Dear Landon:

I just got a message on my machine from your Auntie Ashley telling me that you were born today. I’m this close to jumping on a plane to Miami right this second, but between you and me, I don’t really have the cash right now, and I’m coming out there in six weeks anyway…you understand, right? You’re probably busy tonight anyway. I understand you showed up at about six this morning, and then combined with the jet lag I’d probably have, it just wouldn’t work out tonight. Soon, though.

You’ve been just this idea for so long, it’s going to be strange to see you as an actual person. It’s just been, “My best friend’s pregnant, can you believe it?” So strange to think that someone I went to elementary school, with whom I’d been a kid, was having a kid of her own. And then when I was home for Christmas a couple months ago, you mom (your mom) definitely looked pregnant but it was still easy to think that she’d be pregnant for a while, and then she wouldn’t be. I haven’t heard the details of the birth or anything (and I promise you I won’t share them in my online journal, don’t worry) but I’m sure they’re nothing like anything I can imagine at this point in my life. I was under the impression that you would just kind of float on out of there magically and there you’d be, a baby. Not just an idea. Not just a lump in Manya’s belly. Not something to think about and make me wonder if I ever want to have kids myself, not another milestone to experience vicariously. Now you’re a baby, a person even. Isn’t that strange?

I’m getting to this point where I’m beginning to identify with grownups almost as much as I identify with kids. This is new. I was at a friend’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, and some of the people there were teachers at my boyfriend’s old high school, and we were laughing about being at a party with teachers instead of students, and how from now on the teachers are going to be our age, and then they’ll be younger, and then they’ll be much younger. The late twenties, Landon. Never underestimate their capacity for self-absorption. The reason I mention it is because I’m wondering what it’s going to be like watching you grow up (from afar, sadly) and being friends with your parents, learning what it’s like to be parents from them. Since I knew them first, I guess I’m going to experience you, to some extent, through their eyes, through grown-up eyes, through parent eyes. It’s not going to be like I’m going to know you because you’re a kid on my block or in my class. Frankly, given how far away I am, it’s unlikely that I’m ever going to be anything to you but your mom’s weird friend that visits once a year, but do you see what I’m saying? You’re going to be (you already are, and you’re like fourteen hours old) much more to me, but in a new and different way than any other kid has ever been to me before. I don’t know how to explain this. I just can’t get over it, that’s why I’m babbling.

You should know how much I love your parents, and how glad I am that they get to have you. I’ve known your mom since we were about eight years old, and she is really one of the best people I have ever met. When you’re old enough to appreciate her for more than just feeding you and burping you and and all that baby stuff, you’re going to totally dig her. And of course your dad is the coolest guy ever…but of course he’d have to be, because I’m not completely sure your Aunties Marah and Ashley and I would have been okay with your mom (your mom) marrying anyone less cool. Your dad was the first Key Girl husband, just like you’re the first Key Girl baby, and so you’re both really big and special to us. You’ve sort of set the standards, you see. So don’t you give your parents any trouble young man, you hear me? Just kidding. Knock yourself out, I’m pretty sure they can handle it. Don’t tell them, but whenever I do see you, I’m going to take you out for a whole day and give you lots of sugar and then bring you home all cranky and mad. That’s going to be me. I’m going to pass it off like it was your idea, though…I mean, I don’t want to get in trouble.

So, yeah. Here you are. I guess I’ll call your house tomorrow and probably cry on the phone with your mom (one day I’ll get used to that term) a little and then get off the phone and cry a little more, and hear all about how wonderful and healthy and strong and sweet you are. I totally have to start working on your presents for when I come to visit. Dang. I had all these great ideas back in November and December, and now it’s March, and here you are, all of a sudden. Today. Today is your birthday! I hope I can be a little less maudlin on the phone…because, for sappy, nothing beats a letter to a newborn baby, right? Except maybe wedding vows written by the couple or graduation addresses?..when I call, but I’m guessing I won’t. By the time I come see you though, I’ll have pulled myself together to some extent so I don’t snot all over you. On the upside though, your mom will be doing a lot of laundry anyway, so I guess I shouldn’t worry. Speaking of whom, remind me to tell you the story of the time she walked through a glass door when she was a kid. She loves that story.

Okay, I’m really babbling now. I just wanted to say hi. And welcome. And I love you, and can’t wait to meet you.

love from your Auntie Chiara

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