We are all miracles. Cells. Skin. Blood. Breath. When we grow up from our tiny helplessness, some of us decide to welcome our own children.
Grace. Our beautiful daughter came from us — my husband and I. We wanted a family almost 13 years ago and so it was. She grew inside of me, all somersaults and kicks as I would (try to) fall asleep. My body never knew another pregnancy past 12 weeks after she was born. I could focus on the losses and pain that came with that, but what I love to remember is the ultrasound to find out she was a girl. Or the curried chicken salad I would eat at the sandwich shop on 4th Street almost every weekday during my second trimester. Or how I craved crushed ice (yes, I was anemic — didn’t know at the time). That the smell of treated wood at Home Depot would make me swoon like baking cookies or vanilla might affect someone else. I remember her daddy narrating her arrival. Her fat, pink body held up to me screaming and gasping. The first words I said to her: “There you are!” — a miracle from my body placed upon my body.
Christopher. Our beautiful son, a Native Hawaiian, came from a young woman who loved him with her whole heart. And in a complex mix of pain, certainty, doubt, love, grief, and promise, she shared him with us. His mother also let me be his mother. I could focus on my own fear and uncertainty around the placement of this baby boy into our lives, but what I remember was his birth mother’s phone call to tell us we were going to have a son. Or knowing — absolutely knowing — at the stoplight at Bardstown Road and Trevilian Way, that we would name him his father’s middle name. Waking up next to him the first night in the hotel bed and looking at his black hair as I peeked into the drawer where I’d swaddled him to sleep (no bassinets or cribs at the Kauai Inn). And the passengers in my row on the first leg of the 15 hour flight home that would hold him for me when I had to use the restroom or stretch my legs.
Five years ago on May 1st, my son was born and my daughter was born into a new life as a sister. I’ve accomplished and created a lot of things in my life of which I’m very proud. Sometimes I wonder to myself, “what makes me think I can do all of this?”
And the answer is that I just know I can. That it will be.
But here’s what the journey of creating my family did: it cranked up the volume (and ripped off the knob) as far as my belief in miracles in this life.
There are other ways to know this even if you don’t want to be a parent, of course; but for me, 20 minutes of pushing a 9 lb. 4 oz. baby girl into the world and hours of flying to receive our keiki o ka ‘aina (child of the islands) really showed me what I was made of in a huge way. My daughter and son let me see, in the purest forms, what boundless love and infinite possibilities can be. Happy 5th birthday, Christopher Kai.