Welcome to this big, colorful world, little one. When I found out you were on your way, I was sitting at home on a Tuesday night. I had just let a family friend into the house, who was waiting for Justin to come home. When your parents arrived a few minutes later, Justin went outside to talk with him, and your round mother came waddling up the stairs to the bathroom. I shouted to ask her how their dinner was, and she replied, “It was great! We’re going to go to the hospital, I think the baby is coming! But I have to poop first.” And in that anti-climatic instant, my heart gave a giant leap and I knew your beautiful mother was ready. I sat on their bed as Justin grabbed his things, and your mother stood there, beaming and radiating excitement. She posed for a picture with her hand resting under her belly, and that was the first picture I have ever snapped of her where her smile was absolutely genuine and full of delight. Just seven hours later, you entered the world. When I saw you, my first words were, “I thought babies weren’t supposed to be cute right after birth!”. You defied all conventional notions, from your adorable debut to your quiet contentment throughout the next few days. You were patient as we fumbled with clumsy fingers to wrap your blankets, but we slowly learned. Your dad described this learning process with the statement, “Let’s just try it and see what happens”; and so your life motto was created. Little one, there is so much I wish to tell you. But for now, grow slowly, reach for the world, and never fail to keep reaching and trying. Let’s just see what happens.
I have lived fully. I have felt the gut-wrenching gasp of fear and excitement as I leapt into the air, letting the salty ocean breeze pull me into it’s crystal waters. I have felt warm rain pellet my skin as I ran through the midnight streets of a foreign country, dodging multi-colored cars and laughing as children chased and exclaimed, “Americano!”. I have felt the smooth bone of a Hawksbill turtle sliding between my fingers, choking water in my snorkel as I dove between walls of coral. I have stood atop a castle in the South of France, looking over a lush country and feeling lucky beyond my wildest dreams. I have sipped a margarita on a beach in Honduras and dangled my toes from a dock in Cozumel. I have felt the shaky thrill of rising above a slippery surfboard to catch my first wave in Oahu, and I have been plucked above the water surrounding Maui by the strings of a parachute. I have felt the magic of secrecy as I peered into the room of a sunken ship to find a cyclone of silver fish slowly revolving around a vast blue tuna. I have camped beneath giant sequoias and sandstone arches. I have caught my breath in utter astonishment as I stepped up to see hands working on an exposed, beating heart. I have swam with a turquoise octopus. I have listened to a wrinkled fisherman share stories of his childhood, realizing every faucet of his being stemmed from the ocean surrounding his small island. I have soared miles above the gorges of the grand canyon in a jarring two-seater plane, my hand separated from the towering chasms by just a few centimeters of glass. I have swam through the frigid waters deep in a slot canyon and felt the weightlessness of rafting over rapids and waterfalls. I have bungee jumped above the lights of Vegas and I have experienced the electricity running through the frosty, bustling streets of New York City. I have inhaled the spirit of a mountain, sitting strapped into my snowboard on a sparkling snow covered peak. I have been in love. I have witnessed suffering and I have witnessed resilience. I have been above this earth and deep in it’s oceans. I have lived.