Happy Birthday, Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

Tonight, at just a hair past seven o’clock on this last day of the year, you completed your first full revolution around the sun. It goes without saying that a lot has happened since the dawn of time in our new world together. You’ve slept through a considerable chunk of it, while I’ve been awake for more than I’d like. But in all fairness you’ve been a good sleeper. I have no complaints; just don’t tell the others.

No, rather than dreaming up new ways to shush you to sleep, I lie awake utterly amazed by the strange position we find ourselves in. Each day we wake with air in our lungs and blank space to fill. One day we showed up here and some day we will leave. And in between is anyone’s guess. Though I’ve got about thirtysomething on you as far as turns around the sun go, I’d say we’re on about equal footing if we’re talking about what it all means. Because I’m fairly certain that even if I lived a thousand years I’d never quite wrap my mind around the forces at work in the universe.

Take our cosmic arrangement. Despite vast differences in size and relative distance to one another, when perfectly aligned, the Earth, moon, and sun are capable of eclipsing one another within inches of the periphery. Holding an hours-old you, staring down into your eyes wide open, I knew that we too are perfectly aligned. From my face to yours is just enough space for us to focus on the only thing that matters. It’s truly a wonder to behold.

Then there is Earth itself. Just spinning out there in space, held in place by a deliberate cosmic glue. Why it doesn’t simply fall forever and a day is almost as bewildering as the expressions that tumble across your face. How do you know to laugh when something’s funny or just recently, furrow your brow when you’re unsure of the punch line? Perhaps it’s this wide-eyed surprise that pulls me into your orbit; a gravitational insurance policy to keep you close and safe.

Dear baby, did you know the shimmering rays of our sun take a full eight minutes to reach the earth? That by the time we experience the life-giving sustenance of this one random yellow dwarf star, the moment has already passed? I see the sun reflected in your eyes when you register a faint glimmer of recognition. For a nanosecond, you see the world as a familiar place. Its rhythms and secrets no longer a complete mystery. And then the moment is gone and you’re rocketing over the next unexplored corner of your world.

But the most astounding aspect is its vastness. It goes on forever. It knows no limits or boundaries. We don’t know how far – it’s too far to even attempt to come back from. But with a love like this, why would we even want to try…

I look to the universe, dear one, to help me make sense of it all. But the fact is, try as I may, I will never understand it. We’re not meant to. All I need to know is right here between you and I. You and me– we’re perfectly aligned here on earth, holding each other up in the fleeting light.






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