For a long time, I thought it was only going to be me and your mama.
I sit here in the exam room, nervous, excited, and scared. The emotional roller coaster felt like a high school graduation, first date, and a police arrest all rolled up in one. I’ve seen some pretty awe-inspiring and beautiful things in my life, but looking at you this morning, I’m left utterly speechless.
You had an older sister who came before you, but we lost her before she was even born. While in your mother’s belly, she swam through a loop in her umbilical cord and pulled the knot tight. The doctors said it was rare—one-half of one percent, they said. However small, we became a pregnancy statistic.
We spent many months in deep sadness. What did we do wrong? Was this bachi for some indiscretion from our past? Was this nature’s way of telling us we didn’t qualify as parents?
Then you came along.
This afternoon your mother lies on the table while the technician roams the ultrasound wand around her belly. She comments on the images on the flickering overhead monitor, as features and shapes came into focus.
At twelve weeks, you are only two inches in length, but it felt like you filled the room. In six months you will fill our lives.
I ask the technician nervous questions.
“Where’s the arms? Where’s the legs? What’s the gender?” I ask, staring open-mouthed at the monitor, watching your fuzzy image move around in your mother’s womb.
The technician tried to find your appendages, and said gender couldn’t be determined until week 20. Her responses reassuring, calming.
“There’s the left arm,” she said.
You held it up as if to shield the bright light of the ultrasound machine. I know that’s not really possible, but I wanted to imagine you responding to our curiosity. In reality, you were probably just brushing away an itch, or maybe testing out your new muscles—that one day would be used to pitch a baseball to me in our back yard. That’s all in the future—one filled with hopes and dreams. I knew you would still be bathed in darkness for another six months as you grow into the little person you’ll be.
Little do you know, you are lighting up the room. And our world.
You move around a lot. Maybe you’ll be athletic, and grow up to be a star tennis player. Your mother and I will get complimentary box tickets to Wimbledon someday and sit in the front row. But for right now, I’ll be happy to build Lego houses with you on the living room floor.
The technician says your brain looks to be developing normally. Maybe someday you’ll find a cure for cancer. Your mother and I will spend an extra week in Stockholm after we watch you accept the Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine. But for now, I’ll be happy to show you your first sunrise from the beach in Kaneohe where I learned to swim as a child.
Your mother, who is taking hula lessons will likely teach you her craft. I will make sure you learn my cooking skills and how to fish so you never go hungry. For now, I’ll be happy to hold your hand as you take those few tentative and halting first steps as you learn to walk.
Your mother gives the best hugs. You will be the lucky recipient of many of them throughout your life. If you’re a girl, I’ll make sure you don’t have to rely on your boyfriend or husband to do a tune-up on your car. If you’re a boy, mama will teach you how to be a gentleman and to respect your elders. Mahalo and aloha go so much farther if they’re backed up by sincere oluolu (sincerity) or haa (humility).
You don’t know this yet, but I’m already proud of you.
I don’t know what your future holds, my love. I struggle with words as I contemplate the start of your wonderful life, and a new chapter in ours.
Even though I know it’ll be the middle of next year before I get to see your little face, touch your tiny hands, and inhale your sweet baby scent, I want it to all happen now, but I have to take this slowly, and savor every minute of our lives together.
The Choys welcomed their first-born son, Carter Nicholas Kealoha Choy, into the world in November 2014.
Nick Choy is a writer, blogger and experienced public information and public relations professional in strategic communications and planning at Fortune 100 and 500 companies. Born and raised in Kahaluu on the island of Oahu, he resides with his wife and two sons in Vancouver, Washington.