Sunday, September 06, 2015

Epistle: To Abbi, 12 Years Ago

Dear Abbi,

First of all, you are SO YOUNG. I would tell you to revel in this, but actually, you were very aware of being young. You were the youngest in your little group for a long time, until you moved, and you constantly felt that you were younger and less competent than everyone around you. So even though at almost 40, I am jealous of your late twenties youth, I am not jealous of how you felt about it.

Second of all, right now, you are enormously pregnant, and you are perhaps somewhat anxious given the bed rest and the ENORMITY of yourself, and all that, but honey, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WORRY IS.

Here's the thing: right now, your life is a freaking garden of roses, and you don't even know it. You have two kids who are developing on schedule, and while they are sometimes weird, their weirdness is well within the range of acceptable. Also, their feet don't smell. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS.

In just over a month, your entire world will be rocked, and that's not a good thing. Everything you thought you knew will turn out to be wrong. You dreamed of drama in your life? Oh, honey. Oh, honey. You will get your drama. And you will learn, as does anyone who lives with drama that drama is seriously overrated. Boring is AWESOME.

In just over a month, you will have a baby! (Spoiler: it's a boy! Mazal tov!) (That's not really a spoiler, because you knew that ever since the ultrasound tech with the awesome accent and the actual PEACOCKS WALKING AROUND HER HOUSE told you, "You see ziss? Ziss is BALSS." And you will get a LOT of milage out of that story.)

Anyway, this baby, this boy... well. The thing I most want to tell you is, "It's going to be okay." But I can't quite tell you that, because of all the twists and turns this story takes along the way. But I CAN tell you this: "You will get through this." I know you won't think you can. I know that in the first days after that baby is born and hospitalized and intubated and extubated and tested and retested and not responding right and jaundiced and his big head and not breathing and turning blue and not eating and not waking -- I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that it would be so easy to just get into bed and not get out again. You are thinking that this is too hard, that this is not what you signed up for, that you take it back.

But I also know that you will get up every morning and get dressed and go to the hospital and sit with your baby as many hours as the NICU nurses will let you. I know that you will come home and try to smile at your daughters when you want to scream. I know that you will pump copious amounts of milk to take to the hospital. I know that you will keep putting one foot in front of the other, and I just want you to know that you will get through this.

I wish I could cover your ears when people come forward with ridiculously grim prognoses about that beautiful boy. I wish I could erase those words from your brain, that you could unhear them.

I wish I could show you the video of Adi riding a bike, pictures of Adi's smile, the sound of Adi laughing, because if you had those then, in those first weeks, everything would have been so much easier.

I wish I could have had your back in the grocery store that time when that idiot woman tried to make you feel like you had caused everything that happened to your son by having a home birth. I wish I could have punched her in the face for you. I'm pretty sure that's one of my lifelong regrets, not punching that woman in the face.

Looking back, with the lens of maturity and hindsight, I have to say that you kicked ass, but you had no idea you were doing it. You were so hard on yourself for so long, and I wish it had been easier for you.

Your older, wiser self

P.S. Buy AAPL and GOOG.