Archive for the ‘Pittsburgh’ Category

Peculiar Graces: Dark, Dark Nights

In Allison, Connected, Jonah, Myth, Peculiar Graces, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 30 October 2007 at 9:40 PM

The hardest thing I have ever known is to become a parent. Fifteen years ago I became a high schooler; that was pretty hard. Then came college, which was harder; but then, after a while, if I’m honest with you, it got easy. After graduation, becoming a teacher was hard, too, but eventually it was manageable. Then Alli and I married, and I turned into a husband: Wow—now that’s still very, very hard. But Parent, being the parent, being the dad, being so powerlessly in love with this vulnerable, crying, helpless, beautiful, loud need wrapped in personhood…I mean, it’s just the hardest thing I have ever imagined, and the hardest thing I have ever done.

I sit back to reflect on it for a moment, in order to come up with the words, with the images, to prove to you by way of metaphor that I’m telling the truth, to show you, to make you aware in a way that is just right, in a way that would explain it perfectly, clearly, even for those of you who aren’t parents yet. I reflect on just how hard it is. I think of the nights, of the loneliness of night when no one is around but the three of us, darkness everywhere and a hungry baby. I want to make you understand. But my arms dangle, and they hang—limply—at my sides. They become numb. I am tired. My shoulders hurt. I find I can’t even type the words to describe it. And anyway I am wordless for it, unable to describe anything this hard, and so typing wouldn’t do any good anyhow. And yet, here they are: the words have appeared. Somehow the words are brought to the page.

Maybe that is how I feel.

Sure, of course, I love him. His smells are everywhere in the house. On my hands. On my shirt. In the living room. In the kitchen near his baby’s bottles and baby’s bath and baby’s towel. They are there when I do the dishes, and when the laundry is folded by the couch. I have never been more aware of my gratitude, or more conscious of my love, or closer to the belief that my love is a thing in my chest, something I could take out and show to him if he asked to see it, its weight and size, its rounded edges, the hardness and softness of it at the same time, its willingness to sacrifice or change shape at his will, for his safety, for his pleasure.

Or maybe I believe that my love is my chest itself, and its heaving is proof enough.

Several days ago he gave out his first social smile—to me. He looked me in the eye as I sat down next to Alli on the couch, who was holding him. I had put my finger in his hand—a cheap trick to make myself feel loved, really, since it’s a reflex for him to grab onto me—and he turned his head to see me. He looked, and he looked, and then he gave a sign of recognition. Something in his face changed as if to say, You. And, in a moment, he smiled. He held it for about seven seconds. He was smiling at me, right at my face. This was not gas, or poop. This was us. You could not talk about the energy and warmth I felt throughout my body when it happened, since really it is unspeakable. I love my son. You know that, and I know that, and there is no question about the matter.

Still, my son suffers. He has colic, or something like it, and we know this because every night he cries and he cries and he cries. This—watching him cry without end—this is pain I have never felt, every night.

It is pain I have never seen before either, because even in marriage, in this relationship we call our most intimate, even here with my wife, both of us have had the decency to hide some of our pain from the other.

But this one, this Jonah, he cries and he cries, and he continues to cry, and sometimes there is no consoling him.

I walk around with him, and I hold him to me, but he pushes away. So I bounce him, up and down, up and down, but he waves his arms and he kicks his legs. Then, because the walking around hasn’t worked, I sit down with him, but he writhes, and he wiggles, back and forth, arching his back, kicking his legs some more. I stand up again, and I hold him up and out, so he’s facing the world. Maybe something out there will calm him, yes—but his eyes fill with terror, and he holds his arms out as though he wants to feel more secure.

So I turn him around to face my chest, but he presses his face into my shirt, shaking his head back and forth, rubbing his face against me, pushing his face deeper and deeper into my chest, and I feel the heat from his face, that hot breath leaving his mouth, the sobs, the air that leaves his body like desperation, and all the time the voice, the pain, those high-pitched notes that carry through the rooms of our house, through my head and down my back, into my stomach and legs, Dad, help me, I hurt, I hurt, I need help, please help me. He hides nothing. He grieves everything. He has been born into this world with a mountain of pain, and he is honest enough to let it show. And I can’t do anything, Jonah. I can’t do anything at all. What can I do? I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried it all.

Now metaphors are not good ways, I know, to establish something as a fact. Just because this something is like that other thing does not mean that either is true, I am aware. So please do not misunderstand me.

Still, I am about to make a metaphor, but by no means do I believe that the likeness between the two makes one of them any truer. However, if the facts of the matter are true, and if the likeness is right, then metaphors are very good teachers, are they not?

The work of metaphors, then, is to clarify the truth, not to establish it. I understand this—let that be known.

A few nights ago, Jonah was crying. Alli, who wakes up with him early every morning, was pooped by now, and rightfully so, for she is this family’s anchor, its strength. She gives too much, which is what mothers by nature do. Mothers might be the most powerful force in nature, and Alli is no exception. By now, though, she had worked beyond her ability, and so I had sent her off to sleep.

It was now just we two, Jonah and Dad, and the dark, and the sounds he was making long into the night.

I held him in my arms.

He cried.

I bounced him.

He cried.

I moved him to face the world.

He cried.

I moved him to face my chest.

He cried.

He was hiding nothing. He was grieving everything. He had a mountain of pain to carry, and he was being honest with me, letting it show.

And I couldn’t do anything.

So I began to whisper very softly into his ear, Jonah, I’m here with you. This is me, it’s your dad. I’m here. I’m right here. Jonah, do you hear me? Jonah, I’m here.

We walked around and around the kitchen, because at night it’s the darkest room of the house, and darkness brings sleep—it says so in all the baby books. Here we were, in the darkness of night, around and around and around the kitchen, around and around for a long time, and he’s crying like always, and I’m whispering to him, I know, son. I know. It’s so hard. It’s so so hard. But here I am. Here I am with you.

Did I think he could understand me? And if he could understand me, could he hear me over his cries? I suppose part of me hoped he would. I held him close to me, and still he kept crying.

And for a moment, I will tell you, because this is the truth I believe in, and this, you might have guessed, is the metaphor I was working up to: I understood the reason for Christ. I understood that I would give anything to help my son, that I would give up all my possessions, all my relationships, and even give up my own existence, if only Jonah could be made to have what he needed. I would do anything to climb down through my years of knowing and experience, and I would join him in his babyness, and I would take it all onto me, because I want him to experience relief.

When he suffers, I suffer. But I would suffer all the more if only his suffering would stop.

This understanding came in a moment, and then, in a moment again, it was gone.

I know: Not everyone who will read this believes in the same truth claims that I do, and so I do not want to offend. Please, if you want to, consider it a nice metaphor, a silly way for me to cling to hope in the midst of hopelessness, a foolishness, a game, or a way for me to deceive myself into believing that existence makes sense; in short—call it a pretty form of denial.

But, again, if the truth of the world is that Jesus somehow offers us relief, that in the midst of all this suffering, in the midst of all these cries—there is hope, that somehow by this offering we are able to connect, and to receive grace, to reconcile one to another and to God in heaven, and finally to live without alienation, and if there is in fact a God who wants to use this universe to demonstrate his love for creation, then this parenthood, this being the dad, this hardest best thing—has made itself to me a picture of God’s love which illuminates truth beyond my wildest imaginations. And for a moment I see the love, I understand the love, and I feel the love—all the love in the universe which surrounds me, and surrounds you, and surrounds us all. And my heart grows big with thanks.

Peculiar Graces: Twenty-Thousand Roads I Went Down, Down, Down, and They All Led Me Straight Back Home to You

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pitt, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 10 September 2007 at 3:44 PM

We are home. And we want to say thank you. Thank you, all you people who wrote to us and called us, to offer your friendship and support and love: for three days Alli and I saw only one another, and nurses, and doctors, and thermometers, and machines that go Ping!, but, for all that isolation, still we felt surrounded, and we felt your care, and your concern, and your happiness; that is to say, you have been with us nonetheless, and we are grateful. Every five or ten minutes, it seemed, there was a new little note to read, or another voicemail to hear, and man, I can’t tell you how good it felt to know you were thinking of us.

Thank you, all you who came to our house, while we were still in the hospital, to give us meals—we found them in our fridge when we got home (which means now we’re changing the location of our “secret” key), and we can’t wait to eat.

Thank you, all you who walked our dogs, those poor, pitiful creatures whom we used to call The Kids, and now whom we just call The Dogs.

Thank you to whoever washed our dishes. That was an enormous help.

Thank you, Lisa, for making the banner.

Thank you, Jillian and Hillary, for the card and the flowers.

I named this blog thing Peculiar Graces. That is not a secret. You see the title above. But let me tell you a little about it, so I can make my point. It’s a phrase from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, one which is very beautiful. Adam and Eve are in the Garden, still innocent. It’s the morning, and Adam has just woken up. He looks at Eve, who is still sleeping, and having bad dreams. Adam, whose sleep was “airy light,” has been taking in the glory of the morning, which brought him all kinds of wonder, but

…So much the more
His wonder was to find unawakened Eve
With tresses discomposed and glowing cheek
As through unquiet rest. He on his side
Leaning half-raised with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamored and beheld
Beauty which whether waking or asleep
Shot forth peculiar graces.

And so I want to tell you: this, by those words, feels like my new life. I am surrounded by peculiar graces everywhere. By Alli’s face during labor, every time she pushed, every time she bore down—that sad and pretty pain, how awful, how gracious, how vulnerable—and her face seemed at once to rule the world and to beg me for help. By bringing her food and water and everything else she asks for. By lack of sleep. By watching Alli nurse our son. By hearing him moan when he’s cold. By letting him suck the tip of my nose because he’s rooting, and Alli is on her way. By watching him sleep.

In just three days, in only these past three days—I have been told one thousand secrets. They are secrets now that seem I have known forever, secrets I wish I could tell to everybody. They are peculiar graces shot forth: they began when I watched Alli’s face in delivery—when I understood all of existence, when I understood Adam watching Eve—and they move forward into all those years I cannot see now, but which I feel every time I hold my son.

Please, if you are in town, come visit us. If you aren’t in town, come anyway. I want to show him to you, and I want to tell you everything I have ever known: This is my son. This is my son. This is my son.

Peculiar Graces: So Now Then

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 8 September 2007 at 10:03 AM

He has arrived. Alli pushed for about an hour, and he came out crying right away. Six pounds, six ounces, and hairy like a monkey: a true Delgado.

More soon.

Love to you.

Peculiar Graces: Soon And Very Soon

In Allison, Jonah, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 8 September 2007 at 7:06 AM


Okay: Last time we checked (and by we I mean—the doctor), Alli was dilated to 9cm. This is close. We are getting there. She’s sleeping now. In the next couple of hours, we’re thinking, maybe: Push. Woo!

Peculiar Graces: Here We Are Now. In the Thick.

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 8 September 2007 at 1:01 AM


Friends,

It is 5AM. We have been in the hospital now for three hours. Alli has been given her epidural, and now feels, she says, like she’s sitting in a bowl of soup. Everything is going smoothly. By everyone’s best guess, Jonah should arrive around noon, or maybe a little later, today.

We’ve been up all night. We even went to a party last night—of a bunch of MFA kids, at Chuck’s house (that’s our fearless leader). Alli was having contractions the whole time, and I had this stupid piece of paper, covered in times, keeping track of her contractions. Every time she had one, she nudged my arm, then, for about a minute, she did not say a word—because contractions, in case you didn’t know, really hurt.

So then we left the party, and drove home—but every time I drove over a bump, Alli was ready to divorce me. When we got home, we watched some TV. A few hours later, the contractions were heavy and regular and full of fight, so we came here. They wheeled her upstairs, and now I have this uncomfy couch-bed-thingy to sleep on, while she sleeps on her side in the hospital bed. She’s not uncomfy, though, because she still feels like she’s sitting in soup.

Our midwife, Randi, isn’t on call right now, but maybe by later this morning, she will be. We hope so—we really want her around for this.

More soon. Sleep now.

Love to you.

Carlos & Alli

Peculiar Graces: False Alarm or Maybe Not

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 7 September 2007 at 8:27 AM


Friends,

Alli has had some Maybe Signs this morning—that is, signs of Maybe We’re Going Into Labor Now—and we have been timing contractions, and we’re still in the Maybe Boat: we can’t tell one way or the other whether we are actually beginning the thick of it soon. Of course, if we do, we will say so.

Love to you.

Carlos & Alli

Peculiar Graces: This Child’s Name Is Jonah

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 25 July 2007 at 1:06 PM

Friends,

As you already know: Alli and I are expecting a child. This child’s name is Jonah. He does not speak yet, nor does he make any other sounds—because right now he breathes liquid goo, and you can’t huff and puff and scream when you’re breathing liquid goo—but he moves around, and he knows our voices: in fact, he moves toward my voice when I talk to him, which, yes, makes me emotional even just to think of it.

Jonah will be born in Pittsburgh. As my friend Derek says—no matter where he goes, or lives, for the rest of his life, he will always be a ‘Burgher. I hate this term, and wish it would die. Derek says he will buy Jonah a Steelers jersey, or a Terrible Towel for after his baths. But this will not do, says Alli, since Jonah comes from a long line of Chiefs fans, the greatest of these being his late great-grandmother Eileen Speik, who prayed for three things: her soul, her family, and the Chiefs. And Alli will be damned if she lets down Eileen by allowing Jonah to wear some crappy ‘Burgher jersey. As for me, I only like football for the finger foods and beer, so as long as m’boy, like his dad, hopes against hope when Ecuador plays in Copa America, and (for lack of consistent representation by our home country) for Brazil in the World Cup, I’m fine.

And then I reflect on these kinds of conversations—“As long as he…” and “He’ll be a…” and “If he…then I’ll be okay with him”—and, really, when we step back a moment, Alli and I notice the pressure already surrounding him. So, fine, okay, okay, in an attempt at raw honesty, let’s be open about our expectations for this kid: Jonah will be 6’ 3” tall, 190 lbs., great at soccer, a fantastic swimmer and surfer, have great hair and a philosopher’s care for making distinctions. He’ll be funny but not obnoxious. He’ll make eye contact when he shakes hands. He’ll read before he goes to bed. He’ll have good posture. And he’ll charm the heck out the ladies.

Or, by God, he’ll have one hell of a time making it through this family as a well-rounded, shame-free individual.

Jonah’s cousin, Taylor May Brady, was born July 2, 2007, just about three months before we expect Jonah to arrive. A few weeks earlier, on May 31, Grant Joseph Miller was born, the son of my best friend, Chad. Now among my friends and family, we have fantasized about the lives of our children together, about the possible friendships and camping trips and blood-brother pacts and tattletaling and little league fundraisers and picnics and so on…but none so much as with these two, Taylor and Grant, for their proximity in birth to Jonah, and for the closeness of his parents to theirs. I imagine Grant and Jonah learning how to surf together, and building lemonade stands, and Grant’s or Jonah’s first black eye (probably Grant’s first black eye: see above for the paragraph concerning my expectations of Jonah, and imagine what I will demand of his strength and physical prowess). I hope for the two of them a rich childhood full of good memories, and a beautiful, long friendship for many years afterwards. And then, Jonah’s cousin, little Taylor May, the daughter of his Aunt Ashley and Uncle Beau, well, I hope at least this for them: that Jonah will keep and eye on her, making sure the boys treat her right; and that because of Taylor’s popularity—which she’ll inherit from her mother, no question—he’ll get to know all the hot ladies.

Alli is 32 weeks pregnant now, and has entered one of the final stages of pregnancy, which presents itself as a paradox: She is big and uncomfortable. Jonah is smacking around all kinds of her nerve endings on the inside. He is kicking her ribs and alternately making a pillow and punching bag out of her bladder. She cannot move with very much ease from here to there. She asks me to climb the stairs for her to get her things, because climbing the stairs makes her tired. This is all very understandable. But now, here is the paradox, the joke God played on her: In addition to these aches and discomfort, she is nesting. This means that, seven months into the pregnancy, Alli’s instincts have forced her to clean, clean, clean, to prepare a proper place for her coming baby. She has no control over this desire, even though she has self-awareness of it. She is a victim. She looks around this house of ours—this relatively clean, well-taken-care-of house, any of our visitors will vouch for this—and she is disgusted by it, so much so that she doesn’t want to walk on the floor barefoot. So she must clean it. She must clean everything. Under things, on top of things, behind things. Yesterday, she waxed the floor under the couch. She’s lifting things and bending down. She can’t stop. She brings out oils and spray bottles and vacuum cleaners and dusters and mops and so on. I haven’t seen a person do so many consecutive loads of laundry in my life. I don’t even know what she’s washing anymore—I think she’s run out of things to throw in there, and is now just assured by the sound of the machine on Rinse. Right now, even as I type this, she’s at the store looking for a new carpet for the entryway of our house, because the old one wouldn’t do anymore; but five minutes before she left, she was laid out on the couch complaining of feeling sick and tired and uncomfortable, too uncomfortable to move.

It is one of nature’s cruel jokes, really. There is a certain species of moth Schopenhauer writes of, which emerges from its cocoon with full reproductive and digestive systems, yet has no mouth. The moth lays its eggs—it reproduces—and then, as its stomach dictates, it goes to find food. But, for lack of its mouth, it quickly starves to death. In my own observations, I find that Alli’s discomfort/nesting paradox is a similar nasty trick.

In case you are wondering, yes, as far as we can tell, our time in Pittsburgh is winding down. We plan to have one final school year here, which ends in late April, and move back to California. In light of this, I really should be writing my thesis right now, rather than you all, but this is more fun. By the time we wrap up finding me a job, and selling our house, and getting back across the country, Jonah will be about eight or nine months old. I will be thirty. Alli will be twenty-six. In dog years, Ray and Kenny will be in their early-to-mid twenties, ready to party. How did we get here? I wonder sometimes. Alli was only twenty when we first started dating, and there was no such person as Jonah, or Kenny, or Ray. Ten years ago I was running around my dorm, covered only in the suds from my shower, grunting like a monster, pretending to be the Abominable Soap Man. Nowadays, I don’t do that nearly as often as I used to. Back then, we celebrated the thirtieth birthday of my R.D. He was about the only real grown up I knew. And now, I am among them, among these grown ups. Eek. It is strange to see myself—and to see Alli—entering these brand new stages, returning home from a three-year journey with a child and two dogs in tow. It will happen very, very soon. How, I ask you, do these things happen?

I imagine I will ask these same questions, in new ways, again and again over the years—as I have been doing since I began driving stick shift (“When did I get to be so big that they trust me with all this?—I could kill someone pretty easily, if I wanted to. Just yesterday it seems I was learning to cross the street, and now, look!”). Anyhow, it is a strange thing to reflect on, I’m sure you understand. Alli and I are feeling very proud and excited; we are building a family, and love, and we can’t wait to get home again to do it with you.

We love and miss you very much.

Carlos & Alli

Peculiar Graces: Shim Gets A Name (Or At Least A Sex)

In Allison, Jonah, Peculiar Graces, Pitt, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized on 17 April 2007 at 1:25 PM

Friends,

Now that I am an expecting parent, and now that I have an expecting mother for a wife, I have begun to reflect a little more than usual on all kinds of things, like how little my wife asks of me—Will you make me waffles? Will you get me a bottle of water? Will you go out in the snow and buy me a strawberry-banana smoothy? Will you get your damn feet away from me?—in comparison with how much I’m asking of her—Will you make me my child? And I have begun to notice some things that have at once frightened me, filled my eyes with tears, and made me laugh. I am here now to tell you about some of these things.

First of all, we are already getting old. Kind of. Last weekend, Alli and I were at a party, a party full of people from the university, young people, crazy people, cool people, people without children, and there was a game among them called Beer Pong, and there was retro 80s music coming through the speakers, and there was dancing, and there were all kinds of funny, witty people talking about this or that funny or cool thing, and at one point we were trying to talk to our friend, Adam, about a short story he’d composed an entered into a contest (a contest, by the way, we’d both entered, and both lost), and he was trying to explain one thing or another, and, out of nowhere, Alli said: “I’m sorry—will someone please turn that music down?”

And it occurred to me in that moment: She will make one hell of a mother. I already imagine her banging on Shim’s bedroom door, telling Shim to turn the g.d. music down, dammit, and then Shim will come to me to complain, whining to me that Mom won’t let Shim experience Shim’s music, and I’ll say (while sitting in my dad’s-chair, perhaps reading a newspaper) almost indifferently (like Jack Arnold from The Wonder Years), “Listen to your mother.”

As for me, I have begun, against my will and better judgment, to like clothing from the Banana Republic. I am wearing a brown pair of pants from there as I type this, and they are warm and snug and soft and—I think—cool. I’m a Banana Republic guy now. I admire their clothing. I go around wearing stuff from the Banana Republic, and I’ll admit it to anyone who asks, and I don’t feel like a yuppi, or at least I don’t mind looking like one anymore. These are nice pants, with clean lines, sleek, not second-hand or worn-in, but new, brand new, from the Banana Republic store itself, and I pull them up all the way to my waist, and they fit perfectly, as they are made to—which brings up another issue: My mother, the purchaser of these pants (for my birthday), was told by Alli that I’d gained some weight, and that anything with a 34-inch waist probably would not fit me anymore, so when these arrived in the mail from Mom, the 36”x34” tag seemed to scream out at me, “Hey, fatso! Yeah, you! I’m from the Banana Republic! I am your future! Do not fight it! Not only do I represent the end of the days that you go to the thrift stores for ironic, young-looking clothes, but you’re gonna try me on, and you’re gonna like me, and you’re gonna marvel at how well I fit you! Ha!”

These are hard days, my friends—hard days, indeed. (Thanks a lot, Mom.)

Earlier today, as I recounted the above details to Alli, demonstrating to her our growing into our new roles as Mom & Dad (or, at least, as Beyond Rock Music and Beyond Hip Ironic Clothing), she pointed out another: When I lie down on the couch to read, it is inevitable that within five minutes I am asleep, asleep, sprawled all over the couch like spilled water, snoring, mouth open, saliva pouring from my mouth. “That’s a dad if I ever saw one,” she said, laughing at me.

Yes. Okay. Fine.

According to BabyCenter.com, as of last week Shim can hear and distinguish voices. This was great news, and frightening. Our immediate thought was to read Shim some poetry, you know, to let Shim hear the rhythms and beauty of the written word in its highest form, but, as concerned parents, the obvious questions arose: What poetry should I read? Is Shim too young to be exposed to the horrors of reality that Shakespeare or Dante or Milton might have in store? Would it be sexist to expose Shim only to male poets? Should I read poetry in the classic and pleasing iambic rhythms (so that Shim may more easily engage with the sing-song part of the words) or should I read Shim free-verse poetry, exposing Shim to the subtler, perhaps more “refined” tastes of modern and contemporary verse? Were I to expose Shim to Sylvia Plath, would Shim grow up to hate “Daddy” and go crazy and kill shimself? Would I only confuse or depress Shim (as I surely would confuse and depress me) if I started Shim off with some Emily Dickinson?

We finally decided to read Shim some of the sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay, to expose Shim to a beautiful and easy iambic pentameter, the facts of life, and a feminine voice that is at once strong and vulnerable:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Then we explained to Shim that if Shim ever understands the life experiences it took to write that poem, Shim will be grounded for a month.

So now, here is one great big thing that frightened me, filled my eyes with tears, and made me laugh: This morning, Alli and I went to the place where we find whether Shim is a She or a Him. They did the ultrasound, and we have been assured that, between the two names we’ve more or less settled on—Jonah Aaron & Anna Sophia—we get to save Anna Sophia for the next time around, because it looks like I’m the proud papa of a baby boy.

And so I have been thrown back into my own childhood, recalling images of me and my father, all kinds of them, swimming in the ocean with him, holding onto his neck for dear life through each oncoming wave, or his convincing me that to push in the car’s cigarette lighter was really to activate the car’s turbo speed, or his “eating” crayons and then pulling them out of his neck, or watching him play soccer and playing soccer with him, and his thick hands, and his enormous ears, and to lie on his chest and sleep, and the strength in his voice, and here I am now, turning into the father of a son, becoming the most important image of life and God I myself was given as a boy, and I am feeling tremendous and powerful things, and my God, I am thankful, and humble, and happy.

Thanks to you all for your support, and your friendship, and your prayers. Love to you.

Carlos & Alli