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Welcome, Nathan.

(This was originally sent as an email to Nathan, with friends and family BCCed.)

Nathan—
You were born last Thursday, eight pounds and two ounces, and with an unmeasurable amount of love.

It was the best day of my life. I never wanted to say that; I always thought that would somehow mean that Meghan wasn’t important. But I realized yesterday that she and I started seeing each other gradually, that getting engaged and married were small steps for us. You, on the other hand, were a sudden change. One day we’re expecting you, and the next I’m standing in a hospital, you in one arm while I’m eating takeout Thai food with the other, like it’s something I’ve done all my life, like it’s the most natural thing ever.

You are three days old today. You are the most precious thing in the whole world. Everybody knows it; everybody who sees you agrees (as they must!) that you are the cutest thing ever. You coo and gurgle and cluck and croak while you doze. You blink your deep blue eyes and look around, almost as if you could focus on things. And when your stubborn little self doesn’t want his legs moved, you put up far more fight than any reasonable person would expect from such a tiny, tiny body.

And tiny it is. Before you were born, we looked at these tiny little shirts and pants and wondered if they’d be too small to fit you when you were born. And at a healthy eight pounds, it seems like we should be able to fit two of you in there. Tiny, but complete in every respect: A tiny nose, tiny lips, tiny fingers, tiny fingernails, and even tiny eyelashes.

I’m learning more about myself every day. I never realized how much I could do with one arm. I didn’t think I could talk nonsense for hours on end (though your mamma might have already known). I never would have guessed that I’d be so blase about fresh poo covering my fingers. And I certainly didn’t know how many songs could bring tears to my eyes when I try to sing them.

“Sleep, pretty darling, do not cry.” “What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy.” Indeed.

Speaking of strong: Your mamma is the strongest person ever; I admire her so much I can’t find words to express it. From the time she woke up in labor pains to the time you were born was less than twelve hours, which is just amazing. She fought through more pain than she ever has experienced in her life, and brought you into this world fully functioning, fully miraculous. I will never forget what she went through, and how strong she stayed through it all.

Watching her go through labor was scary. Now, it’s scary being responsible for such a fragile, precious person. But I think we’ll make it. The other night, your mamma was taking a bath, and I was holding you in the rocking chair, talking nonsense to you. To bug her, I told you, “And we’ll teach you all about intelligent design, and the war on terror.” Unfortunately, she didn’t hear me, but you—you scrunched up your face like I’d said the most horrible thing you ever wanted to hear.

I think we’ll make it.

There was so much more that I was going to say, but I’m starting to tear up again. Your mamma and papa love you more than they ever thought possible. Know that always.

A postscript: It’s now day five; obviously, I didn’t send this when I expected to. So much isn’t going as expected. True, we have now had the Endless Sleepless Night and the Indelible Radioactive Stain (we’re waiting for the Long-Duration Intercounty Ballistic Scream and the Fifteen Megaton Diaper Explosion). But I haven’t had more than ten minutes to sit down at the computer, some kind of local minimum for me. And also surprising, you’ve already gained back your entire birth weight (and a little more!).

And Meghan continues to amaze me; she’s producing enough milk for you and another one or two like you. I hope, when you’re old enough (like when you have a child of your own), you come to admire her as much as I do.

Love—
Ben