Dear Little Acorn,
You have many nicknames already, most of them generated by your sister. At first, you were Staircase Ball-Jar, followed by Cupcake Christmas Tree. Your current name du jour is Rocky Stone.
But there’s one nickname that belongs to you and I alone: Little Acorn. There is a story there, of course.
The day before I found out I was pregnant with you, your dad, sister and I were wandering through a boutique near our house. Hanging on the wall was a bright green onesie. I’m partial to crazy, happy colors, so it immediately caught my eye. On the onesie was an illustration of an acorn, and beneath it the words, “I will be mighty.”
Truth be told, I’m a little slow sometimes, so I didn’t immediately get it. “Wait. Why does it say ‘I will be mighty’ with a picture of an acorn?” I asked your dad.
“You know,” he said, “because an acorn starts out tiny and then grows into a big, strong tree.”
Oh. Oh. My heart started racing right there in that store. Because at that moment I knew: that onesie was for you. My little fighter embryo, destined to grow into a mighty oak.
I didn’t buy it, though. After all, I wasn’t even sure I was pregnant. I hoped, oh God did I hope, but I didn’t know. But I promised myself that I would come back and buy it for you if I was indeed pregnant.
Even though I found out the next day that you had decided to stick around, I didn’t go back. I was too scared. It took me almost six weeks to go back and purchase that tiny green onesie. And even then, when I was asking the sales associate about sizing, I didn’t tell her it was for my baby. I pretended it was for another baby, maybe a friend’s baby, or a random nebulous baby belonging to no one.
You see, I was worried sick. And if I’m honest, I still am, most days. (It’s no secret that your mom is a first class worrier. If you ever want to go skydiving or something, talk to your dad.) I feared that my instinct was wrong and that you weren’t a fighter after all, that you weren’t here to stay. That you weren’t mine to keep, not this time.
But you have proved me wrong time and time again. Out of dozens of embryos, you’re the only one that decided my inhospitable body was a fine place to hang out for a while. So far you are surviving and thriving. And just now you kicked me, as if to say, “That’s right, mom. Here I am!”
Yesterday, your sister and I watched a planetarium show. We learned lots of cool things. One of Jupiter’s moons contains frozen lakes with liquid water churning underneath. The hottest stars are blue. If you get lost on a clear night, you can always find your way home by the Big Dipper—it points right to Polaris, the North Star. The sun is so big that it could hold 1.3 million earths.
And even beyond our sun and our solar system, there are infinite stars and planets. An ever-expanding universe—over 10 billion light years that we will never discover.
It seems hard to believe, then, that with all of those things out there bigger and more awesome than we can even imagine, that something so small—an embryo, an acorn, a baby—could even matter.
But you, mighty one, are our whole world.
We are all counting down the days until we can hold you, kiss your new, soft skin, and see the stars in your eyes.