A few last minute things before you arrive.

Dearest Harlow,

We are all thrilled at hearing you will be arriving tomorrow. There has been so much joy in preparing for you to join us. I know we haven’t met formally, but I’m your Appa. It is a strange title with origins in the Korean language, and your Dad tells me it also has some links to Science Fiction, which is a subject that I can’t wait to discuss with you in great detail. I settled on this title after much thought and discussion. For a long time, I had thought I would like to be called “Supreme Commander of the Universe” but eventually thought that might be a bit ostentatious for our relationship. Ultimately, whatever you choose to call me will be fine. I look forward to getting to know you better and anticipate that we will have much in common as I will be privileged to introduce you to many wonderful and amazing things.

I wanted to let you know that your accommodations have been arranged with the upmost care and attention by your Mother and Father. I can vouch for their competency, talents, hospitality and general acumen at being quality human beings. I have known them for some time, and have never been disappointed in their ability to demonstrate love for those in their care. They have several years of experience of lovingly caring for one another and your (soon to be) furry friends that will share your abode. No need for concern, your fuzzy housemates have an agreeable temperament and disposition and like your parents, are kind and gentle. However, you may want to pick up a lint brush as the largest of the three is quite generous in shedding his thick white coat, especially during these hot summer months.

Of course, you are well acquainted with the sweet and loving nature of your mother as you have been living with her for sometime now. I know that she has been careful in her attention to your well being by caring for her health and happiness. I’m glad to report that in every instance of my interactions with her that you have never been very far from her thoughts. It is evident that you are her chief concern and priority and this is something that you know far better than I, as you have been experiencing this nurturing environment for nearly nine months.

I imagine that as you prepare to exit your transitional housing that you are feeling some trepidation, this is completely normal as we all tend to get scared when venturing into a new life. Please remember that courage is the reward for attempting something new, so be brave Harlow. There are so many people who love you and will be cheering probably rather loudly when your journey is complete, and some tears of joy as well. I’m confident that you will most likely cry upon your arrival as well. This is completely understandable, so feel free to do so, as you are among friends. You will be welcomed into this world by trained professionals who spent lots of money and time in medical school who are teaming up with Mom and Dad to make your arrival safe and without incident. The doctor and nurses in the room have done this many, many, times. So relax and enjoy the journey.

You should also expect that your Mother will likely need some rest, as she plays a profound role in making sure that you arrive safely. But I know that you will have so many moments of feeling loved in her arms, and as a result you will reinvigorate her strength. Your Dad is ready with a host of activities to keep you entertained. He will no doubt make funny faces and funny noises, but don’t let this alarm you as he means well. It will take some time for him to acclimate to your particular personality, but he is a fast learner, so you won’t have to wait long. In no time, he will be jumping at your every whim, as will we all. You heard that right, there is a large and extended following that will vie for you attention, especially in the early days of your arrival.

I wish I had the vocabulary to articulate exactly what you should expect, it’s just one of those things that you will have to experience. But I’m so excited for you to encounter these monumental expressions of love that are coming your way. You will be held, hugged, kissed, and caressed while simultaneously being stared at for long periods of time. This will be accompanied by a redundancy of comments on your appearance, comparing you to various relatives past and present. Some people will obsess over the amount of hair on your head. Others will be preoccupied with particular features of your face like the thickness of your lips, the shape and color of your eyes, the contours of your nose, and your general pigmentations. You’ll likely be subjected to lots of comments about the number of fingers and toes you have on each appendage. Just a heads up, it’s five.

You will find that many people will be interested in your sleep patterns and will go to exceptional lengths to get you to smile, including, but not limited to waving their hands and shaking their heads, making obnoxious noises, jangling keys, introducing you to stuffed animals of various sizes and shapes, and singing. Thankfully, many in your family are talented singers, so that shouldn’t be an issue, although I can’t say that with certainty about everyone. We will all discover your temperament and personality together, so if you are an introvert, I apologize in advance for all the people competing for your attention. All I can say, is that it is the burden of the beautiful and talented to mesmerize the hoi polloi, and this is unlikely to be your last experience given that you are blessed in abundance with these superior qualities.

I look forward to walking with you through your life as I embark on a new season of my own life. I will so enjoy your company. As will your Nonna (who is married to me) and your Mother’s parents and a host of Aunts, Uncles, cousins and great grandparents. I should warn you that your Nonna is one of those people likely to be singing silly songs, making funny faces, and generally trying to make you smile all of the time. She’s a hoot and I’m sure you two will get along splendidly.

One last thing, you should know that the world you are entering isn’t perfect. In so many ways it is troubled and broken, as are all of the people you will encounter, including all of us who love you the most. It is likely that we will make mistakes and at times serve as source of heartache and disappointment for you. I wish it were not so, but sadly this is our lot. But all of those moments are worth it my dearest Harlow, because it is in the relationships with all of us that you will discover your unique identity. In the countless ways that you choose to adopt and reject whatever we may share with you, you will come to know who you are and where you belong in this world. As deeply flawed as the world is, you my dear, make it better by your very existence. Your every breath is a testimony to the fact that we collectively continue. We perpetuate life in you, and no matter where you go and what you achieve on this journey, this will always be your crowing accomplishment; you exist and you are loved. Your value isn’t dependent on your actions, it is given unconditionally. We have yet to meet you, but we love you. We will always love you!

Well, until tomorrow Junebug, forgive me as I’m experimenting a bit with a pet name for you. What do you think? I thought it appropriate since you arrive in June. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this and many other matters.

Tomorrow is a big day for you! Watch your step upon exiting, that first one can be a doozy.

See you soon.

Love,

Appa

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