Last: A Letter

Dear Owen,

Tomorrow is my last full day in Portland.

It’s hard to say that my time here has been a wonderful one. I’ve missed my husband terribly and the stress has been hard for both of us. You haven’t met him yet, but I promise you’ll like him (and his ears, his ears are very fun). Overall, it’s been a really trying ten weeks. And it has been a COLD ten weeks; record snowfall in New England in the 2007-2008 season. You were born during a pretty nasty winter. I spent $40 on wool-blend non-itchy socks just to make it through. It’s been a rough and tumble few weeks.

But you! How wonderful you are. And how wonderful to be here when you were born. You don’t know this, but your mommy is a rock star. One day you may try to pass a peach pit out your urinary tract without drugs and you may understand Mama’s pain, but I doubt it. Ah, but how worth it you have been, Mama and Daddy both tell me so:

Now that you’ve hit the six-week mark, your little personality is starting to show through. No longer a floppy little blob, you have started to actually smile and occasionally grunt in what we believe to be approval. You aren’t an unhappy baby; far from it. You just aren’t always sure about this whole “life” business and your expressions vary from “fury at being evicted from the hot tub” to “are you SHITTING ME?” when presented with something new. Case in point below, your first experience with a rattle:

…and your “Taxi Driver” face that you make when you are gassy or just generally pissed that someone’s shaken up the rules or routine:

We are, in fact, talking to you.

Your mom and I call you “Angry Man!” or “Charming Guy!” depending on your mood. And oh, you are very charming. In fact, after vomiting a great big glurt of formula down the inside of my shirt, I changed and picked up your little projectile-goo shooting self again. You snuggled your head down into my neck and cooed and smiled, earning you a stay of execution. When you are angry, your expression is just so funny that we can’t help but like you. Your mama said the funniest face you ever made was right after you were born and placed on her chest: “He looked up at me with the most shocked expression I’ve ever seen, like ‘OH MY GOD WHAT THE F*** JUST HAPPENED?!” No crying, just…total and utter shock and alarm.”

You dislike changes, you do. You had a similar expression the first time I fed you with a bottle, having no idea that food could come from any other source than Mama’s Dairy Bar. You were willing to accept the change in labor sharing but your expression made it clear that we were to consult the contract before making any other unilateral changes. One day you may decide you want to negotiate contracts and regulations for a living. We think you have a flair for it.

You like your swing, and your sling, and like being active. Sometimes if you aren’t moving fast enough you cry–car trips are incredibly easy with you, but the transition into the car is not. You overheat very easily, so we don’t dress you in much and sometimes when you spit up a lot–more than three times in an hour–you lose your shirt privileges and we chant “Naked baby!” and raspberry your belly. Which is, it must be said, rather round. It is adorable, but not as cute as your little round cheeks and Elvis lips. You have Mama’s cheeks, Daddy’s eyebrows and Auntie’s lack of chin. Hopefully you’ll grow one, but I made it through okay without one. We think your eyes will be brown.

Owen, the next likely time that I see you will be in September 2009 when your parents tie the knot. You will be an entirely different human being then, and I won’t know you. You won’t know me, either, and though my first reaction will be to pick you up and drown you in affection, that will scare the shit out of your toddler self. So while that makes me incredibly sad–and if you go for your uncle’s ears instead of me, you can forget that 21st birthday party I would have thrown you–I understand more now about what it means to watch a newborn become a person. And when it’s my turn, I’ll understand more about how hard it is to let them go. So thanks, kid. You have been the best part. Now go puke on your mother, she hasn’t gotten her fair share of vomit yet.