. It is daunting enough to give me pause on even attempting it (another struggle of mine that you may become keenly impressed by). But I owe it to you, and to myself, to push against my nature of apprehension. To gather more momentos. To take more pictures. And to write to you, as imperfect as it may turn out to be.
It was windy when we traveled north to Moorhead; your mother was in labor, the sun moved in and out from the low-hanging gray clouds that would occasionally drop the faintest of snow on us. We feared missing your delivery, though we arrived at the hospital 8 hours before you finally made your appearance. It was autumn in the truest fashion, and trees bearing both green and orange leaves, and those of the delicate spectrum in between, will forever remind me of our journey to you.
Out Here in the Rain
- To my daughter on the eighth day