Sunday night my friend Nicole gave birth to a baby girl. Less than an hour later, her partner called me and asked if I could bring some diapers. (You should know that the baby came eleven days early, and that she was born at home. I think those two facts should explain the lack of diapers).
So I went to Nicole and Alex’s house right away. Got there as fast as I could. Not because I knew they needed diapers, and not because I wanted to be one of the first to see little Zora, but because I was thrilled. I was thrilled and honored to be the one to buy Zora her first diaper. I was thrilled and honored that Alex called me.
I met Zora when she was less than two hours old. I’ve never met anyone that young. Most people I meet are adults. Occasionally I meet someone who’s younger, but it’s rare to meet a baby. Usually we talk about seeing a baby. Rarely do we talk about meeting them.
I knew Zora when (according to a website Nicole read throughout her pregnancy) she was the size of a lentil. I suppose that’s when I met her, when she was in Nicole’s uterus and was the size of a lentil.
I won’t let this become a musing on the beginnings of life and what we are when we are inside our mothers. This has nothing to do with that. It’s about knowing people. It’s about getting to know them.
For the past eight or so months, we have all refered to Zora as T-bone. (A Seinfeld reference, and a nickname Zora’s parents gave her before she had a name, before she even had a gender.) On Monday, though, Zora was named Zora and the nickname was, in a sense, retired. No one calls her T-bone anymore. We call her the baby; we call her Zora; we call her the cutest thing we’ve ever seen.
When no one’s around, when I’m in my head and thinking of Zora, I call her Something Incredible. Amazing, really.
I don’t subscribe to any religion, and I’m not very spiritual. I’ve had experiences that I can only describe as spiritual, and on Monday I went to the ocean knowing that that was where I was supposed to be, that was where I would be able to feel what I needed to feel. For weeks I prepared for the trip (mentally, mostly). I imagined it would be a difficult journey. I imagined Monday would be a terrible day.
But Zora’s arrival changed that. She changed the way this time of year feels for me. I can grieve a loss and celebrate a new life all at once. And I suppose each year I will do that. I have a feeling I am going to know Zora for a long time–at least I hope I will. I have seen her three times now. Today I held her for the first time and it felt wonderful. I’ve never held someone quite that young. I’ve never held someone quite that powerful.