“You can’t will a memory. Sure, you can doggedly recall details, but the true moment when details merge with feeling – when the scene is alive – cannot be artificially born. It’s like combing the ocean, calling up the abyss – you don’t know what you will receive.” – Natalie Goldberg
The day my daughter Aryn was born was truly miraculous. Not in the biblical sense, but in a WOW! kind of way. She came easily compared to my oldest son: labor was short and the room was quiet and empty. The only sound besides the breathing and the beeping of monitors was the strains of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” over the tiny speaker mounted at the head of the bed. I remember thinking how appropriate and miraculous it was.
She cried, but it was muffled and sweet, not a banshee wail of awakening and frustration.
I never believed I would have a daughter. For reasons that are too convoluted and irrational to dwell on. Following the ultrasound that revealed her gender, I sighed heavily and smiled that Cheshire Cat sort of smile.
It snowed that day. We drove through slush clogged avenues to get to the hospital after my wife’s water broke. We took the time to stop for breakfast – Garsy was calm and starving. And then the hours slid by, minutes melted together and carried us through a silent time of anticipation and nervous contemplation. We had waited so long for a second child.
So much of that day lives in who Aryn is today. She is the quietest of the bunch, and despises the din of crowds or loud music. And she’s pensive to the point of being described as lost. Those who know her best see into the silence and realize she is creating, giving birth to the thoughts and dreams of childhood, shaping a personality that is innocent and wide awake with wonder.
When her older brother held her for the first time, he said “Thanks for buying this for me, dad!” I laughed the kind of unexpected full laugh that comes none-too-often and yet is oh-so-welcomed. I insisted that her middle name be April, for I had been dreaming of her all my life.