I’m sitting outside on the patio of one of my favorite bars in Austin, though its name escapes me at the moment. It’s south beyond the main drag on South Congress next to Ruta Maya, a great conversation bar at which I have many fond memories. The chill remains from a lingering winter but the warmth of a propane heater (you know, those UFO looking ones?) pairs well with my cold Fireman’s 4 Ale. Across from me sits one of my greatest friends, my cousin Daniel. Daniel is a great skeptic or a great realist depending on which side of my argument he’s chosen.
On this particular night, Daniel confides in me that he has decided to propose to his long time love, Monica. I’m not surprised. Daniel is as lucky to have Monica as she is to have him. Scientifically, they make a wonderful match. I always think of them as being old, perhaps because they both have such mature souls suited with youthful humor. I see them sipping on Monica-prepared-espresso lying in bed while working collectively on a crossword puzzle through the morning.
As we continue to discuss his marriage intentions we arrive on the topic of children. I have always sensed that Daniel’s interest in fatherhood is as extensive as mine of the chemical make up of matter. I wondered how this would fair with his bride-to-be, who strikes me as the motherly type. I can’t speak to the outcome of my inquiry because my memory, as you may note from my inability to recall the name of my favorite bar, is not my most desirable feature. But his skepticism of the human race continues to stir my stomach.
This was a couple of years back when Daniel explained to me that in addition to not desiring to contribute to an overpopulation of this Earth or to take more from her than he provides, he struggled to understand how someone could want to bring a child into such a cruel world.
This conversation’s particular remembrance comes as Daniel recently wed Monica and as I recently have brought a child into the world. Remarkably I have come to find great light and purpose in my cousin’s skepticism and could not agree more with him.
Now, years later, I’m lying in bed as I do most nights, waiting on Beth to get off of work and enjoying the peace of silence that is my baby girls safely sleeping. Tonight though, I am not alone. Snuggled up next to me is my newest baby girl, Luca Pilar. She was born just two weeks ago, June 18. I am so in love. She is a beautiful gift in every way. God has given me more joy than I could possibly have imagined. In just one year, I have a complete family of three incredible daughters and a wife whose motherly passion is unrivaled.
Honestly, I thought it would be different, holding Luca for the first time. What she has taught me is that being a father is less about blood than love. I feared and frankly expected that when I met Luca I would instantly love her, my only birth daughter, greater than Graesyn or Sidney. They are mine as she is.
Which brings me back to that conversation at the bar. I also wish not take more from this world than I give back to it. I also am fearful of bringing children into this ever increasingly cruel world. In my baby Luca snuggled up to my bear chest, I see hope. In my sweet Sidney, resting peacefully in her crib, I witness a glimpse of peace in the chaos of modern society. In Graesyn, tossing and turning in protest of bedtime, I find great expectations of waking life.
The cruelness of this world which Daniel and I both see is only to be feared if there is no response. My goal as a father is to raise children who understand the importance of cultivating kindness and compassion and who have the means to prevail against hatred and cruelty. As a father, as a husband, a cousin, a son, a friend, I intend, through the help of God and family, to leave more on this great Earth — in the form of stewards of Christ’s love — than I have expended.
Luca means bringer of light. May she be a constant reminder to shed light where there is darkness. Her middle name, Pilar, is a tribute to my abuela. While it saddens me that Abuela is in such a mental state that she may never come to know the honor, I pray that little Luca Pilar will follow in her bisabuela’s footsteps. Abuela truly is a pillar of resounding compassion.
I ask for your prayers of strength, patience and wisdom as we welcome our newest addition to the family. I also extend my prayers and congratulations to my great friend and cousin, Daniel, and his wonderful wife Monica as they begin their own family. Primo, we have much to celebrate! In this cruel world we have found much beauty!