My husband hadn't wanted to know if we were having a boy or a girl. And so after the sonogram, the Nepali doctor, his eyes unblinking, had solemnly handed me a little piece of folded paper. On it in lower case letters was simply written the word, boy.
I had been brought up by feminist parents. I was prepared for a girl. I knew just how I might raise a girl. But a boy? Well, that was something altogether different. Now that was likely to be tricky.
Tristan was a tiny baby with delicate features. He didn't have rolls or dimples or pudgy fingers like the other babies. Seeing my furrowed brow, the doctor had told me to massage his limbs every day to encourage growth. And I did, with the vigor and determination of a first time mother.
Tristan grew and grew and grew. And now he is, well, big. He woke me up early this morning by whispering in my ear that he was a teenager. Oh.
Dear Tristan, Happy Birthday. May you continue to be kind and funny and brave, and well, sort of amazing. May you continue to set up impromptu chemistry labs to test out your theories (even though they make a mess). May you continue to eschew linear thinking in favor of free association -- like a firecracker display flashing in every direction. And may you continue to create crazy personas with Southern drawls and gangster attitudes.
I'm so glad that that folded piece of paper said, boy. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
PS Images by the very talented Delphine Warin.