A letter to Sofia.

I didn’t know I could fall in love so fast, but baby girl, you stole my heart the moment I felt you free from inside me. The moment I saw you, that was the end. It was the end of ever thinking I could live without you.IMG_1209

And even before that I loved you. I loved you when the pregnancy test was positive. I loved you when I heard your heartbeat for the first time. (I laughed because I was so full of joy.) I loved you when I felt you kick. I loved you when my body hurt so bad that I could hardly move. I loved you when I felt fat because you were growing so big inside me. I loved you when I felt pain in my side and in my back from carrying you. I loved you with every contraction. With every bit of agony, I loved you. I loved you when I couldn’t see the end of the pain. And when it finally did end, it was so easy to forget. All I knew was how much I loved you.

I loved you then, and I love you even more now. My love for you grows with every day I know you. My love for you is more than you can fathom.

You’ve only been here for four days, but from the moment you were conceived, you were with me. Your heart beat with my blood, your bones grew with the strength I gave you. Now it’s your turn to face the world, but don’t think you’ll ever be alone. Your heart still beats with the blood I gave you and your bones will grow with the love of your daddy and I.

You will never walk alone. We’ll be here to hold you. We’ll be here to comfort you, support you, and cheer you on.

Baby girl, I wish I could tell you how much I love you, but with all the words in every language I could never find the right ones to tell you how big this love is. I hope you catch glimpses when I kiss you. I hope you can see it when I hold you close to me, when I look at you, and hope you can feel it when I tell you that I love you.

I hope you always know you’re beautiful. When you were born I couldn’t stop saying how pretty you were. “She’s so pretty,” I said to the nurse. “She’s so pretty,” I said to my mom. “She’s so pretty,” I said to your daddy. Everyone in the room knew you were beautiful, but I couldn’t stop saying it out loud. “You are beautiful,” I said to your sweet dimpled face.

I hope your heart is never broken. I hope you never get older. I hope you don’t grow too big to fit in my arms when I carry you. But a day will come when life is not easy for you. A day will come when I forget that you used to be so small. But sweet girl, you’ll always be my baby. You’ll always be my girl. You are the blood of my blood, the bones of my bones, the flesh of my flesh. You are the heart of my heart. And sweet baby girl, I will always love you.


The stars don’t beg to be seen.

There wasn’t much to say that night that wasn’t already hanging in the air. She knew he saw it in her eyes, just as she could feel in his chest where her head rested and ears listened. She listened intently to the molecules circulating in him, pumping steadily the life that was ever-changing him and making him new.

They both knew it, but they wouldn’t give these emotions the decency of being put to words. It’s a shame, really. They would have been beautiful had they been uttered. But for now, those words would remain in her eyes and in his chest. Tonight was not the night for those words. Perhaps another night, or maybe not. Maybe those words were to forever remain there, hanging in the air, just as the stars hung in the same place in the sky, night after night, never wandering, never worrying about where to hang tomorrow. Just like the stars, those words were constant. They didn’t need to be seen or heard to be known. They just were and they would be tomorrow too.

She raised her head slightly to look at him, inquisitive of his thoughts, hoping to catch a glimpse of them in his cafe-colored eyes. The creases around his eyes etched a smile into his face as his eyes focused in on hers, wondering what her questioning eyes could want. His nose brushed hers and his deep, brown eyes asked for a kiss. But with her lips lightly pressed against his, she just smiled. To not only see it, but to feel a smile against yours, knowing that you are the reason for that grin — it’s perfect.

She pulled her face away from his and found his eyes again. She brushed her hands through his hair, kissed his cheek, and laid her ear against his chest where it had been before.

Words weren’t necessary, but he decided it was rude to leave them hanging around.

I love you, he whispered, but she already knew.

I love you too, she said, though he’d already seen it in her eyes.

The stars don’t beg to be seen, nor did those words beg to be spoken.

You know the stars will always be there, hanging in the sky just as they did yesterday, but you look anyway. Beauty doesn’t need to ask to be desired. It is because it is. And though there wasn’t anything to be said that night that they didn’t already know, those words were spoken.

They didn’t need to say anything at all, but it would have been rude to leave such beautiful words just hanging there.

Go talk to strangers.

I like talking to strangers. Most parents tell their kids not to; my dad marches up to them and starts a conversation. That is one trait I inherited.

On Monday I took a new bus to school for the first time. I sat next to a woman named Jackie. Jackie was really nice. It was her first time on the bus too because she was starting a new job downtown. We talked and laughed and connected on the 30 minute bus ride downtown and as we parted, I gave her directions to navigate the city streets that she was still unfamiliar with.

Monday evening I was home at the transit center where Jackie and I met and happened to see her going to her car. “Jackie,” I called out. “How was your first day of work?” I was genuinely inquisitive and thankful for this opportunity to meet her again as most of my random conversations are never resolved. They are left with questions of who are these people and what will they do with their lives? On Monday I got to ask Jackie more about her life. She gave me a summary of her day and as I turned to walk away she offered, “Hey, do you want a ride home?”

Parents tell their kids not to get in the car with strangers, but I did that on Monday too. I got in the car with Jackie and shared more of my life with her and about my day at school.

Today I waited at my bus stop downtown for the last bus home. There was a blonde girl sitting on a bench, thick black eyeliner circling her light brown eyes. Cheaply drawn tattoos of anime characters drowned her pale arms. I stared at her too long. It was awkward. She seemed sad. In my gut I felt drawn to say hello. So I did. I sat down right next to her and shook her hand, “Hi. I’m Hannah.” She looked at me strangely but answered. “Hey. I’m Ashleigh.”

Ashleigh said she wasn’t sad, but I wasn’t convinced. She said she was just fucking bored waiting for the bus. I still wasn’t convinced. Her eyeliner was smeared. She looked tired; tired of waiting; tired of life. I found out she has a tent in her squat, volunteers at Orion Center and has a great heart. She would rather stay in a bar until 2 am than take up a bed in a shelter where a minor could be sleeping.

She pulled out her beat up, outdated blackberry and asked for my number. “Text me whenever you want,” she invited. I gave my number to a stranger. That’s probably against some parenting rule too, but I didn’t care. I gave my number to girl who seemed sad today and now that I’m home, we’re texting about how we wish we could have done more this summer and when we can hang out next.

There are some strangers you shouldn’t get in the car with, and there are some you need to get in the car with. Some people need to see that the world isn’t judging them, and others need to know that they’re loved.

My wild heart.

There’s something perfect about sitting by a fire while the wind rustles leaves and the world quiets down. The freeway rumbles a few miles away and if you wait for it, in the stillness of the blackest time of night, the train’s whistle faints near the ocean.

Laughter echoes in the twilight; smiles glow in the firelight. But as I close my eyes and dream, my thoughts wander to a place under different stars. To safe arms; wanton eyes; a smile reflecting my own.

Embers escape from dying logs and I dream of escaping from here. Someday I’ll float away, too, when the wind carries me back to you.

Smoke dances with the wind while the fire flickers, dying as the night carries on. The dreams in my heart still burn with the strength of a wild fire. I am no longer here where the train whistles by the Pacific. My heart– like embers in the wind– is carried away, and I’m with you. Safe, free, home.