Sunday, June 04, 2017

an open letter to my unborn son

dear boy,

it's june 4, 2017. your mom and i have been married for one year today. she also happens to be eight and a half months pregnant. with you.

i often comment that we "live in the future." i have an ipad that has my books and newspapers that i read as well as my movies and tv shows that i like to watch, and also family photos, all on the same thin little thing. my iphone controls my tv, janelle and i can order dinner with just the push of a few buttons, and i can make financial investments by hardly doing anything at all. plus, electric and self-driving cars are appearing on the horizon, as well as a multitude of other crazy things that i can't even think of right now.

it's 2017. even that feels further in the future than we actually should be. i recently read about some movie (one of those marvel movies, i think), being released in 2018 and i thought that was three or four years away, not seven months. and yet, for you, 2017 will be in the distant, essentially unknown past. you will look at pictures of this very moment the way that i look at photos of 1979 and the early 1980s: everything will look outdated, faded, and out of fashion. the clothes that janelle and i put on today will look strange, my iphone and imac (it's a 2012 model and the future of desktop computers is already up for debate) will be antiquated technology, the kind of things that you'll look back on and wonder how we ever managed to do anything with it. heck, the tesla model 3 is scheduled to come out next year, and by the time you're old enough to care anything about that, it'll be obsolete tech (i'm hoping i'll be driving you around in one before long, but maybe the whole company will be gone by then instead.)

so it's a strange feeling to know that my present is your distant past.

it seems that these are the things that you start to think about when you get older. and also when you go through life milestones, i suppose. getting married did that to me somewhat, and i'm sure that if all of this had happened when i was 27 instead of 37, i'd probably be writing all of this back when i and all of my friends were much more active bloggers (i blame facebook and the social media revolution for all of that. you can ask me about it when you're in your 20s and starting to care about history and stuff like that.)

yeah, janelle and i are soon going to be parents. it's weird for us. good weird, and maybe not so much weird as just different and unknown. i'm getting to the point where i'm tired of people knowingly smirking and telling us that "life is going to change" once we have children. sure. i get it. it'll be different. we'll wonder what we even did before we had kids (again, that strange feeling of knowing i'm currently in a place that i soon won't be able to remember.) but i heard similar things about getting married, too. "enjoy your freedom." "you won't be able to do [thing] any more once you're married!" did it take some adjusting to? yeah. i didn't have as much free time to noodle on my computer, organizing and pruning my digital life like i used to, or to read all of the articles i saved on my ipad's instapaper app, or to watch as many criterion collection movies as i'd hoped to (although i was in grad school for about five years before that and didn't really have time then, either.) but really, married life with janelle was a pretty smooth and easy transition (i had anxiety before getting married, and we can talk about that sometime if you're interested), and this past year has been, overall, likely the best year of my life. getting married to janelle is one of the best things i've ever done, and she and i are both happier because of it. rather than a dramatic shift, it's mostly been "hey, i've got a teammate for life now!"

and i think we're in a pretty good spot to bring you into this, too.

we've got your room ready. mostly. there's still some clutter of mine that i need to find a place for, and we're working to make space for the three of us (plus nena the chihuahua!) in our little condo. hopefully we can buy a house in a few years, but janelle and i think we can make it work for the moment. she decided to go with a "space" theme for your room, which i think is totally awesome. so we've got a cute solar system up on the wall above your crib, sheets and blankets with sun and moon and stars on them, and she even sewed a little mobile for you with planets, a rocket ship, astronaut, and a friendly alien.
we're looking forward to you.

who will you be? will you like to watch movies with me, like i do with my dad? today janelle and i were talking how you'll probably be more familiar with miyazaki movies like "my neighbor totoro" and "castle in the sky" than with disney movies like "the little mermaid" or "mulan." i've read that young children can easily enjoy silent movies, so hopefully you'll laugh at buster keaton with me.
will my they might be giants albums be as intolerable to you as the beatles did to me when my dad would listen to them on his record player? we're going to raise you on their children's albums, so you'll be singing "here come the ABCs" and "here come the 123s" before you're old enough to not like the things your parents like. will you discover R.E.M. when you're a teenager, like i did with music from the 60s? likely my love for kraftwerk will be as appealing as sauerkraut, but you'll learn to like it. also, i just recently developed an interest in frank sinatra, which will no doubt make me seem even older and more uncool already.

that's another thing: from your perspective, my existence will have always been first and foremost as your father. but dang, i've got 37 years of awesomeness before that (and hopefully after that, too...) i've worked on movies, gone on adventures, driven across the country (twice!), served a mission, gotten excited for the release of harry potter books, watched apple revolutionize the world with the ipod and iphone, and done whatever else. i was a teenager in the 1990s, which seemed like a pretty cool time. that will be 25 years before you were born, making that as distant and unknown as 1954 is for me. weird.
the current "now", which apparently we
one day won't be able to remember

i joke that my biggest worry is that you'll be interested in sport and business, two things about which i know very little. really, though, i will take an interest in whatever interests you. what does worry me is your safety. not overly so (janelle and i are both hoping to not be a "dangerism" parent, keeping you from anything that might be the least bit risky), but it's one of those things that i'm starting to think about: all of the things that can happen to you. last monday janelle's cousin val had their first baby, and as janelle and i were touring the hospital where you'll be born, we thought we stop and see val, only to find out that there were complications with the little guy and he had to be flown to the children's hospital in denver. it's been a scary week but things are looking up for their little guy and we're hoping they continue to go well.
so yes, it can be rough coming into this crazy world, but we do live in 2017, and while that does seem archaic and primitive to you, it's the best we've been able to do so far, and the health technology is heck of a lot better than when i was a baby and i turned out fine (so did my sister, and she came a few months early!) so we're doing all the best we can for you. there are a lot of people really excited to meet you (some of your hart cousins--who will be more like uncles to you--keep telling me how excited they are to meet you, so you've got quite a fan club already), and we're going to do our darnedest to help you out.

we're really hoping to get you some siblings, too, but one thing at a time.