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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

There wasn’t a clear moment when I decided I was ready to be a parent, as if it were something I needed to do, and “today is the day.”  Instead, it happened more like this: your mother and I (which feels weird to say considering we only passed a pregnancy test yesterday) had made a lot of trips to Tazewell, VA.  (so far in 2011 due to Uncle Eddie being in the hospital, then passing away, then the baby shower of your cousin Pearl, and then when Dana passed away).

These seem like inconsistent reasons for considering parenthood, but family is most important and we were taking a hard look at ours.  We’d just returned from our second winter trip to Mexico, precluded by a different story of driving to the US border and back in five days, the result of another family circumstance involving your grandfather.  (who doesn’t know about you as I write this, but has said he wanted the hypothetical you to call him Groove Pa).  Rearing children seemed like crazy talk, but we were making a lot of it.

Once you get to know your mother and I a little better, you will understand why the final decision to be “ready or not” came as an impulsive push through much back and forth deliberation.  We’ve had long conversations, some of them selfish, some of them principled, all of them anticipatory.  I suppose we never decided the timing was perfect, but we finally became ready to hand time over to biology and fate.

Apologies dear child, I’m having a hard getting to the bottom of a good explanation.  (I ramble often, and start too many thoughts).   I want you to know the world as it is for your mother and I, in the days that barely precede you.   On an afternoon drive through the Virginia mountains with your Groove Pa,  the subject of children came up.

Your Groove Pa was a wild, young pro motorcross racer and started working in the mines to support your infant mother.  I asked him if it was hard to put his racing dreams to the side and he said, “No, it felt good.  Like I was doing something for my baby girl.”  There is a similar story on my side, about my father and the dream of a farm in Western Kentucky.

Child, as I write this I don’t have much figured out.  My triumphs have been quiet ones and my resources don’t make fatherhood look rational.  I have the feeling that your upbringing will be an interesting one, and it is my belief that you will be an extraordinary person.

All I know about you is a plus sign on a test strip.  They say you’ll have heart beat in a week or so.  As you’re developing to begin your story, I’m going to tell you mine.  And the one about the rest of our folks, as far back as I’ve heard told.  You’ll need to know that, too.

Google predicts you will be here on December 14.  That’s good, I can work with a deadline.

end of letter

Blog readers:

I apologize for the period of silence.  Ashley and I found out last week that we are pregnant.  That becomes the only news, and there was nothing else I could get on here to say.  I decided to share a piece of this letter to break the silence.  I intend to make it a memoir of sorts, but really it’s just what you’ve read that exists.

Ashley and I are thrilled.  Bewildered.  I don’t know what else to say right now, except for baby names.

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