By the time you’re able to read this, I’m confident that this will all be ancient history. For you, no memory, just a story we tell, the irrelevant reality of your first months of life, and, for us, something from the past that we try hard not to think about.
But that doesn’t change how it all feels right now, as I look at you, sleeping quietly in your incubator, as I watch the monitor to make sure the numbers look okay, not that I can do anything when they don’t. I’m scared. I’m scared, I’m tired, and I’m sorry.
I’m sorry that this is the only life you know. I’m sorry your home is an incubator, and you’re in there all alone. That human contact is intermittent, mostly through a plastic wall, and perhaps not when you most need comfort. I’m sorry we haven’t held you in days because we’re either fighting a cold or worried that we’re fighting a cold and that there’s no way to explain the risks to you — why you can hear our voices but not feel our skin, why we’re so near but so far, and why we leave every afternoon but don’t take you with us, why we can’t take you with us.
I’m sorry you’re hooked up to wires and machines, that your blood keeps getting drawn, that there’s a mask on your face that you’re trying to tear off and a tube in your mouth that you’re trying to pull out. But of course you can’t — and if you did, they’d just put them right back — and that surely makes it even more frustrating. I’m sorry when you look uncomfortable, and we can’t do anything about it, that being poked and prodded and taped and restrained and tortured is what your life is right now, and has been since you were born, and that there’s no way for you to understand that this isn’t forever. That this incubator isn’t your home, that these wires aren’t always going to be with you, that you will one day be free, be held, be loved.