Monthly Mara Letter: Month One

Dear Mara,

You turned one-month-old today. The story of your birth is almost laughable, and we’ll tell you about it in more detail when you’re a bit older. Just know that if we’d waited a few minutes longer before heading to the hospital a month ago, I would’ve had to deliver you myself.

After your mom and I took some leisurely walks throughout the day, and your mom endured some contractions throughout, we (meaning your mom) decided it was time to head to the hospital at about 12:15 a.m. We were officially checked in at 12:37 a.m. and you were born at 1:06 a.m. You weighed in at 7 lbs. and 9.5 oz. and measured exactly 20-inches.

You were born on your due date; very early on your due date at that. This gives me hope that you’ll be punctual throughout your life.

Your mom and I decided with both you and your sister that we didn’t want to know the gender of either of you until you were born. The two nurses and the labor technician at the hospital thought that this was so cool. Rare is it these days for a family to leave the gender of their baby to surprise. Your mom and I are just crazy and laid back like this.

There are a couple things that I’ve found admirable and worth noting from your immediate entrance into our world. The first is that you have been very calm and laid back. I’m not going to name names, but your sister, Maly, cried a lot and didn’t sleep much. We didn’t know any different seeing how she was our first and only child. You sleep a lot and rarely cry or fuss. You do cry in typical baby form, but really it’s only because of your inherent newborn needs, such as needing your diaper changed or you’re hungry. Maybe it’s because your mom and I kind of know what we’re doing now, but either way, you’ve been a very pleasant and happy baby.

The other noteworthy event from your emergence was when the doctor set you atop your mother’s stomach after you were born, the first thing you did was pooped all over your mom. I don’t know if it was because our world scared it out of you, or you were just so happy, comfortable and relieved to finally be here with us. I’m leaning toward the latter. Either way, it was pretty awesome. And when your mom wasn’t looking, I gave you a little baby high-five!

Thankfully we’ve all been blessed with your good health. You checked out just fine when your mom and I left the hospital. You’ve also checked out just fine at your first two visits to the pediatrician. During your third week, you came down with a pretty heavy duty case of baby acne. Just to be on the safe side, your mom scheduled another appointment with the pediatrician where we found that you not only have baby acne, but also eczema. So you’re adorably cute in a blotchy kind of way. The doctor has recommended that your mom avoid dairy, so we’re hoping that’ll help clear you up. Since you seem to be happy and not in any kind of pain or discomfort, we hope you’re feeling okay. You don’t seem to mind the eczema, but just know that we’re on top of it.

So far as we can tell, you’re a redhead. Your fine and soft hair is red, and your eyebrows are red. Your mom and I both have recessive redheaded genes, and think it’s adorable that you’re that little reflection of our collective lineage. I’m not certain the red will stick, but we’ll revel in it in the meantime.

I’ll tell you now that you were born into a pretty awesome family. While you were born at 1 a.m., and your mom and I were both pretty exhausted from all of the excitement, I couldn’t sleep. I had a lot of work-related things on my mind, but, more importantly, I couldn’t wait to go home and tell your sister about you. I left the hospital at 6:30 a.m. and headed home to wake your sister up. I was a little delirious, and, in hind site, had I had my wits about me at the time, I probably should’ve told your sister that your mom and I went to the hospital and had a puppy. But she wouldn’t have been half as excited.

I went into Maly’s room, rubbed her back and said, “hey, Sug. Wake up!” While she was slowly coming to, I said, “Hey. Guess what?” She rubbed her eyes and said, “What?” It was then that I told her that mommy and I went to the hospital early in the morning. Maly’s eyes got really big. “And you have a baby sister!” The look on her face was indescribable. I told her that instead of going to school that morning, she was going to get to go up to the hospital and spend the day with her mom and new sister. I’ve never seen your sister get ready faster. She was so excited to finally get to meet you for the first time at the hospital after nine long months.

Many don’t know this, but your mom and I had very difficult time having another child, and the thought was that we might never have another child. To have you come into our lives was nothing short of a blessing. You were immediately brought into a world of undying love and adoration from your family, and I couldn’t be happier to have you as our precious little daughter.

I love you, Junebug. More than you’ll ever know!



Big, good, strong hands

My dad died over five years ago, and it took it’s toll on me. Like most things, I internalized his death. That’s just my nature. It’s who I am and it’s part of what makes up my character. I don’t “let things out.” I take things, like death, and hold them inside.

I find it interesting that, to the best of my recollection, I haven’t had a dream of my dad until recently. I had a dream about him a few weeks ago, and then another dream of him last night.

Last night my dad and I were talking something about guns. I told him I was going to go outside and use his .243 because he had more shells in his rifle. This was some sort of jab, insinuating that I fired rounds from my rifle while my dad didn’t, so I was going to put his gun to use.

I went outside onto some sort of easement, patio or alley. There were wooden shelves affixed to a brick or concrete wall. High upon the top shelf was a large scorpion, at least the size of my hand. The scorpion was purple and/or green. I can’t remember vivid details, but it was an unnatural color. My dad came out onto the patio and indulged me in a stern warning about the scorpion. Then he threw his pocket knife at the scorpion in his father-like way of protecting his only son. He missed. His knife went over the scorpion, hit the brick wall and landed on the shelf, somewhere near the arthropod. I unclipped my $1 Wal-Mart knife from my pocket, opened it, threw, and pierced the scorpion’s left side, fatally injuring it.

As I knew it was going to die, I immediately walked up to the shelf to pick up the scorpion with my two hands. My dad was at my side the whole way, telepathically telling me to wait, to not touch the scorpion as it was still alive and dangerous. I was still reaching for it, as was my dad. We were both going for the scorpion – my hands for the scorpion, my dad’s hands to protect me from the sting. Our four hands fumbled upward toward the dying beast. The scorpion knew we were coming for it, and it struck.

That’s when the dream started to get scary for me, and my mind began telling me to wake up. The last thing I remember, the scorpion struck with it’s stinger multiple times. I remember seeing my dad’s strong, tanned hands on top of mine. I remember his hands the same way they were when I held them and cried goodbye to him more than five years ago. The last time I held my dad’s hands, he was 70-years-old and I was 30. Before then, I can’t remember the last time I held my dad’s hand. It was probably when I was a little boy, when it was still okay to hold daddy’s hand. I don’t know who the scorpion stung.

When I awoke from my dream, it was 1:30 a.m., I was scared, and both of my hands were asleep.