Archive for November, 2011

Dear Evan: Happy Thanksgiving

November 28th, 2011

Dear Evan:

Yesterday, I had to stop and ask your mommy what we did last Thanksgiving, when you were still in NICU. I have no memory of it at all. It’s a blank, one more skipped-over scene from what I hope was the worst moment of our lives.

She reminded me: We ate at my parents’ house, and then all went to the hospital. That would’ve been maybe a week, maybe more, before you came home. A month before you were even due to be born. And you know what? I’m glad I don’t remember. I hope you never do, other than through these few words. It was still too much of an iffy situation as to whether you’d see Christmas.

This year, we drove down to your Aunt Kiki’s house to spend Thanksgiving with your mommy’s family in Houston.

How to boil three days into a short letter? You played a lot. You laughed a lot. You cried sometimes, and were held by many people, and often gave me those wobbly “Who is this?” looks begging for reassurance as yet another relative took you up and cooed over you. Your mommy and I smiled and laughed and took you when you got too nervous and held you when the whirlwind of activity got too much.

You fell in love with Aunt Kiki and Uncle Ruffy’s cats and dog, grinning and petting them and (when they were still long enough) giving them your head-butt version of a hug.

As befits the holiday, you ate a lot. Most of that was organic Cheerios and vegetable puffs and the food your mommy brought along, but I’m pretty sure I caught people sneaking you small pieces of roll and turkey and whipped sweet potatos. I’m personally guilty of feeding you some refried beans (an old favorite of yours by now) and bits of tortilla. I’m surprised your PawPaw didn’t give you the ceremonial first taste of Dr Pepper. He will, soon.

And when we got home? You crawled — skittered might be a better word, because your crawl is almost as fast as an adult’s walk — from room to room, laughing at being back in familiar surroundings, laughing at your own dogs, laughing at your own toys.

This was a Thanksgiving to remember. Let your first be lost; I’d rather think back on this one.

I love you,


Dear Evan: Your First Steps

November 14th, 2011

Dear Evan:

You can walk! Not that we had any question, of course, though preemies often develop slowly. But still — you can walk!

You’d been heading that way ever since you learned to stand. You would hold onto the windowsills or the edges of our living-room furniture and side-step from place to place. Joyce, who takes care of you while your mommy teaches during the week, swore it wouldn’t be long.

She was right. A few days ago, you held your mommy’s hands and took a few steps. That’s exciting, but apparently doesn’t count because you were using support.

And then…

Yesterday, while your grandma and grandpa (my parents) were visiting, you stood up, laughing as always, and took two tentative, unsupported steps to your mommy’s leg.

Such a quick moment, but we were all lucky enough to have gathered around you, laughing with you as you stood, and so we all saw it.

Later, you tried a little more, shuffling a quick two steps at one point, and a quick three while playing in your bedroom.

It was a great point in your little life. After laughing our fool heads off, your mommy and I looked at each other: “Uh-oh.”

Because now you can walk.



Dear Evan: 11-11-11

November 11th, 2011

Dear Evan:

Today is 11-11-11. Some people think it’s some sort of magical day; others are writing it off, other than the usual Veterans Day remembrances.

Me, I just think it’s neat. For one thing, it’s one of just a dozen days like it per century. The next is 12-12-12, and then I’m afraid I won’t see another configuration like it before my death. And you? With as long as our family lives, and modern science, I bet you’ll be there for 01-01-2101.

Enough of the future, though. Let’s talk about today. 11-11-11 is fun to think about (however briefly), and I hope you get my love for little riddles or, more appropriately, pattern recognition. When I was a boy, my parents got me books of brain teasers, riddles, rebuses, anagrams, that sort of thing. I loved the word games most of all, and would go around rearranging or reversing words in search of some (usually absent) hidden meaning.

Just don’t go overboard. Some people are doing that with today, insisting that some arbitrary (and oft-changed) configuration of months and days and years has cosmic significance. It has exactly as much significance as you give it. Forget returning messiahs or universal consciousness or whatever else people thing the day will bring. For me, 11-11-11 will mean coming home from work, kissing your mommy, sharing a family hug, holding you cheek-to-cheek, laughing when you stand, and putting you gently into your crib.

That’s more than good enough for any day.

I love you,


Dear Evan: Early Mornings

November 9th, 2011

Dear Evan:

Some mornings it aches to leave you and your mommy.

You’re back to sleepless — or rather, sleep-interrupted — nights, thanks to a perfect storm of teething, a fever last weekend and the “fall back” time change. All three served to throw off your sleep schedule, so while you had been snoozing peacefully between 7:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., now you’re up throughout the night.

Your mommy is bearing the brunt of that, but it’s wearing on her. Neither of us likes the idea, but it’s time to let you cry it out a little more until you’re back on track.

Today, you were up early (or, for you, at the same time as usual), so after I showered and dressed for work, I picked you up and smooched your fat cheeks and let you stare in amazement at a tassle hanging down from our ceiling fan. You stroked it softly, not grabbing, but letting your fingers trail over it. I set you down on the bed for a moment, so you could practice standing.

You’re so proud, every time you lever yourself up on widely spaced feet. You look around, mouth open and grinning. We cheer and praise you and make noises of encouragement. I swear you’ll be walking soon, but your mommy says that’s a ways off, and she knows better.

This morning, she watched in sleepy amusement, and then whispered that I should take you to bed, see whether you (and she) could get a little more sleep.

I was skeptical, but I scooped you up again, my left arm under your bum and my right loosely on your chubby belly. You don’t even need me to hold you upright with that right hand, but I feel better doing when we walk in the dark.

Which we did, through the living room and kitchen and front hallway, then down that hall to your room. You goggled at everything, at the green lit numbers on the microwave and the blueish nightlights in the halls. You’ve seen them so many times before, but your brain is still mapping, still taking them into account and trying to decide what they mean.

You grumbled a bit at your bedroom — no question there for your brain; if we go in and I don’t turn on the light, you know the crib is your next stop. I was surprised, though, that you didn’t cry when I laid you down. You just rolled over, felt for the green-and-brown fabric bear your mommy calls “Woobie.” And then you were quiet.

I slipped out the door as noiselessly as possible. I hope you slept.