Monday, December 25, 2006

Julian Nissen

Julian in his grandfather's arms, Christmas eve, in one of his few outfits small enough to fit.

I started a few entries that never quite made it to publication. I started writing a lengthy account of the night of Julian's birth. I soon realized that words could do it no justice, and that it was simply too personal to share. It was one of those 'you really had to be there' moments-- yet it was only meant for the three of us, with a midwife and nurse. It was truly a private moment-- a beautiful moment-- but there is nothing clever or witty to say. The moment spoke for itself. It needed no narration or caption. Julian entered this world. I watched him take his very first breath as he lay on a mat on the floor, beneath a birthing chair. I watched in amazement as I realized I was meeting my son for the first time, how something in my world had forever changed. Julian was now part of our world, never able to return to his comfort inside his mother. For all the hostility and cruelty in the world, it is still an overwhelmingly beautiful place. Powerful forces were at work in the birthing room that night. I quickly forgot my feelings of guilt at the pain and discomfort that Lise experienced. More than anything, I was immeasurably thankful that Lise and Julian were fine. I still am.

We are a week into our new family, and a few observations come to mind. Newborns mostly sleep and eat. There is little involved with "diaper duty," since newborn poo is mysteriously odor free. Julian is starting to grow eyelashes, and he is already much better at controlling his eye movement. When he makes eye contact, it is very intense. While other infants' crying borders on annoying, our son's tear-free cries are music to our ears. His skin color is much better, and he is starting to fill out. He literally becomes cuter by the minute.

I haven't even begun my paternity leave-- this is Christmas vacation. I don't know when I will return to work. My boss stopped by to give Julian a gift on Saturday, and reassured me not to think of work during this time. It is wonderful to be able to take this much time to bond with Julian. It is incredible how much I can love someone who I just met. It will be difficult to rearrange my priorities to include such frivolous activities as work, or even watching TV. But at some point, I will need to integrate my work life with our family life. We still need to put food on the table. Right now I can do little more than look at him-- even though he doesn't do much. I don't see how I will possibly be able to work from home!

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