Almost 20 years ago, I wrote the following letter to my best friend. I was weeks away from delivering my first child.
19 December 1991
Here I sit, much too early in the morning, awake not because my child is hungry (as will be the case in a few short weeks,) but because he now takes up the room that my bladder used to occupy.
Sitting here eating my prenatally correct organic granola with 2% milk and prenatally incorrect coffee, I realize why, years ago, a girlfriend of mine asked me to assist her at the birth of her child. She asked me because she wanted me to share one of the most wonderful and awesome experiences she was ever going to have. I realize this, because although I am a bit scared about what is going to occur physically to me in the next 2-6 weeks, I am also extremely excited about it.
Of all the adventures and misadventures that we have shared, I wish that you would be able to be there with me when I deliver my first child. Not only for the support, but to have the memory of it in common. The memory of the birth that I attended is one of my most treasured possessions. I wish that I could give you such a present.
This is the last letter I will ever write, to you, before I become an official “MOM.” A piece of me is about to become my own mother. Well, worse transformations could occur, I guess. I only hope that I do not become too boring for words to my single friends. Please forgive me, upfront, for my upcoming interest in drool, baby poop, the price of diapers and “Sesame Street.”
If I was much into praying, I suppose I would now pray to be insightful and patient with my child. To not be naïve to signs of whatever will pass for drug abuse. To always make time for my child without overwhelming him and without denying my own needs. In short, to be the perfect parent. Dream on, dream on. OK, then I would pray for an understanding child who will understand and forgive the faults of his own parents and love them because they love him.
I already know that I am about to embark on a love affair with my child that will have no match in my own love life experience. I believe that the kind and amount of love that I am about to experience will dwarf what I have always thought of as the height of emotion.
I think this because I remember what kind of love I had for that child that I helped to deliver over ten years ago. And that child was not my own. What will I feel for this child that I have grown a body for in my own belly and will soon push out into the world?
Well, my dearest friend, I’ve not thought about the above before and I probably won’t have a second to think about it again for about twenty years. I set it in writing to you - perhaps so that you will remind me of it in the years to come. Perhaps only to tell it to someone who has known me so well. Perhaps because at least this part of the experience you CAN share with me.
I love you and wish you every wonderful wish possible for the coming New Year.