A Letter to My Future Son, Oliver | Subject: Onions, Space, the Final Frontier

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on February 23, 2012 0 Comments

Dear Oliver,

As you may be aware, your mother and I visited you last weekend at a special 3D ultrasound. All of your grandparents were there too, as were your Aunts Emily and Jackie and your cousin Charlie. We waved and addressed you and your cousin roamed around the room hugging various teddy bears and beeping everyone’s noses. (She beeped mine like five times. I’m glad she didn’t do it a sixth time, as I was pretty much out of a new oh-look-a-small-child-has-beeped-my-nose noises.) Anyway, you seemed to enjoy the attention. You waved a peace sign at us (really) and generally wiggled about.

All in all, the ultrasound was a lot of fun. The technology is pretty impressive—it produced an almost real-time image of you in the womb, which was fun to see. The technology isn’t perfect yet, however, as there’s a little bit of a frame lag in the images, so occasionally two images sort of morph together. This can produce some odd results. At one point, two images melded and for a second it looked like you had a tyrannosaurus head. Your mother instantly exclaimed, “We’re having a dinosaur!” and I said, “Awesome!” In a few of the shots, you look a little bit like an elderly goblin. (Don’t worry, I’ll love you whether you’re a dinosaur, an elderly goblin, or a baby. Even if you’re an elderly goblin dinosaur baby.)

Now I know this technology must sound pretty unimpressive, given you’re in the future and all. I mean, this is only 2012. We don’t have an emergency medical hologram, or a Leonard McCoy, or even one of those lame water-filled tanks that Luke Skywalker used in The Empire Strikes Back. (In ten years, I truly hope you understand all of those references.)

Anyway, you also probably noticed that we are no longer referring to you as Bernard. That name was just a placeholder until we found out your gender; at the ultrasound, we found out that you are a boy. We’re planning on naming you Oliver, and I’ve been attempting to break my habit of saying, “How’s Bernard?!” to your mother. Instead, I usually start off by saying “How’s Bernard” only to correct myself and say something like, ‘How’s Bernard-iver” or “Boliver?” I promise to break this habit by the time you are hatched.

As you may have overheard, we’re planning on a space theme for your future room. Now your mother might say that this is really just an excuse for your father to go on Ebay and other such online auctions to scope out sweet deals on space-related paraphernalia. But son, do you know that the Topps Trading Card Company issued a set of space-themed trading cards in 1958? 1958! And then there’s the 1965 All-Star Game Program, which features some great retro art with a whole bunch of stars in the sky and crucially, the game also was held in Minnesota at Metropolitan Stadium. (That’s not to mention the 1965 World Series Program, which featured two space capsules—SPACE CAPSULES!— colliding together.) Needless to say, I’m quite confident that someday you will inform your mother how absolutely correct I was about insisting that these items are essential for any infant’s space-theme room.

Finally, I have one somewhat serious matter to address. I was (ever-so-slightly) disappointed in you last week, because according to What’s to Expect you were the size of an onion. An onion, Oliver. Now you probably have no idea what an onion is, so let me explain the problem. Onions are terrible, awful things. They are these vegetables with many layers; the layers are like wrapping paper on a present, except in this case, they are never-ending awful presents and the wrapping paper only covers another sheet of paper and the only “present” is the vegetable itself, which is smelly and oily and makes you cry. Now you don’t want to cry, do you Oliver? Of course not. And neither does your father.

Anyway, there’s a happy ending to this story: you’re no longer an onion! You’re now a bell pepper! (Don’t worry, Daddy even loved you when you were an onion. After all you didn’t really have a choice in the matter.)

Just please do one thing for me: promise me that you’ll never turn into an onion again, even a make-believe one. (Especially not for Halloween! That’d be terrible.)

I can’t wait to meet you,



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