memo to my son

December 2, 2008 at 6:35 am 5 comments

Fun with Pablo (l) and Levi (r)

Fun with Pablo (r) and Levi (l)

Pablito!

Imagine my delight, little hamster, when nurse Kim marched you into Levi’s chambers, bundled and warm like a baguette, and plunked you down next to your brother upon the forest of my chest. It was a long day, kiddo. Papa loves his work, but to be away from the magic of our little bubble, where the sun streams in and the medical experts tend you and teach us, where the coffee is free and my favorite little snack of graham crackers and peanut butter is on offer 24/7, and where you and your brothers lie snugly in your isolettes, offering your silken, smoldering bodies for afternoons and evenings of kangaroo, bordered on the unbearable.

Your mom was pooped – she’d been in hospital all day, distilling her love in alternating sessions of kangaroo and pumping, and when I arrived she directed me towards poor neglected Levi, who has thrived beyond the sphere of our worry. Levi had settled in good when you came in, he was well past a stretch of whispered grunt-babbles, and had just surmounted an absurdly dramatic bout of hiccups to descend into Dreamland. Kim cradled you in and gently lowered you to me, and I felt the balance of you two, your double strength warmth and weight, your swaddled magnificence. Satch was left out – probing the confines of his cage two doors down with bugeyed curiosity as he always does, his mom pumping yet again by his side. But we three, Pavlov – what a night we had. I wish we could tell you what it means to see you rolling ’round – coming back to health and breath, shaking the remnants of the occasional morphine drip that left you bleary and distant, unknowable if serene. There with you balanced on my left shoulder, staring ever so deeply into my eyes (though I know you cannot see them), with your younger brother nuzzling on my fur, thus far unaware of the colossal inferiority of this particular parental breast, I felt all junk drain from my works. I was just a simple papa, discovering with glee the capacity to adore more than one of you at once, and glorying in that simple, simple love that is communicated exclusively through touch.

Our lives will not always be so simple – they barely really are right now. But this gestational moment for our young family can be such bliss, such shelter from the windy world around us, that I find myself wanting to capture and pickle every moment of it, even as it starts to slip from our grasp. Hence this letter, Pabs, hence this blog. The doctors now say it is days, not weeks, before you boys move out of the NICU, across the hall to the “stepdown” domain of “continuing care.” We took a short tour of it tonight and it looks quite the same as the NICU so don’t be frightened little one. You’ll still have your isolette, and you’ll each have your own room. The rooms will have couches instead of recliners, and your folks will be encouraged to stay the night, to change even more of your diapers and take your temps and wipe the crusty dryness from your lips. But some day soon after that you’ll be coming home with us and this phase will end as a new and even more wonderful one begins. I am not afraid of what’s to come, I am eager for it. But already I have flashes of cherishing this instant on our journey so much that I am overcome with melancholy at its passing.

We are home now Pablo. Your mom and I left your pad and hit the Hannaford, did some shopping, and then came back to our almost empty apartment (Judy Johnson was waiting for us and hungry). Your poor exhausted mama could barely stand – and I wonder if any one of you will ever truly understand what it took for her to bring you into this world. She plunked on the bed and immediately read this sad, sad post on Triplet Connection, about a couple whose story we’ve been following. Cathi and Logan gave birth to Raiden, Ryker, and Gwyneth, only to watch each of them, one at a time, lose a hard-fought battle with prematurity. Tonight, as your mom read to me of poor Gwyn’s death, just days after she had gotten herself off of the same Billy Ruben lights that you and your brothers loved so well, I felt my breath leached out of me, a swift rock in my gut. My own tears joined your mom’s, and I think we each wanted to race back to our little cocoon, the NICU, where we have been lucky enough to find only joy, and embrace each one of you anew. Whatever happens, little man, we are lucky, and don’t let’s forget it, okay? Let’s always remember our good fortune, and always send our bountiful love to those less fortunate than we.

If I had you here with me now I’d sing you a song. Not mine, Randy Newman’s. A song I’ve long dreamed about singing to my son, and now I’ll soon have the chance. I’ve got to hit it Pabs, it’s late, it’s practically tomorrow. Mom will be up pumping soon, and she’ll need clean equipment to do her work. Let me just leave you with Randy’s last verse:

Maybe you don’t know how to walk, baby
Maybe you can’t talk none either
Maybe you never will, baby
But I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you

Love, your papa

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Entry filed under: letters, update. Tags: , , , .

Excuses excuses Graduation Day

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Squidocto  |  December 2, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Pickle every moment.

    Reply
  • 2. Becky  |  December 2, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    I hope you’re planning on writing a book with this as your notes are rivetting–a good read.

    Reply
  • 3. shnootre  |  December 3, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Thanks Becky – well, you never know…

    I’m a-picklin’ MS!

    Reply
  • 4. Doug & Sheila  |  December 3, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Oh my god–you’re doin’ us in over here, Dan! Thanks for bringing us all along so eloquently and personslly.

    Reply
  • 5. shnootre  |  December 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks D&S – sometimes the mood strikes, you know?

    (though I’d be wise to put some of this inspiration into songwriting, no??)

    x
    D

    Reply

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