I am writing this letter you to in regards to your impending arrival into Life Outside the Womb. I hope you have enjoyed the comfort and warmth, good food, and relaxing atmosphere of your mother’s uterus. You are about to embark on an exhilarating, terrifying, exciting, and delightful adventure called “Life.”
Life is like what happens when you bite into a ripe tomato. Tomatoes are round, red fruits that are often mistaken for vegetables. You’ll meet one in a couple of years.
I can’t say that your mother will be the best mother ever (those people only exist in Other People’s Families). She’s always on me to paint my kitchen and color my hair. However, I can say with absolute certainty that she is the right mother. Her love for you is fierce, kind, indefatigable, and iron-clad. And you haven’t even drawn her a picture or kissed her cheek yet. It’s hard to imagine how deep and wide love can grow. It’s bigger than us. And much more powerful. Needless to say, you’re off to a pretty good start.
Shortly after you meet your mother (pictured above), you’ll meet your father. He helped make you. He acts all cool and stuff, but, of you play your cards right, he’ll be a pile mush by the time you’re two minutes old.
Babies are made from lots of things, some of them gooey and gross, some of them magical and sweet. They’re part crazy chemical soup with a spark of electricity. A dash of spice. A spoonful of mystery.
Also, sometimes babies happen when a man and a woman split a sandwich, so be careful who you share your meals with.
You will be raised by a pack of dogs, Preston, Gomez, and Fiona. I was raised by a shitzhu named Chu Chu. You will find, as I did, that it is very nice to play by the water bowl while sharing a dog biscuit and talking shop.
I am one of your aunties. At last count, you have twelve. We all live Outside the Womb and have for a while.
Once upon a time I was, like you, an idea. I became a whisper, then a wink, then a dream.
I grew into a collection of dividing cells. I formed a beating heart and a busy brain. Skin and cartilage were added, followed by little hands and little feet. One day, on a quest for adventure, or perhaps a new venue to dine in, I pushed my way to the other side, sucked in my first breath, and agreed to become the bi-ped I am today (which actually took a little convincing. I was a big fan of the floor). Here I am, walking and talking in this strange dream. That’s what Life is. Strange and dreamy. Dreamy and strange.
In the history of the universe, I am less than the impulse to blink an eye, but more than a fleeting thought. In the history of you, I have always existed and am currently understanding all those bad jokes people tell about their age and being born before the invention of the wheel.
You’ll learn about wheels later. Suffice to say, they are very useful round things that roll. They’re good for moving strollers, wagons, and rollerskates.
I will be a terrible auntie. I will forget your birthday and send you presents and notes for no good reason. I will mislead you with tall tales and bad advice and let you lick the batter off the side of the bowl. I’ll whisper secrets in your ear that you will promptly forget and I’ll reason that even mean people in the world, like Bill O’Reilly, believe in Santa Claus. How bad could they really be?
I live with a ornery little dog who nips at children’s feet and protects her ball with the fierceness of a lioness protecting her young. You’ll meet her when you’re ten and are able to out-run her.
Ten is what you are between ages 9 and 11. But it’s more of a state of mind.
I’m like the old woman who lived in a shoe, except I’m not that old. And I live in a shoebox instead of a shoe. I don’t have too many children. I don’t have any, so I never worry what to do with them. It’s more like I’m the caretaker and head-mistress of Miss Emily Nesbit’s Uptown Half-way House for Wayward Adults, mostly pirates and one-armed cowboys, minstrels, and travelers stay here. I don’t know what to do with any of them. But, they come and go, so it’s not much of an issue.
Needless to say, my home is your home. And you and your mother, never a wayward adult herself, to be sure, are always welcome for tea.
I am looking forward to a marvelous and miraculous association with you, baby girl.
Rest up. You have a long and beautiful walk ahead of you. If you ask me for directions, I’ll try not to send you the wrong way. But please be warned: I get lost crossing the street.
Sorry in advance for forgetting your birthday. You are always welcome to forget mine.