Dear Malin Reese,
A couple months before you were born, I wrote a letter to you about your Mom. I put it in a small frame and gifted it to her on the day of her baby shower. I told you in that letter that I wanted you to know how beautiful she was, in that moment, 7 months into nurturing you to life. She owned that whole maternal beauty glow thing, even when she tried to undermine it by belching like Shrek after a hearty swig of soda. That framed letter is resting on the bookshelf in your room and I catch myself picking it up from time to time. It’s a great reminder of a small window of time in her pregnancy but it’s also a living, breathing monument to our lives together. We made it. It’s not noteworthy or cause for celebration. But it’s pretty damn cool and I think it’s important that you know our history. Here’s a quick story about the first time I asked your Mom out.
In 8th grade, I had a center-parted bowl cut, shaved on the sides. I wore jean shorts that were way too big for me and t-shirts that hid my elbows. I was 5 ft. 9 inches of pure sex. I met your Mom the year before when I dated her best friend Joanna. (Joanna and your Mom are still best friends and she is essentially a second Mom to you). We didn’t have any classes together but I met in her passing when Joanna introduced us in the hallway. Little did I know that your Mom was already plotting her way into my life, best friend be damned. Fast forward a year and I was now a single 8th grader after having been unceremoniously dumped by Joanna. (Joanna may have a different recollection of this event) Your Mom and I had a few classes together and developed a friendship pretty quickly.
It soon became clear that if your Mom was going to date someone, it had to be me. I was one of the 3 or 4 guys taller than she was (she was already 5 ft. 8 inches in 8th grade) and I could make her laugh. Also, I was a tower of pure sex. A couple of her friends approached me on December 9th of that year and told me that was the day I needed to man up and ask her out. They told her the same thing, so she was ready for me when I approached her in the cafeteria. I was about halfway to her seat when she stood up and bolted out of the door and into the courtyard. Turns out she wasn’t looking to play a friendly game of hide and go seek. Speaking of hide and seek, there’s a terribly inappropriate Anne Frank hide and seek joke I’ll tell you one day. Anyways, I eventually caught up with your Mom, embarrassed us both with some awkward wordplay and officially sealed the deal. It’s been a hectic, sometimes trying but always beautiful life since then.
I’m going to continue to share stories of how your Mom and I came to be. Even if you’re not interested 5, 10, 15 years from now, I know you will be one day. I hope you get to experience what I’ve experienced with your Mom, to build a life with someone who you love beyond reason. One last thing; I promise you I won’t share the story of how and where you were conceived.
Dad of a beautiful little girl. Husband to an amazing woman. Son and sibling of a perfectly weird and wonderful family.