July 22, 2006

A Bundle of Lessons

Dear Kaia,

It has been two weeks since you were born, and I am amazed at how much you change everyday. Your facial expressions and demeanor makes my day, everyday. Your mother and I spend each day of this amazing summer, waiting on you hand and foot. It is a relaxing and great time. It’s funny when Mairin was pregnant, I often dreamed of you and was so disappointed to wake up every morning and realize that you were not with us yet. But now the exact opposite is true, I often awake from a deep sleep (short intervals mind you) and I have totally forgotten you were born, and immediately after seeing your face, I realize that not only are you here in my arms, but that you will be in my life till I die, and I cannot put into words the joy and happiness this thought brings me. You are only two weeks old, and I am already thinking about the day after you have finished this manuscript. I see us sitting and talking, drinking tea, hopefully somewhere outside, discussing your childhood. Although I spend much of my time these early days daydreaming about our relationship, I am at the same time fully committed to making sure to please you now. I change your diapers, give you baths, and rock you to sleep with what for me is the utmost care.

You have taught me that “clean enough” is no longer acceptable. It must be clean. I cannot tell you enough what a big lesson that is for me. Sure I am your father and at this time I am thirty-two years old, but I have spent much of my life cutting corners. Slowly, with your help I am learning to do things right and completely. You are also teaching me that the only way I can deal with frustration and anger is to slow down and face the situation with patience and love.

Just last night you were crying even after we had fed you, changed you and had you swaddled up and ready for bed. I walked you around the room for nearly an hour, when I finally started to get frustrated and angry. I could feel myself taking this anger out on you, when in reality it was my own inability to deal with the situation with love that was making me mad. So I took a deep breath and realized that you are the most beautiful and vulnerable being I have ever known. I closed my eyes and hugged you close. I knew at that moment that you would only be quieted with tenderness and compassion. I also realized that this lesson was not only true in raising you, but I could apply it to all my frustrations in life.

At this moment as I have previously mentioned, the world is in a very bad place, and there are many unjust wars happening all over the world. I often find myself frustrated and angry at the way we humans are behaving, but just like I saw with you, I am realizing that I must breath and slow down, and apply the same tenderness and compassion to help diffuse the situation. No amount of anger and frustration will bring about world peace, just as it will not quiet a fussy baby.

I cannot believe how much you have helped me grow in the two short weeks you have been with us. I cannot wait to see where w ego together, because while you have been my teacher so far, I have a lot to teach you too.

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