These past few months have certainly been challenging, and we’re all continuing to figure out how to roll with this new reality that will likely be our new normal for a long time to come. Will the world ever be what it was? Probably not. Then again, that’s part of life, isn’t it? This is just a more extreme version.
At times, an itty bitty part of me goes down the sad path, knowing that you’ll be born into a world that often disappoints. But then I experience moments that remind me of what the world can be, what really and truly matters, always. What remains. Like picking wild berries at the Wolff house. I'd been waiting since we first arrived here in March for these berries to ripen, and last weekend I finally got to pick some, as I used to do decades ago. That's just a small example.
Your Papa shared a video the other day of a father who went on a 2,600-mile bike ride after losing his 20-year-old daughter. He stopped in Louisiana to meet the young man who received his daughter’s heart – and he heard his daughter's heart beat through a stethoscope.
You see, little one? The world is full of beauty. It’s bursting with truths that rock your soul, that set your heart aflame, that remind you that love matters more than anything.
Sometimes we just need a reminder. You remind me every time I feel you move. And, girl, you have been moving! Sometimes I wonder what the heck you’re doing in there. Our little two-pounder, fourteen inches long. You still have some room to maneuver, so enjoy it. I imagine you using my womb as a punching bag – three jabs on my left side, a side kick on my right…You're already so strong, I know, which makes sense. You come from a long line of incredible women.
Yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about family and legacy.
One thing I want to do before you’re born is to record your Pops telling his mother's story. I wish you could have known her. I knew her as Nana, a strong-willed woman who made German potato salad, loved to play dominoes, was a wicked good Scrabble player, had a refrigerator filled with jars of colored water – water previously used to boil vegetables that could be used for something else and, thus, never tossed – rang a gong to signal dinner (a shout-out to the years she and Grandfather lived in Korea), and never let any of us kids set foot in the small sacred chapel off their living room. She also had the greatest laugh imaginable. It was kind of a cackle, pure joy busting out of her until her pale blue eyes watered.
Your Grand-Nana has a story right out of a movie. She grew up in South Dakota, the daughter of a cowboy. As a young teen, she visited her relatives in Germany and got stuck there during World War II, where she remained until around the age of 21. I won’t go into the details now, but know that it’s a story that will be told to you someday – hopefully by your Pops.
I also wish you could have known your Great-Grandma Sue. I wish I could have known her. She got to meet me, but she died when I was a baby. I wish I remembered anything about her. From what I hear, she was magical. She radiated warmth. She was deeply spiritual, with strong values and an unwavering faith. She was a giver. And she was an accomplished pianist who excelled at anything she undertook.
I just told your Papa how, years ago, I attended a Christmas party and got to meet my Mama’s family of nine cousins. I had never met some of these cousins – or, at least, hadn’t seen them in decades. I was the only “Jacques” (my Mama’s family) in attendance. At one point, one of the cousins looked at me with reverent eyes and said, “You look like just your Grandma Sue.”
Sweet Baby, that lifted me like no other. Every time I sit down at the piano to play, I think of her. Granted, I’m no accomplished pianist, but I play, in part, to connect with her and with my beloved Aunt Renée, whom you’ll also never have a chance to meet. Like your great-grandma Sue, I’m also spiritual, and my faith is deep. It’s not a religious faith, it’s a faith in, well, life I suppose. A belief in something that connects me with greater energy, a belief in something that connects us all.
My Mama's sister sent me a card last year with two cardinals on it. Inside was a small piece of paper with a handwritten note: “Two cardinals watching over you...Grandma Sue and Auntie Renée.”
They are watching over me – and they’re watching over you. Your Great-Grandma Sue, your Great Aunt Renée, your Grand-Nana, and your Papa’s mama, Grandma Kathy – they’re all watching over you.
So, yes, I’ve been thinking a lot about family – particularly the strong line of women you’ll be born into.
I’ve also been trying to reconnect with purpose, which I’ll dive into another time, as this is already quite a long letter to you. Short version: purpose is important, but I need to spend some more time with it. Stay tuned...
Anyway, Happy 27th Womb Week, Baby! We’re almost in the third trimester already, and each week flies by more quickly than the last. I’ve been writing to you almost every day, sharing small daily happenings, big feelings, and everything in between. I can’t wait to share them with you someday.
Love, Your Mama