*An April 2008 letter I wrote to my BFF’s overdue baby*
I won’t come right out and say I have a bone to pick with you, cuz I don’t want to ugly up your aura right off the bat. But, we need to address why you are taking your sweet time showing up. Seriously, why are you torturing us? We just want to meet you, that is all. And, you will learn: coming from me, that is HUGE! Meeting new people is right up there on my list with Root Canals and Conversations with my Landlord. Not a big fan. I get nervous and self-conscious and, on occasion, my hands have been known to shake. But you are different. I need some questions answered. Are you gonna have freakishly long legs like your mom? Severe ADD like your dad? Will you have an attitude? Should I start saving up for bail money right now? Or should I save my money for all the philanthropic endeavors you’ll get involved with? Oh, it would also be kinda cool to know if you got girl parts or boy parts. That ol’ chestnut. But you should know—I’ll be calling you Cheetara regardless.
Most importantly for me: your sense of humor. Are you gonna be clever and make people really work to make you laugh, or are you gonna sell out and laugh when adults jiggle their car keys? (Seriously, people, come up with something new; jiggling car keys is played out, uninspired and laaaaame). Either way, I’m prepared to handle both, as I have a niece who wasn’t an easy sell: when she was all of four months old, her and I would get into intense staring contests. I would lay on the couch, prop her up on my knees, and just stare at her. And the little shit would just stare back!!! And there we’d sit. For a good, solid 5 minutes. Just staring each other down. I refused to crack first. She, meanwhile, would survey my entire face—eyes searching, furrowed brow, lines in her forehead, laser-like focus. Intense. Finally, she would apparently find what she was looking for and break into the biggest, doofiest grin and I would feel immediately victorious. I GOT HER TO CRACK! I MADE THE BABY SMILE! BY DOING NOTHING! I digress…
Is it your parents? Is that the hold up? Cuz, I can assure you, they rock. Your mom is the biggest sweetheart I’ve ever known and your father is balls-out hilarious (we’ll discuss the camera he’s set up in your crib to spy on you 24/7 at a later date). Can I say balls-out? Do you mind? If you mind, you and I already have issues. I am not very eloquent sometimes. But, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. You know. Like, when you stop shitting your pants and barfing all over unsuspecting adults long enough to learn how to speak. What was that I was saying about not being eloquent? Anyway.
If it’s not your parents, maybe you are worried about me? You shouldn’t be. I got the Auntie thing down pat, and there are three children in Canada who can attest to that. Thanks to the world’s coolest older sister, I’ve been doing the aunt thing since I was 11, I am well practiced. I’ve changed diapers, stayed up all night, cleaned up puke, dealt with tantrums in the middle of mall food courts (thanks, Sky), and I do it all with style, aplomb and a wicked sense of humor. As a result, I’ve got them snowed. They think I totally rock and have no idea how lame I really am, it’s effing great. We’ll talk about the substitution of “effing” later as well.
I feel compelled to mention that you shouldn’t be scared about the Mohawk words I may or may not use around you. It’s just what us Native folk do. Years of assimilation have rendered our language useless, so we “modern” Natives don’t know the traditional language that well. All except for a few key phrases. ‘Be quiet’, ‘sit down’, ‘get away from that’, ‘don’t touch that’, ‘hurry up’, ‘play that funky music white boy’, ‘the drummer from Def Leppard’s only got one arm’. You get the idea. I can also sing a few songs and play a few games in Mohawk, both of which will help with your hand-eye coordination. Then, you can accurately smack any younger siblings square in the face later on down the line. Shhhh, that can be our secret. I won’t tell your mom. But, we both grew up as the first in line in a trio of children. I suspect she might know a thing or two about a well-timed bitch slap. I sure as hell do. Don’t tell my mom I said that.
Cheetara, I have known your mom for 22 or 23 years (only amateurs keep track, that’s what all the experts say). We had identical dresses in elementary school that we’d wear on the same day. I’ve been with her for birthdays, graduations, and other inane milestones. I sweat it out in 90-degree heat under a pound of makeup, fake eyelashes, 4 cans of hairspray and 3 layers of lilac fabric to stand on the altar with her when she got married (I’ll tell you about how pretty I looked at a later date. Probably after we tackle the boundary issues that will surely result from that little camera deal I mentioned above). We’re kinda..how would you say it….BFF’s? So, I am hella anxious to see how this all plays out.
In conclusion: Don’t be scared! We’re good people!
Ready in Rochester,
*Details of Cheetara’s birth story emerged 4 years later when I wrote another pre-birth note to his little sister, affectionately referred to as “Kid B”*
When your brother was just a wee little “knife sharpener” I also composed a letter to him, so this is a ritual. I complained about his late arrival. You see, we had it in our heads that he’d arrive early. Cut to him being 4 days late and really messing up our plans. On the day he arrived I was gonna take a leisurely drive through the country; maybe go duck hunting or visit a cigar store. But he had other plans. So, there I was, sitting in a hospital waiting room til 5 in the morning while my “allergies” took the express train to “full-blown sinus infection.”
That wasn’t even the worst part. I imagined the room that the Welcoming Station sent me to would be full of friends and family, chattering away with excitement. We’d maybe start a water balloon fight or a Raisinette throwing contest. Jokes about dirty diapers and bottle duty, har har har. You’ll sympathize with me when I tell you the room I actually arrived at was at the end of a deadly silent hallway and eerily devoid of any traffic. It was not until I heard your mother breathe out that I realized I’d been sent to Ground Zero: The Birthing Room.
Flop sweat/panic attack/existential crisis ensued. I gathered up the courage to knock on the door. Your dad answered and we just stared at each other with an intensity only matched by two naive teenagers drafted into Vietnam. Not sure of much, just that a) we’d never be the same after this; and, b) this might actually be a nice place to visit under different circumstances. He directed me to the waiting room.
Which is where things got really bad.
Your brother was said to be arriving at midnight. I assume he was “arriving” in a limo and that his driver “got lost,” cuz Homeskillet never showed up til well past 3 am. And there I sat. Waiting for him. Watching “Girls Gone Wild.” With your grandfathers. Plural. As in, both of them.
Kid B, I tell you, the whole scene was bad news bears.