I bought you a stuffed animal today. I’ve started doing this nerdy thing that I think is driving your mother insane even though she won’t admit it. I buy you a gift from every place that I travel to. I know, I know…. You’re not even here yet. You, what you are to me is a small kick or punch I feel when I’m holding your mom. Whenever I see you, I don’t really see you. The doctor and your mom giggle and talk amongst each other: “do you see that leg there?” and I pretend I do, but I don’t. I think they caught on that I knew nothing of what I was talking about a few months ago when I asked if a round object on the ultrasound was your head, and the doctor rather politely and with very little judgement said “Umm, no, that’s actually just the placenta.” Well, damn.
And so why am I buying you gifts? You’ve got a snow globe from one of my favorite cities in the world.
Just yesterday I almost missed my connecting flight in Santiago as I rushed to buy you a stuffed animal in a Colo Colo soccer jersey.
While I can accept you being many things I might not expect or want you to be in this world, I simply can’t tolerate you cheering for La U de Chile or worse- La Catolica. You’ve got a bracelet made by a little girl I still think about from The Working Boys Center in Quito.
And there’s no small amount of pressure from Madre Cindy and Madre Miguel for you to return as a volunteer there. There are many places I would be reluctant to have you follow in my footsteps, but if your mom and I raise you into a man who sees the world through a lens that asks “How can I be for and with the marginalized in this world?” we will be quite happy.
In Tijuana, I didn’t need to worry. Your friends and loved ones there surprised Laura and I with an incredible baby shower.
I bought you an indigenous doll when I was in Peru. Many would say it’s a gift suited more for a baby girl. I say, to hell with gender norms. The world is changing so rapidly before our eyes and I want you to be raised in the best of the change, not the worst of it. You should feel free to be who you are and how you are, and I can’t wait to be challenged by you to live up to those words.
You’re born into a world that is interracial and interfaith. I was talking with Eboo Patel, one of my personal heroes.
He said something that’s stayed with me still, many months later: Your son will be delivered by nurses and doctors of different faiths and backgrounds then you. This is the world we live in, and you’ll find it everywhere in LA. I hope you adopt the passion for travel your mom and I share, but I also hope you realize travel doesn’t require far and expensive journeys. You’re in LA; cultures that are new and intriguing are just down the street. It’s why we will fight so hard to raise you in an urban setting.
The point is this: I really just can’t wait for you to come. We’re about a month away. You know it too. The other day we were touring the maternity ward (yes, that’s a real thing to do these days) and while we were sitting down, I watched what must have been your arm or leg (remember, I suck at identifying what’s what with you right now) appear in the corner of your mama’s tummy. And then, in true alien-like fashion, it dragged from one end of her stomach to another. Let’s be real: it was kinda freaky. It also engaged the 8 year old boy that will always be a part of my psyche as I all too loudly said “That’s (insert bad word you shouldn’t use) cool”, loud enough for other couples to turn, and embarrass your mom.
You’re almost here my man. I’ve traveled more miles in the last six months than I ever have in an equal period of time at any other point in my life. And exciting as that has been to visit so many countries and to watch so many bad movies on small, in-flight entertainment screens, the best journey of my life has taken place in a tiny, one-bedroom apartment, when I get to come home and talk with you, sing to you, and dance with you.
I buy you gifts because already you’re the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. And I can’t wait until you arrive, you start to grow up, and develop your own tastes, so that when I come back from work trips, I won’t be bringing gifts that allow me to live vicariously through you, I’ll be bringing you gifts that speak to who you are. OK, and maybe once in a while I’ll sneak in ones that still let me live vicariously through you. I’m thinking a Cubs jersey from my upcoming trip to Chicago–I hope you (and more importantly your mom) agree!
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