This is our 100th post on this blog, and a most special one for us: We’re having a baby. I think there’s a playbook on how to do the reveal a bit more cute or creatively, but the excitement that has run laps around my head and heart these last few months leads me straight to the point: We’re having a baby.
In fashion fitting to a travel obsessed family, we found out hours before hopping on a flight to Italy. We had planned an epic trip. We jumped on a $285 fare that found us jetting over Thanksgiving to Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, and then onto… Japan. Say what? You read it right. It was epic. Cheap. And probably a bit stupid to do in the best of conditions, considering we were doing all this in the span of 10 days. And so 10 hours before we took off, what we suspected to be true was confirmed: We’re going to bring life into this world. A long flight was never so easy, for me at least, as I sat with a stupid grin on my face for hours and hours. Laura would have liked to grin, but found hormones and “morning sickness” (a misnomer if there ever was one since it hits whenever it damn well pleases) leading her to the bathroom.
When all is said and done, our child will have traveled to at least 9 countries, all before ever leaving the womb. For good measure, he or she will have visited at least 7 different states in the United States as well.
And that’s not just some cheesy fact, it’s the first of many moments in my life where I hope to say “I’m giving our child what I couldn’t have.” It’s a gift my parents passed on to me, providing opportunities to dream these crazy dreams that they couldn’t even have imagined in their childhood. And so it excites me to think that our baby has been to more countries in womb than I got to by the time I was 24 years old. Each generation builds on the one before it, and I can’t wait to see what awaits.
A Letter To My Son
Baby Furlong, you might have been only a few weeks old, but this I hope you know. Your mom and dad took you to all the sites in Rome. We sat in front of the Coliseum giggling and debating what we will call you once you come along. We were young lovers swept up amidst the joy that is imagining who and whose you will be in this world.
We found a quiet area in the crowded Vatican, and lifted up prayers of Thanksgiving for your pending arrival. We also cracked some questionable jokes with God, hoping you might get a bit of our edgy sense of humor. No freak storms or massive plane delays, so we’re going to read into that and say God’s with us on the humor.
In Budapest, the Parliament building and the Chain Bridge were sites to take in, no doubt. Hell, your mom seemed to think she was a ninja… That has nothing to do with the sites and sounds of Budapest, I’ve just been dying to post this photo.
But we also smiled at the most simple of sites we found wandering the city late one night, discoveries that days before would have meant nothing to us.
Whether you like it or not, who your mom and dad are guarantee a few things, one of which is this: You’ll probably live in a very urban area. And so aware of that, we took some time out of the frantic and electrifying pace of life that is Tokyo to visit the city gardens, and hopefully teach you a thing or two about nature, prayer, and taking time as a dear mentor Fred Kiesner would say- to go SOAR (Sit on a Rock) and discern about life… And if our liberal political views rub off on you, we also tried to use the gardens as a subtle reminder why being an environmentalist is a pretty damn good idea.
We took you to Amsterdam. We introduced you to Anne Frank, and tried to impart simple wisdom upon you: The power to be an agent of change has no age limit, and no action is too small of an action. Don’t believe us, talk to Vidal Chastanet whose kind words to Humans of New York about his principal inspiring him has had an impact beyond what anyone could ever have imagined.
Later, we walked around the beautiful canals of Amsterdam, wondering if you’re going to study abroad when you’re older, and where you might end up.
And then you were home. At least for two weeks before we jetted off again, this time to Hong Kong, South Africa and Qatar.
In Hong Kong, we introduced you to the best food we could find. We hope you get your mother’s refined palate and your father’s sense of adventure (and craving for spicy foods).
You saw a lot of cool stuff in South Africa. And while the safari is one for the books, I hope what you remember most was the time spent on an island, removed from everyday life in South Africa, where you glimpsed the horrible prison that a wonderful leader once had to call home. Again we prayed, may this child get a bit of the spirit that was Nelson Mandela as we left the prison.
In Doha, you saw the glitz and glamour of an almost completely manufactured world. But you also walked through streets just out of sight of the touristy part of town, overflowing with migrants with tired faces. You saw gold-plated injustice, manufactured happiness, and I hope you’ll learn that more can sometimes be less.
France awaits in early March. I’ll see what I can do about getting you some good cheese, but I fear we might have to settle for steak frites and indescribable croissants (your mother is observing the dos and don’ts of what to eat during pregnancy pretty religiously, though I did manage to sneak you a little bit of sushi in Japan- you’re welcome).
Soon, you’ll visit a place I hope years from now you will feel is a second home: Tijuana, Mexico. You’ve got friends who have been training me how to be a good dad to you for a few years now in this sacred community. If you look back on your childhood years from now, and decide I was a good dad, you’ll have many of them to thank. I’d just ask you wait to make that judgement on my parenting skills until after your teenage years.
The point is this: We can’t wait for you to arrive. We can’t wait to watch you grow into your own person, develop your own views. Sure, we’d love if you stay in step with our political views, pester us to travel to places new and old, near and far. I wouldn’t mind if you got your mom’s intelligence and good looks (in that order please), and my curiosity for stories and zest for art that is spoken and written. And we really hope you get our shared passion for justice, diversity, and spirituality. I hope the time you’ll spend in places like Homeboy Industries and El Florido in Tijuana will inspire you to walk alongside those in our society who are marginalized and all too readily outcast. But while so much is uncertain, one thing is not: You’ll do you, and whoever you become- gay or straight, introverted or extroverted, conservative or liberal, this or that, the end result will always be the same: We’re gonna love the heck out of you. How could we not?
We have a lot to learn. And we’re so ready for class to be in session. We’ll see you in late July, no need to rush, we’d like you as healthy and strong as you can possibly be.
Friends, we’d love to hear from you. What’s the best advice while traveling with children you’ve received? What are some cool names for a boy or girl that work well in English and Spanish?
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