A Year (Now With Uke!)

I promised myself I’d finally get Paul’s birth story written in time for his first birthday.

This is not that story.

There are a few reasons why, but only one that really matters – I’m still not ready.  I’m really not even ready to read the notes I took during that first week in the NICU.  I may write it someday…I may not.  No, I probably will…when it’s time.  Probably.  Maybe.  Whatever.

I found this letter I wrote to Paul on the morning of his birth.  It seems fitting to share it today, a metaphor for becoming a parent I suppose.  In an instant, my fear of my own death was obliterated by the knowledge I could loose my child.  A year later, it looks like you’re stuck with both of us for quite a while longer.  And so…a letter:

Dear Paul,

Today is the day.  Looks like we already have to come in and rescue you.  You have your Dad’s sense of direction.  That will be a problem when it comes time for you to get a driver’s license.  Maybe you should just plan to stay in areas with mass transportation.

So they tell me there’s nothing to be worried about today, that people do this all the time, that my recovery time might even be faster than if we did this the traditional way.  But just in case…

Ya see kid, your Mom has a tendency to get all creative with this medical stuff.  I think maybe this body just wasn’t meant to live very long.  I mean, medical advances are something of which I certainly take advantage.  Cancer should have taken me at 31.  Now, technically, a hundred years ago I would have died in pregnancy.  But again, thanks to modern science, you and I are going to have plenty of time to get to know each other.

Again though, just because I have my mother’s ability to fret and my dad’s need to plan, I have to consider the possibility that things could happen.  And if they do, I just don’t want you to feel any guilt.  It’ll just mean I ran out of chances to cheat death.  Things will just have finally caught up to me.  But I will still count myself lucky to have lived long enough to h ave you.  You’ll keep our family whole if I’m gone.  You’ll heal them.  And in turn, they’ll heal you.

Your dad is so in love with you already.  Everyone is, really.  Your grandmother is already dressed and itching to get to the hospital.  When she isn’t complaining about our coffeemaker, she’s talking about how excited she is to meet you.  Your granddad isn’t saying much, but you’ll soon learn that’s just his way.  But he’s been up since 5am, so I think he’s pretty excited, too.

But your dad…  He sits in your room and looks at your clothes and arranges the toys.  He has trouble sleeping.  He whispers to you in my belly incessantly.  He is going to shower you with love.  Be kind to him.  If something does happen to me, you will be his whole world.  Don’t shut him out.  He’s more fragile than you realize  He’ll try to be strong for you and end up breaking himself, so try and keep an eye on him.

And don’t forget your three wonderful uncles.  They so want to be a part of your life.  They have a lot to teach you, all of them.  Thom can teach you about loyalty.  Mike will teach you about honor and family.  Drew will teach you kindness and worth ethic.  They will all teach you love – for they are so very filled with it.

I guess if could only teach you one thing, I’d want it to be the importance of laughing.  I think it’s the single most important skill you can have.  Laugh at yourself.  Laugh at defeat.  Laugh at obstacles.  Laugh at fear.  Just laugh.  Hope lives in laughter.  So does courage.  Peace, too.  It even physically heals you when you’re sick.  If you can find the joy and humor in any situation, there’s nothing you can’t do, my love.  I can’t wait to hear your first laugh.

I love you, kiddo.  Welcome to the world.




P.S. – I uked.  I just didn’t manage to get it edited in time to post.  But it’s here now.  So pour a glass of something MFBT appropriate, and give a watch/listen.  Or don’t.  I’m halfway through my first glass so I really don’t care what you do.  Unless you’re clubbing kittens.  Then stop it.  Fucker.


  1. Laugh!!!
    It stopped the witches of east wick from hitting the floor and it’s the reason Paul’s mom is one of my daily stops on the internet.
    Laughing is my favorite!
    p.s. Paul, ask mom for a Fudgie the Whale ice cream birthday cake. Lobby for extra chocolate crunchy stuff in the middle.

  2. Okay, that was about the best thing I’ve ever read. You know, Elly, it is the way that you present yourself, in your writing and in your singing and playing, that makes you so very easy to love … and (though I’m loathe to say it because it is overused, but not by me so inspiring. And this letter is exactly that: the truth, unvarnished and perfect.

    Thanks for sharing this intimate part of your past year … motherhood is a total mindfuck in so many ways, but that first year? Well, you’ve made it through it and everything after this is so much sweeter (and harder, but in a good way because you have it in you) than you can ever imagine.

    Remember: those first three months are 15 million years long, that first year 15 years long, and then it gets faster with every passing day. So you’ve made it through the longest period of it. Yippeeeee!

    And I can’t wait for more duets, with Paul, your friends, or maybe, hopefully one day … me!



    ps. happy birthday to Paul and to Elly (and Rocko too, mais oui!)

  3. *high five*
    *chest bump*
    *picks out happy birthday to you on the electric guitar*
    You kept him alive for the first year! It’s sunny skies from here on out.

  4. And then I cried a whole bunch. I feel like maybe an ‘in case I die’ letter is the most beautiful thing ever. Is it bad I’d include instructions on how to properly fold fitted sheets? My closet has never been the same since I learned that.

  5. Alternate title: Oops, I Uked It Again

    As someone who will never be ready to write down their birth story (I still have a hard time even talking about it), I completely understand. I’ve been there (hell, I’m still there) and I’m sorry.

    This was lovely.

  6. I guess I’m dense – I never caught any sense that there were problems with Paul’s arrival.

    I hope they are behind you and that he is a healthy, happy kiddo. Happy birthday.

  7. This is so beyond beautiful and touching. My favorite paragraph:

    “I guess if could only teach you one thing, I’d want it to be the importance of laughing. I think it’s the single most important skill you can have. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at defeat. Laugh at obstacles. Laugh at fear. Just laugh. Hope lives in laughter. So does courage. Peace, too. It even physically heals you when you’re sick. If you can find the joy and humor in any situation, there’s nothing you can’t do, my love.”

    What incredible words to live by, Elly Lou. Love.

  8. hmmmm. I love you. I have also been drinking. I also just had lunch with For The Birds. All of these things stil mean that I love you and that won’t change. XOXO

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