Gifts from my Daughter

9 Jul

Where to begin. That’s always the question, isn’t it? Every blessed day. Where to begin.

Hopefully this will be an exercise in finding my voice. An exercise in truth, hopefully. Although already I can feel the siren song of various personas calling. The terse, hardbitten realist, the wounded romantic, the hyped up Hunter Thompsonesque truth teller. Bullshit, all. Me. Just me.

I used to tell people I was an actor. That really doesn’t seem to work anymore. Not because I haven’t worked on anything for a while (although I haven’t), but because it’s not enough. People are not their jobs. Their lives are richer than that.

Four weeks ago my wife Amy gave birth to our second child, a beautiful little girl named Hallie Jake. She has my blue eyes, her mothers dark hair, her brother’s temper and an extra chromosome that has changed all our lives in ways I have barely begun to comprehend. As a result, it’s not easy to think very far into the future. I keep bumping into dreams that I fear will never come true. So it’s a day at a time. And in that time things are good. Their is a great deal of love in our little family, and beauty, and strength (especially in Amy, who amazes and inspires me every day).

And Hallie brings gifts.

In the days immediately following her birth, when my mind would not stop trying to somehow fix things, I couldn’t shake the image of myself standing between two sets of trap doors – one above and another both below and within me. Through the door above me came light, and I knew that through that door was my future, my infinitely simple future had Hallie been born normal. The other door, which had dropped open in the operating room the second the neo-natalist said “I’m going to do some chromosome tests,” and then avoided both my questions and my eyes, opened into a deep vast well of emotion that even now I have a hard time controlling. For the first three days I was a raw nerve walking the streets, and my mere gaze would back people down. I was also as clear, honest, empathetic and as deeply human as I have ever been. There’s power in that. And as the door above me closed and faded, there was also peace. These are the gifts my daughter has given me.

And this is where I begin.



4 Responses to “Gifts from my Daughter”

  1. Jens July 11, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    Wow Brother,

    Tell me what you need. I just got back in town and my schedule is basically open. I could cook for you guys or whatever. . . just ask.

  2. Ben July 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Derek (and Amy), I feel for you. I’ve been meaning to come visit and see Hallie for quite awhile. It must be very difficult and special at the same time right now. talk soon.

  3. Amy Fulgham July 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    I think it is a good idea to find a way to express yourself and to explore the mysteries that have been presented to you. I admire you and Amy very much and look forward to being in your lives as you make this next step of your journey. love, amy

  4. Erma A August 20, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

    Wow, so powerful. Both of you are very strong. Blessings

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