By This Time Tomorrow
By this time tomorrow, my life will be different. In itself, that's nothing out of the ordinary—every day brings something new, every day I am different from the day before. But tomorrow is a big one, because tomorrow is the day that my new daughter will be born.
One of my co-workers said to me last week that I must be an old pro at this by now. And it's true that I am comfortable as a parent now. I know that I can handle the sleepless nights, the diaper disasters. I even know that I can take care of my two older kids and a baby at the same time. But as much as I do know what it's like to have children, all I can really say is that I know what it's like to have my children, to have the two that I know already.
Leading up to Eva's birth, I remember feeling a certain sadness. I knew that I would love her and that I would some day reach a point where I couldn't imagine life without her. And both of those things were true. But I still felt a sense of grief at the loss of the family that we had right then. When it was just me and Juliette and Jason, it was wonderful, and when Eva came into our lives it was wonderful, too, but in a different way, and knowing that that first experience would be ending was bittersweet.
And so it is tonight. I know that it will be wonderful to have another daughter. I know that I will love her, and laugh with her, and that I will have a bond with her that is similar to the ones I have with her siblings, but one that will be unique to her and me. I'm looking forward to that. But I can't get away from this small sadness that what I have now, which I also love, will be ending.
Little girl, I don't know you yet. And you don't know me, not really. Maybe some day you will read this and wonder about my feelings for you, and if that happens then I'm sorry. But I will tell you this: as I'm writing this we are strangers, but by the time you're able to read this, I will love you so much that it makes my chest hurt, and I will have held you and kissed you and taken care of you so well that you will not wonder long. You will know that I will always love you. And I hope that some day, when you are waiting for your child to be born, that knowing how I felt now will help you know that everything will be OK, and that if you feel something like this, that you are not alone.
I can't wait to meet you.
In just a few days you're going to have a new baby sister, but today is your day. I know you're still disappointed that you're not going to have a brother, but I have been so impressed with how helpful you have been to your mom and Eva and me. You are a really good big brother—having a little sister is frustrating sometimes, but you are always looking out for Eva and trying to do things for her, and I am so proud whenever I see that.
This past year has been a big one for you. You started school and had a great kindergarten year. You made lots of new friends, but still kept in touch with some of your old pre-school buddies. You have made a lot of progress in learning to read and write, and I've been so proud of how hard you've worked at it, even though you don't always want to. You work hard at practicing lots of things: swimming, tying your shoes, karate. You even do a great job of keeping your room clean.
We went to Legoland this weekend for your birthday, and what I really love about how grown up you've gotten is how much fun we have together now. We had a blast going on the waterslides together, and going on rides, and looking for the little people in Miniland. I love that you get so excited about things like explaining the Star Wars scenes to your uncle, or explaining Pokemon to your grandfather. I hope that you never lose that enthusiasm.
Today is your birthday, and I hope it's a great one. Happy birthday, pal. I love you.
Soundtrack: "Trees to Stone (Instrumental)" by Fremont. Used with permission.
Little fingers, how did you wind up there? Were you reaching for something as your eyelids drooped? It almost looks like you are pushing your pillow away, holding it back from your face. Of course, by the time I come back, after putting my camera away, you'll have moved. I wonder if you'll ever sleep still. But then, I suppose I don't, either.
I fret a lot about how to raise my daughter to be a strong, empowered individual, a person who doesn't value herself solely based on her appearance, and so I used to imagine my daughter as a tomboy. As it turns out, what she really loves is nail polish and dresses and princesses and pink. Maybe this will change when she gets older. Maybe not. Ultimately, it's not up to me to decide what femininity or even feminism means to her. In the meantime, at least I can be happy that we like the same snacks.
I've been getting up earlier for the past couple of months, which means I've been able to take Jason to school in the mornings. I like having the little bit of extra time with him, and getting to see him with his friends and in his new environment. Walking back to my car by myself after the bell rings, though, is a little... lonely, I suppose.
I don't know if I ever feel more Japanese—and simultaneously less Japanese—than I do when I'm at my grandmother's house. More because almost everything I learned about being Japanese I learned from her, in her house. Less because it reminds me how little of my heritage I have in my own daily life.
I took this picture when we were visiting her for Christmas Eve. She didn't have this picture on her wall when I was a kid; I don't remember exactly when she got it. When we were young, my brother and cousins and I would take over her bedroom TV for our video game systems—at first an Atari, then a Nintendo, and so on—and the four of us would hole up in there until just before dinner while the adults did adult things out in the living room. Sometimes we'd watch movies: I remember once my dad's younger cousin came in while we were watching a VHS copy of The Neverending Story, only staying for the opening credits because he liked the song.
It seems smaller now, that room, and a lot quieter. But it makes me glad that my kids have gotten to see it and make some of their own memories there.
Half My Life
In about seven hours--at the time I'm writing this--I will have been with Juliette for half of my life. When we started dating, I was seventeen, a senior in high school. Now I'm thirty-four, and we have a mortgage, a dog, two kids, and a third on the way. She has seen every step of my adult life, and then some--and I hers. Seventeen years ago, we couldn't have known what we were getting into, where we'd be a whole lifetime hence, and now here we are, and what a life it is. I'm thankful every day to have gotten to share my life with her, and to get to keep on doing so.