Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From the Heart ...

For Patrick, with big love …

August 11, 1978. Maia and bubu (my grandparents) and I were walking down the street in Constanta, a beach town in Romania. I was a little over 3 years old. Maia said: “She has another girl. Andreea is her name. She is small, bluish-black, underweight and full of hair”. And then there was silence. And footsteps down pavements. We were all thinking. I could not figure out whether “your sister” is supposed to live with you, or she kind of stays in the hospital, where they were telling me she “came”.

That is my first memory about my sister.

Through almost 30 years of life, growing pains, sisterly bickerness, competitiveness and sweetness, we grew up into women, into loving, giving and accomplished women. We grew up to be each other soul’s mates. She is probably the love of my life. I have never been able to love someone else so unconditionally, so fully, and desperately like I grew to love her. So completely!

And today, her son was born. This is her first. How this puts your life into perspective! I have been trying all day to come up with something intelligent to say about this miracle, but I don’t think miracles are of the mind: they are of the heart, and they should stay there, where they belong.

So, here it is… straight from my heart…

She always wanted an Aries baby. She tried so hard to conceive him just so he can be feisty and determined, just like her sister. But her due date was set for June 11. Oh, well. Like every pregnant woman, she said to herself: “I want him healthy and happy, not Aries”. But he was to have a mind of his own from the tummy already and not just by not being an Aries.

He moved when he wanted to, not when she wanted him to; he was hard to measure, throwing his own due date around all over the month of June for every doctor that’s seen him: June 11, June 10, June 21, June 18 – he was the first baby with no set due date. Headstrong and early, just like his dad, he turned head first at week 28. Ready to go somewhere. He was beautiful in the 3D movies, and he was shameless, he even peed in one. He had his “gentleman”-ly moments though, according to her: “He never kicked too hard”, she’d say.

Any baby is special, but he wanted to be extra-so! He broke the water on Resurrection night of the Eastern Orthodox Easter, April 26 – more than 6 weeks before his earliest “due date”. Doctors wanted to keep him in for days and weeks, but he was determined. He will humor his mom and aunt after all, and be an April baby. Sure, he’ll pick Taurus, just like it’s fitting for a stubborn child (I can’t blame him: less impulsive is always a plus!), but he wanted to be out by end of the month.

He was born today, the last day of Easter. They say a baby is a good omen, but a baby for Easter, when the Heavens are wide open, and God’s light floods the Earth, you can feel the holiness in the air like liquid honey, so sweet and light and yellow, is absolutely angelic!

He is a preemie, but the largest preemie in the NICU of a Montreal hospital, at 4.2 lbs. He even breathes on his own, pretty much. Preventive oxygen tube or not, he is perfect! He is pink and vivacious. He has a wide chest and broad shoulders, just like a man should: to be the support of this family and weak mom, in older years. He has a big foot, like his dad, and a good mouth, like him, too. And all in all, again, he is perfect.

I have a million questions for God and Life right now… and I am sure in time, I’ll get my answers. I do know that he will have the best care and the most love any baby in our family ever had. As his aunt and Godmother, I can promise that!

I am pretty sure, he will have his parents youthful looks for a while, and their well defined features. He will be culturally sophisticated, like them, and bright like them, also. He will be funny, like everyone in our families, and enjoy life. He will speak at least 3 languages, and he will be well traveled. Again, I can promise that! Will be an artist like his grandfather? A gardener like his grandma, or an animal lover or chemist like the other grandparents? Will he be a lawyer or an accountant like his parents? Or, in his perfectly rebel spirit, will he just choose to do something totally unrelated to all? Will he choose Europe or North America to live?! Will he like to fish like his dad? Or will he like cats like his mom? Will he have blue eyes or brown?! Curly hair? Wavy or straight?

Will he like fries like his mommy, or mashed potatoes like his aunt?

Right now, I am looking at his picture and crying … He has so much LIFE packed in those 4.2 pounds! So much curiosity! So much verve and determination! They hooked him up to tubes and he’s clutching on them. He can’t even suck on a bottle, but he’s clutching onto things! He’s a feeler, you see.

I have been melting away with love all day, in splendor of this one shot of him. I want to feel him close, to smell him and touch him, and kiss his feet.

He’s molecule by molecule part of my sister and her husband. They made him from love, and she made him grow from the first ultrasound of a pulsating spot into this whole human, with all the right features.

I asked my sister about him and she said “he has the biggest and softest feet” – and started crying instantaneously… They don’t call this a miracle for nothing, you see. It’s like this door just opened for all of us, and just like after Jesus’ Resurrection the world was never the same place again, so after each birth the world is a little bit more different … A little bit more hopeful, for sure, and a little brighter.

It was supposed to be an ordinary day: clear blue crystal sky and crisp April air. Half asleep drivers almost ran me over twice this morning, and I underdressed, as usual during this month, because it’s so fickle! “April is the cruelest month”, Elliot said, but is it now?! Cruelest-sweetest. Maybe.

His life will be nothing like ours was growing up. Born in the Free World my dad talked to us about like he was telling us a fairy tale. This world is his now. And the possibilities are endless. A woman running for president is on the front cover of the paper today. And so the torch passes on. And so I feel grayer today. My smiles are wrinkled at the eyes. But happier, and hopeful, that there is a man in our family, a new man, who brings hope and support. Just simple hope that life will live on. That our blood will forever live.

It’s strange: I don’t feel like half of my heart that has been dedicated solely for my sister my entire life is now halved to make room for him. I feel, instead, that my heart exploded, and it’s twice as big, and gives them both the same amount of love I’ve given her for 30 years.

Now, I know babies don’t just live at the hospital, where “they come”. Thank God, they come home with us, to brighten our lives and rooms, and to make us more loving, more tender, and more forgiving. To teach us responsibility and kindness.

I just hope I can live the day when I see his baby, just like I see him today. So that I can see him one day as happy as I have seen my sister today. Their love, bond and happiness will fuel me for another 30 years, to be sure.

Thank you, guys, all three of you, for letting me be part of this!

Romanian version here. Please click. _Pentru versiunea romaneasca dati click aici.

First picture of Patrick_ Prima fotografie:

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