I’ve never met you, but I love you with all my heart. I’ve never seen your face, but I adore everything about you. I’ve never heard your voice, but I will care for you for the rest of my life. I am your dad, and you are my daughter.
Update: she was born June 17th, 2017 at 7:30a. The day before Father’s Day!
Your name is Melaya, which means free. The Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” and it’s absolutely true, because God revealed your name to mom only weeks after we met.
Here’s what mom says: the story behind your name I believe is fate, and one of my very early memories with your dad. It was the first early date I had with him in a Mexican theme park. We were walking and talking, though I was also day-dreaming and all of a sudden, the sound “Melaya” came to my head.
Dad: I heard her say it out loud a few times, until I asked what are you saying? She and I had actually only known each other a few weeks. Eventually she confessed she liked the way it sounded. She said, “doesn’t that make a lovely baby name?” Then, she grabbed my phone to write it down.
Mom: I didn’t know what the word meant or how it got there, but I loved it immediately, and I always had the idea of inventing a name. The moment it entered my mind, I knew it would be my daughter’s name, and I said it to Dad. Even back then, he probably knew it would be his daughter’s name too.
You’re unique, Melaya. You have all of the creativity of your mom, coupled with all the bone headedness of me (dad).
You’ll always be special to me because you are a product of all of the love in the world. You are part me and part my other half. I’m so grateful that God has entrusted me with the responsibility of raising you, one of his precious angels.
When I first heard your heartbeat, it sounded like when you put your ear to a seashell. We weren’t sure if there was anything there. Mom had to go back and ask the doctor if she heard anything (of course, she knew what to listen for).
When we first saw you on the ultrasound, you were practicing your yoga. We always knew you’d be a yoga baby, because we did a retreat in Bali right before we got pregnant.
One of my most cherished memories is feeling you move. I don’t remember when it happened for the first time (mom does), but I was reminded that you loved me each time it happened. You’re most active right before bedtime, which sort of scares us, because we think that means you won’t sleep at night once you’re born. You announce to everyone bright and early that you’re ready for the day by dancing in mom’s tummy. Even when mom’s still sleeping, I just lay in bed, hand draped over her tummy, to feel you move.
When I found out you were a girl, I was overcome with excitement! Visions of tea parties and chasing boys away flooded my mind. I couldn’t -and still can’t- wait to take you out on dates, and tell you how beautiful you are, inside and out. I couldn’t -and still can’t- wait to tell you the cool story of how your mom and I met, so that you would know that true love exists. I always thought the mother of my children would bring fun memories and even funnier stories. Your mom never disappoints, and I hope you never get tired of hearing those stories. And of course, I hope you come up with some of your own.
I hope you love us half as much as we already love you.
I hope you embrace your mixed cultural heritage.
I hope you become a citizen of the world.
I hope you stay curious.
I hope you know that love always conquers hate.
I hope you grow up with the confidence of Miriam and the bravery of Esther.
But most of all, Melaya Havana Ostmo, I hope you forever stay my little girl.