Dear Atticus, on your dad

North Cape

Dear Atticus,

We had a doctor’s appointment again today. I had planned to tell you about it, but it turns out there’s not much to tell. We were in and out in under 30 minutes. You are measuring exactly as you should, and your heartbeat is still sounding very good. The one thing that I have noticed is that you get a little fussy when the midwives try to take your heartbeat. I don’t know if that’s what most babies do, or if it’s an indication that you really are a feisty fellow.

Your dad and I talked about that after the appointment is over, whether you are going to be a little bit of a crankypants. Like your mom. I tend to hope that you will be a little bit more easygoing, like your dad. Have you been paying attention to the letters he’s written you? They have really been about just one thing: how he wants things to be different for you than they were for him. He wants to be involved with your life, to teach you the things he missed out on. Your dad knows what it means to reinvent yourself, to change the direction of your life. We want you to know that we support you, and I knew that same support when I was growing up. Your dad, though, has had to step bravely into the unknown to get the things that he wanted. One day he will tell you about the things he has had to overcome to get where he is. From him, I have learned a lot about what courage really means. He has also taught me about hard work, passion, and calling. You will see, someday, how good he is at his job and how well he cares for his students. He expresses himself calmly but firmly, something I have yet to master. He is patient and kind, but he has learned how to stand up for the things he believes in. That’s not to say he’s perfect, because no one is. He tells jokes at inappropriate times, ruins the punchline of stories by telling them wrong, and forgets things even when they are written on the grocery list. Rather than being defeated by his imperfections, he takes the opportunity to improve himself and to receive grace. Which means, of course, that he is generous with grace and forgiveness when it comes to my own many imperfections.

Your dad has taken good care of the both of us since the day in April that we knew for sure you were coming. He has gotten me the things I need to be more comfortable and to feel better. He has helped set up your room and make decisions about who will take care of you when I go back to work. He has bought books and music, planning how best to raise you to appreciate the arts. He even came with me to the breastfeeding class, where he was the only man. He’s excited and ready to meet you when you get here in a few weeks. Being with your dad has made me a better person in so many ways. He listens to me and sympathizes with me, but he tells me when I am on the wrong path. I know he will do the same for you. I could spend pages and pages of words on him, but I guess all that you really need to know is that being with him has made me brave enough to welcome you into our lives. We are lucky to have him, you and I.


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