Week 19 - The Circus

Dear Baby,

The circus was in town this week and when the circus comes to town it does its thing in the stadium just above where I catch my train every evening. As I waited for the train each night, watching mothers and fathers guiding their children toward the entrances, seeing the delight in every child’s eye, I thought of when we might take you to the circus, and how old you might be then. Some of the children I saw seemed impossibly small, far too little and already—before the show had even started—far too sleepy-looking to be taking in the so-called Greatest Show on Earth, but when I recounted this story to your mother later that night she asked me if I would honestly be able to refuse you, at any age, if you looked up at me with your sad eyes, and pleaded for a trip to see the elephants.

I was reminded of the first trip your Uncle John and I made to that very same building (or, rather, it’s predecessor, which sat just next door) when we were small. Then, as now, the building was referred to as the Boston Garden. But we, as little kids, had no inkling of this. We’d been dying to see Disney on Ice (not exactly the circus, but similar enough) and when one afternoon our mom told us that she and our aunt were taking us to the garden, we couldn’t have possibly made the connection. We thought we were going to look at flowers and things, and I don’t think I have to tell you that the thought of daffodils didn’t elicit much excitement from us two little boys.

Boy, were we surprised.

And I remember the surprise of it all even more than I remember the actual event, and I think that’s probably how we’ll spring the circus on you for the first time. Because when a parent can pull the wool over your eyes and surprise you like that, which both of our parents were able to do so often in those early years, then that seems like a little bit of magic in and of itself.

Inside the womb, you kept your mom company while she did contract work at her old office. She seemed to really enjoy being back at work, even if it was only temporary. And while she worked, so did you, growing and growing as per usual.

If you heard a lot of loud noise on Friday night, that was because we went out to sing karaoke with a couple of friends of ours from college. Your mom and I fled during the dance break they had because the speakers were just thumping too damn loudly for the both of us. Plus, your mom and I were dead-tired and had a long drive to Maine ahead of us the next day. And even though it was silly, I did worry for your tiny ears, just now switching on.

During a week in which it rained every single day, you brightened my thoughts on more than one occasion. Whether it was considering our first trip to the circus on some far-off evening, or just thinking about how in a few short days we would get to see you again on the ultrasound, you were a constant presence even when you were miles and miles away.

Love, Dad

LettersE. Christopher Clark