Wednesday, June 18, 2008
15: Letters to Iago
There has been a tradition on the internet that I love: blogging mamas writing letters to their children as a means of reflection on parenting but also on progress--you have learned to walk, you love strawberries, I have grown tired of chasing you around with the vacuum.
And I know you are not mine, not in the sense of the two originators of you, the two who give that genetics, so I can know you won't be cursed with the Sutton urge to sing showtunes or tell punny jokes (thanks, Dad) or the Rayner temper or the combined efforts of my branching family tree to masochistically choose education as your profession. (If you want to teach, go ahead, it's a wonderful and rewarding and tiring career. But we don't have to worry about that just yet, do we?)
And I suppose, before I really dig in, I ought to clear up this Iago nonsense. I know it's not your name, but as of this date, I don't know what your name is. Not just yet, anyway. Your mama and papa have opted to keep this a secret from the general public, much to your grandma's hoping chagrin. I actually like being on the other side of a secret, even if it makes me jealous for not being in the parenting inner circle. I suppose breast feeding classes and looking at you squiggle out of your mama's womb isn't exactly a qualifier for "parent."
Of course, these are all labels, right?
(Iago = my favorite Shakespearean villain. Also, it bothers your mama, which I find hilarious, though she ought to realize my giving you a nickname from the play Ryan and I saw on our first date is actually a kindness. I didn't want to call you the protagonist's name; despite my husband's threat of self fulfilling prophecies and all of that [he wouldn't let me name Zephyr as Grendel, even though it fits him much better], I don't think you will ever be a villain. Not with the genetics you've got.)
(And you know, the secret of your name? It's no different from the secret of Who You Are. We've all got a lot to learn once you enter this world.
Back to labels. (Tangents: get used to them.) Labels, I'm finding, are ridiculous. Who is to say who is a "true" family member? Blood and all that doesn't make a family member one nestled into the perfect shape of your heart. Kelly has been my sister since we were thirteen years old, and even a high school tiff didn't change that.
And you know, you can have false mamas too--people who will open up their arms and take you in as if you were their own, whether circumstances or tragedy or comedy or simple love did it. You see, I am writing to you just days before a quiet remembrance in our household. On June 14th, four years ago, we lost Yvonne, and not a drop of her blood is similar to my own, though I try as hard as I can to live up to that woman's kindness and sense of humor. Some people's hearts, no matter what sort of blood pumps through them, belong to you, just as yours belongs to them.
So, I suppose what I'm saying is this: you're not here yet. In fact, you aren't due for another nine days, which is a frightening prospect--for your mama, your papa, for me. I keep dreaming about it too, but I think that's just because I am desperate not to miss the big event (and angry at my cell phone for disappearing once again). You aren't here yet, but I tell you, I've seen a whole bunch of blue and green and yellow, a whole bunch of cotton and plastic and cardboard floating through that house in Otsego, and I know they're ready for you, whether any of us like it or not. They are armed with all these parenting classes and books and advice, whether wanted or not, and they've worried themselves into strange fits, but they're ready. They may not know it yet, but I do. She's going to be such a good mama to you, and he's been so good to her, so I can only think that he'll be a good papa too.
I'm talking in circles. (You'll learn that about me: verbose is OK. It's me.)
So I'm ready to be "Aunt Molly" or whatever it is that you need me to be. I have no DNA to offer you, no blue eyes and brown hair to pass on, but I can give you other things that belong to my heart: literature, the outdoors, patience, your mama. And you. Pretty soon you'll root right on up there in my heart, take shape, become you.