The nurse hands me my son. He’s minutes old, hued in that familiar, faint purple newborn flesh. I take his tiny body in my hands, which seem massive in proportion, and bring him to my chest. He’s draped in standard-issue hospital swaddle, no longer crying as his tiny cheek and the small O-shape of his mouth find my neck and shoulder. I secure him there, nervously checking that his air passages are free of obstructions.
I’ve wondered about this boy for perhaps a lifetime. Now, I marvel at how much grandeur could be brought to me in so little a package.
He’s been here all of 20 minutes. And as I draw him close to me for the first time, the dam breaks as my tears pour down without impediment. I’m no stranger to tears, but I never quite know when they’ll show up — or the tales they’ll tell when they arrive.
I feel the softness of him on my shoulder. It’s been two weeks since I confirmed that my biological father is in fact my mother’s fertility doctor. I’ve been remarkably calm about all of that.
I am at the intersection of two divergent roads traveled by two men. Like a ViewMaster toy, the hazy images color in my mind of my father with his knife blade of a jaw and jet black hair. I imagine he held me this way, looked at me, fell in love with me in this simple, transcendent moment.
Perhaps he was overwhelmed by the vastness of the world and simultaneously confident that he now held its strings. His cherub-faced, fair-skinned son, here at last. Five years of dreams and failures and a trial-and-error sperm donation tossed out the window in the wondrous eyes of a little boy.
The other divergent road is the man who made me, and invited or not, he’s here.
He is a part of me as much as my own son is part of me, the fabric from which I was woven. I have misgivings about the man and the dishonesty and ego he used to wield his power over my family, over me.
But I am not here without him, in this outdated hospital room holding the most obvious example of what a miracle it is to be alive at all. I am a product of these two men, and I’ve vacillated between caring and pretending not to care. I have reasoned that my creation was not — is not — special because of the how.
Oh well. All is rendered moot in the tiny body of a 7lb 7oz baby boy. If I am the complicated manifestation of two men, I am now holding the product of it all in my arms.
And he is singular in his magic.
I have made these preceding experiences complicated by treating them as such. But I am struck by how simple life is now, and how powerless I am to complicate it.
My boy coos softly, big eyes wandering for the first time. He’s oblivious to all that came before him. And just like my father before me, I see how little it matters anyway.