Week 23 - Dark Clouds and Sunshine

Dear Kaylee,

It’s been a rough couple of days out here in the world, and I’ve thought about you a lot. One of my best friends since high school lost his father just a couple of days ago. And that got me thinking not only about my own father, your grandpa, who would be turning 50 this weekend, but also about my own role as your father and when you might lose me. It’s a terrible thing to think about, and I’d prefer to labor under the delusion that I’ll always be here for you. My sanity sort of depends on me laboring under that delusion, at least most of the time, as I have a terrible, debilitating fear of what comes after death. But I do have to realize, every once in a while, that I won’t always be there. And, also, that there are certain ways in which I live my life that might further limit the time you get to spend with your dad.

First of all, I worry too much. I stress out about tiny, insignificant things. And this isn’t good for my mind or my body. I’m wearing myself down, day by day, and the truth is that if I want to be around for you for a good, long while, I better quit it. I better calm down.

Second of all, I drive too fast. Over these past few days, I’ve really made a conscious effort to be more aware of how much danger I might be putting myself in on the road. I’m certainly not as bad as some people, but this is another bad habit that’s easily correctable.

Those are just two of the things I’ve been thinking about. Actually, I’m not even sure there are that many more things to worry about. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink heavily, and I don’t do drugs. My diet is not perfect, but it doesn’t suck. And I’m not all that overweight. I guess, in a sense, I’m doing all right. I guess I’m doing the best I can to be around for as long as I can.

But enough about me. This is about you. I lose track of that sometimes, and for that I’m sorry.

As for what you were up to this week: You were still kicking your mother quite a bit, and hiccupping, and all that jazz. You weighed in at about one pound and your body was well-developed, though lacking in body fat. This was also the week you reached what I had long considered a very important milestone. At the end of this week, it was conceivable that you could be born and survive with intensive care. You were now, in the words of one article, “legally viable.” It put my mind at ease to know that we had reached this point, that your mother and I were now far less likely to lose you. From amidst all of these dark clouds I’d been lingering underneath, like some old gray donkey lamenting the loss of his tail, there was, at last, a ray of light.

Love, Dad

LettersE. Christopher Clark