Strong, and in the Fight | Jason James


On a day 12-years-plus ago, when my wife again became a mom, she asked I write to her, our new girl:


Before you were born, your mom suggested with insistence I write to you. I waited, procrastinated, until I arrived at what was right for me to first say. After some words as prelude, I wrote what I first saw, and that I was scared for you.


Your skin at first was very pale, and you were very quiet. I saw your umbilical cord had twined around, tangled and tightened and noosed around your neck.


I scrawled this imagery in blue ballpoint on the lined white pages of the fancy hardcover diary your mom had bought me. I haven’t since reread one word of this run-on entry I wrote for you. But from time to time those moments play back, unexpectedly, inescapably, and shuddering.


The hospital midwife tending to your birth, we landed on calling her Karen Burrito, a detail I’d forgotten. I remember though, she finger tugged and untangled the noose away, quickly and without her making a fuss. You were very quiet for a while, and some point you cried, and that was a very good sign.


She warmed you, skin to skin, by curling you up on your mom, the best way to sync-up and get warm. Then she wrapped you into a cozy little blanket burrito bundle, and later in the day, your color returned to your face and body. And now for you, I journal wrote to you, you’ve made it, now it’s your day two.


I look back to those moments with thoughts of horror — of losing you, my new daughter, or losing her, your mom, or you both together from that day. Those thoughts arrive at odd times. I blink to clear my sight. I breathe long to calm my chest. I’m left in awe. I see again in my head. You keep on fighting on.


I envy the strength you simply have within you. God, I’ve spent my life trying to prove myself that way. You, already, in every moment, you just always have been.


You lean into your life. You did. You still do. You are ready, it is clear, always to push back. I envy that. You are strong and in the fight. While it’s my job to teach and guide and build, I realize I do while I try to be strong and fight on, more like you.



Jason James is an award-winning essayist and journalist. Follow his work on BuzzardDigital.com and at GreatPacificReview.com.


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