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A Letter To My Unborn Daughter

Editor Damon Young pens a letter to the baby girl he anxiously awaits

Hey baby girl. I am writing this Friday, November 13th, 2015. You have not been born yet. But if everything goes as planned, you should be here in less than a month after this publishes. Right now, however, you are either awake in your mom’s belly and kicking her or sleeping in your mom’s belly…and still kicking her. (You seem to enjoy kicking things, apparently. Perhaps you’ll be a soccer player. Or a president, but one that organizes pick up kickball games instead of the pickup basketball games our current president frequently does.)

Damon and Alecia Young

“Your mother and I are both very brown, and we’ve visualized you being an infant-sized Hershey’s Kiss.”

Anyway, we (your mother and I) are so anxious and so happy and so nervous and so tickled at the thought of finally meeting you soon. When people ask how I’m feeling about your rapidly approaching birth and being a dad for the first time, I tell them that it’s like being at someone’s house for Thanksgiving. And they tell you to come at 3. But when you get there, they say “Actually, the food probably won’t be done until 6.” So you’re just sitting on the couch, half watching a terrible football game and munching on a bowl of honey roasted peanuts while your stomach is churning and you’re getting progressively more irritated. Because you’re yearning for the food you smell in the oven to finally appear on the dining room table. This is where your mother and I are at right now. We’re tired of the build up and the appetizers and the light beer commercials and the peanuts and the compression socks and the doctor’s appointments and the strange people rubbing your mother’s belly and the unsolicited advice from people in omelet lines at brunch and we just want to see you.

There are so many things I want to teach you. But right now, more than anything else, I just want to love you.
We want to hear your cry when you finally emerge from your mother; that miracle voice that we somehow created. And this, the corporeality of your very existence, of you being a person who actually exists in this world, will never not be completely and unfathomably and mind-bogglingly surreal to us. We want the sound of you to fill the room, to pierce our ears and permeate our hearts. We want to see that moment when your eyes first open and you’re taking in this entire world for the first time. It will be scary for you, and you will be scared, even though you won’t yet recognize that the feeling you’re feeling is fear. But we will be there — holding you, clutching you, loving you — and it will be okay. Because we will not allow it to be any other way. We want to see how brown you are. You see, your mother and I are both very brown, and we’ve visualized you being an infant-sized Hershey’s Kiss. You probably won’t be — babies, even babies who eventually grow to be very brown, are often born light — but you still might be. And the thought of this delights us to no end. We want to see if your mother’s grandmother’s superstition about how your mother’s heartburn means that you’ll be born with a head full of hair is true. We want to look into those beautiful (and presumably) brown eyes and say your name to your face for the first time. We want to count your tiny fingers and toes and feel your tiny hands wrapped around our fingers. We want to warm you, and to feel your warmth when you’re laid on our chests. We want to see how much you favor your mother. Or me. Or my mother; the grandmother you’ll, sadly, never have the pleasure of meeting. Oh, and about this grandmother. You will have a lot of questions about her. Many of them will be answered by your grandfather, my father, a man who loved — and still loves — your grandmother as much as it’s possible for one human to love another human. Some will be answered by your mother. Who, unfortunately, was only able to know her for a year. The rest will be answered by me. I don’t know what you’re going to ask, yet. But I do know that I’m going to tell you that she would have adored you, and she would have made you the best french toast you would have ever had.

Alecia Young

Pregnancy cravings be like…

I can not wait for the first time you’re sitting next to me on the couch while I’m watching an NBA game, and your mother says “You guys okay over there?” and I say “Yeah, we’re good” and she looks both annoyed that I have you watching the Cavs and the Heat play each other and amused at how I’m spending my time with you. And for the first time you call me “Dad” and it takes me a moment to recognize that you’re talking to me because no one has ever called me that before. I fantasize about teaching you how to properly do an “in-and-out” dribble. And how much milk you need to pour and how many Oreos you need to crush for a perfectly thick cookies and cream shake. And how to recognize the type of snow necessary for making an efficient snowball. And how, if you’re standing in the back for class or team pictures, to stand on your toes like how your dad used to do. I’m laughing right now at the thought of our first mean mug selfie together. And when I’ll teach you to hide in closets and scare your mom. Which will probably only happen once. Because she hates when I do that, and she’ll probably hate when you do it too.

There are so many things I want to say to you; so many things I want to teach you, to show you, and to witness as you experience them for the first time. But right now, more than anything else, I just want to love you. I love you already right now, but this love is more abstract. Like a love I have for oxygen or my sense of smell. Because, right now, you exist as an abstraction; as the person hiding inside of my wife’s stomach and occasionally making awkward indents and impressions against her skin. But I want to see you. I want to experience the “holy shit she’s alive”-ishness of holding you in my arms for the first time. So I can fall in love with you.

But until that day comes, I’ll continue to wait for you. And, to be perfectly honest, although I said I’m anxious to meet you, do I want you to take your time. No need to rush. Especially since your mom and I don’t quite have your room done yet, and I still need to finish reading HypnoBirthing.

Love,

Dad

About the Author

Damon Young is the co-editor of 1839. He's also a co-founder and editor in chief of VSB (VerySmartBrothas) and a contributing editor and columnist for EBONY Magazine. Damon is busy. He can be reached at damon@1839mag.com.

Comments

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  • miss t-lee

    This was so incredibly sweet. :)
    My father often tells me that when I was born I shook up things and changed his whole world.
    From the sound of this, I’m sure your baby girl will do the same.
    Again, congrats to you and the Missus.

  • http://www.throughtheeyesofbetroit.com Betroit

    This was one of the most beautiful things I’ve read.

  • Alana ofthe Wind

    I’m so messed up by this!

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Got my eyes starting to sweat man!

  • DaVerne Fenn

    This is so sweet! What a beautiful and thoughtful gift to your daughter. It’s truly a gift of a lifetime. She’ll have something to remember you by always. Congratulations!

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