Dear Baby #3,
Hi. I'm your dad.
Today is Thanksgiving, and of all the things I'm thankful for today, the most intense is you. I'm thankful for your mom, of course, and for Maddie and Simon and all of our family and friends near and far. But as I sit here tonight while everybody else sleeps, full of turkey and apple dumplings, all of my thoughts of the past and future are for you.
I want to tell you a story. It's going to seem a bit of a strange story, because it doesn't start out so great for you, dearest third child. But give me the benefit of the doubt here and hear me out. I think you'll like it in the end.
For me, the story of you and how you came to be starts with your pregnant mom crying her eyes out in the passenger seat of a car parked in a small lot behind a Subway in Issaquah while I looked on in awe and confusion. You're going to think she was pregnant with you, obviously, but she wasn't. That was Simon in there. See, while driving to the Subway to get your mom one of the tuna subs she so desperately needed, your mom and I had been having what I thought was a casual conversation about how many children we ultimately wanted. This was a conversation that had been going on since (literally) the day we met. I remarked (casually) that I wasn't sure I wanted more than two, because at the time, even that many seemed terrifying and daunting. Maddie was a handful and I didn't even know Simon yet. Three seemed incomprehensibly crazy.
The conversation continued on its usual course, but by the time we parked, your mother was suddenly sobbing. "What's wrong?!" I asked, in a tone more shocked than anything. The outburst seemed out of nowhere to me, and honestly that wasn't all that unusual while your mother was pregnant. "This just can't be my last pregnancy," she said through her tears.
The thing I had failed to realize will likely be obvious to you: She loved you even then. At a time when I was feeling overwhelmed by the mere thought of raising two children, at a time when Simon still hadn't even been born and all of my thoughts for the future seemed to rest with him, your mom was already imagining you and singing you songs in her head. So deep was her love for you and her need for you that my casual remark had taken on far more weight than I'd intended. To her, you weren't an abstract idea of 'maybe a third someday'. You were real and you were you.
There's more to this tale, of course, because a lot of things happened between then and now, and I'll tell you about all of them, but here we are, two years after that day, and now I can feel what she was feeling. Now you are you and I can't imagine anything else. She's always been ahead of me in things like this.
I love you, whoever you are in there. I love you whether you are a boy or a girl and whatever we end up naming you. I love you whether you're loud or contemplative or silly. I love you whether you're a baseball player or an astronaut or a saxophonist. I love you whether you are all of these things or none of them. You are wonderful and I can't wait to meet you.