From the category archives:

Week 21

Dear Baby Benson

by Milton on Sun, Dec 20th, 2009

in Letters to baby,Week 21

Dear Baby Benson,

Now I can really write to you. I know your gender, and I’ve seen you move! You look like a real baby–to the point that we could count your fingers and toes.  It was a little weird that we could also see right into you and count the vertebrae in your spine, and see the chambers of your heart pumping blood this way and that.  Ultrasounds are mystical technology that way.  I hope that’s the last time I ever see your spine and heart and the contents of your brain in such detail… better to keep that stuff on the down low once you’re in the outside world.

Everyone wants to know if you’re a boy or a girl.  We will be telling people after Christmas, I think, since Esther wants to make your gender a Christmas gift of sorts, which is cute. Personally, I can’t wait to tell people.  I think people will like what you are.

I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations.  What kind of person I expect you to be.  What kind of father I expect myself to be.  What kind of parents Esther and I will make as a team.  Of course, everyone tells us that our expectations are bound to be way off, given all of the random wild card factors that come about when you actually arrive and start expressing your magical combination of genes and environment.  But expectations are unavoidable, necessary even.  We can also expect to have some of our expectations changed in the process.

More than anything, I expect that we’ll be a happy family. That’s the primary thing. A family that gets along with each other. A family that spends time together. A family that helps each other when difficulty presents itself, and a family that knows how to appreciate when times are good.  I have this expectation, and I will not let it go, ever.

I have also begun to think beyond the generic expectations and to go into specifics. To think about which expectations come about simply as a byproduct of what kind of people we are as parents.  Do we expect that you’ll be hyper or mellow?  Do we expect that you’ll be an extrovert or an introvert?  Do we expect you to excel at your studies?  Do we expect that you’ll like sports?  Video games?  Vegetables?  Reading?  Dancing?  Surprises?  Heights?  Music?  Will you be logical or emotional?  How empathetic do we expect you to be?  I guess I expect you to be a little bit like us, plus or minus.  Then again, you’ll be your own self and are welcome to surprise us on any of those characteristics.

The fact that you’re growing up now, in this world, is new.  Esther and I grew up in a world that was 30ish years ago, with a lot of different things going on.  The world is changing fast, and we’re aware of that.  We want to change with the world, to keep up with it primarily as a means of keeping up with you.  We’re excited about the future, and we’re excited that you are going to be a part of it.

It’s definitely weird to think about you as a person all unto yourself. As a person that we have the privilege of introducing into this world.  Guiding you in your growing understanding of how it all works together.  A process that both Esther and I are still on ourselves, and really have no expectation of completing in our lifetime.  While we aren’t experts at this world, we do feel like we have a lot that we can show you.  A lot of cool stuff.

In the meantime, I’m working on reviewing a lot of ideas about life, childhood, etc.  I feel like I’m a teacher and I have a very important class to prepare for.  There’s a lot of material, and I’m not formally trained as a teacher, so I also need to practice that part too.  We’re reading some books, we’re having lots of conversations, and we’re trying to narrow down a few basic strategies for how to work as a team on the amazing task of caring for you.  It’s gonna be awesome, I promise.


Your dad