Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This is dedicated to my little Zoe Bear.

Dear Zoe,

When I first found out you were coming to visit us, it was a relief because we were actually going to use the name "Zoe", since Alex turned out to be a little boy. We were getting bummed that we wouldn't have a little girl, but you pretty much solved that. But we were also exceedingly worried, because markers in your mommy's tests showed that you had a 1 in 200 chance of getting Trisomy 18, which was one of the worst possible things that a parent would have to deal with. Needless to say, that turned out to be nothing at all - but thinking back, we couldn't imagine our lives without a sweet little girl named Zoe.

In the past few months, your personality has really blossomed - you're curious, talkative, incredibly nurturing, good humored, and you've got a really big toe - because you're always toeing the line or just straight out crossing it. You love and look up to your brother a lot, and the next biggest love you have is for Kitty, whom you simply cannot do without. You would request for it by name, and though you don't know that now, we already got a Backup Kitty that we're storing in a safe place, just in case your Original Kitty wanders off.

You love books. You would go to the toy box, grab a book, and throw it in my lap, and then do your cute little backing up thing whereby you just back up until your ankles hit my legs, and then you plop down. And you also do this thing whereby you'd grab my finger, and point it at the objects in the book you'd like to know about. You have a insatiable quest for knowledge that I hope you will carry throughout your life.

And there's your mischievous side, the little girl who tries to get away with murder. You like to test boundaries, and we hope that it becomes an asset to your personality, rather than a burden. We hope that you will push the limits on society, the limits of other prejudices, and become the best Zoe you want to be. You like to wander into the living room with food stuffed to the brim of your mouth, since there's no eating in the living room. You like to "borrow" Alex's toys, and hope that by twisting like a wacky person and screaming, I would somehow overlook the fact that it's his toy. One of our favorite memories is when we told you not to go into a room. You stopped in your tracks, turned your head, and looked at us. Then, with your head still turned to us, your body took a step forward toward the forbidden.

But your laughter and the joy you give is immeasurable. Your laughter are shrieks, giggles, and screams. Your laughter is contagious, lovely sunshine that opens up my heart and puts a big wide smile on my face. Your laughter is medicine for the ills that hinder my day.

You like to show off your knowledge. You like to learn what Alex learns, and you like to repeat things. A lot. And this thing you do, whereby you say, "Hi Aleis. Hi Mamin. Hi Daddy. Hi Whoa-ee" all in one breath is really cute. And for good measure, you even say, "Hi buddy."

I remember during naptime once, when Alex was groggy and I was holding him, and you were still asleep in bed. And though I'm not the religious type who likes to compare earthly things with spiritual metaphors, seeing you lying there on Pooh's tummy, holding Kitty in your state of slumber, I wondered why Angels didn't look more like you.

I love you, Z-Bear. I got your back.

Your Daddy.

Our Super Anniversary Date

The weekend has come and gone, and I have to say up front that the best part of the trip was coming home, and seeing the kids run toward us with their arms outstretched yelling, "Mamin! Daddy! Mamin! Daddy!" They were so excited to see us and we were so glad to see them having missed them so much. They had such huge smiles and hugs that it was just the best part of being away for so long, seeing that indeed, they kinda need us.

The date itself was fun. We didn't head out till later, but somehow still managed to get to Pioneer Square for the 11am tour. It was nice to hear the whole story again, having heard it almost 16 years ago when I first went on the tour and forgetting everything I've heard. Everything seemed hunky-dory until the guide told us to watch out for uneven steps and rats. That got my wife worried for the rest of the tour. But it was interesting to hear about the Seattle that existed before. It was sorta like Deadwood - lowlifes, brothels, city expansion... Interesting birth of a city.

After that, we had pizza at some pizza place, and then we walked around, carrying... nothing. Almost nothing, we had an umbrella, but that was about it. Now if you're a parent of a toddler, you'll know the odd feeling because you're not weighed down by a tired kid, or a kid who wants to run around, playing Daddy tetherball with your arms. And there's not a bag full of diapers on your back. Nope, we were roaming the streets free of stuff. Of course, in our newfound freedom, we were in a toy store, looking for stuff for our kids.

An unplanned stop at the renovated Seattle Library really impressed us, especially my wife. This is some architectural feat, with glass and metal, plastic and fabric, wood and synthetic materials, all coming together to make a pretty awesome looking library. We could totally spend the whole day there, just in absolute awe. They even had workstations with wireless connectivity for those who had laptops. Simply amazing, as you can see.

We wandered around downtown for a little bit, then headed to the Jazz club. We were actually heading to the University Theater instead, about one stop ahead of our schedule, so we had to head back into Seattle. We were still early nonetheless, but Dimitriou's Jazz Alley was really something else. A coat check later (we didn't, because my Old Navy jacket felt inferior to the other coats and I didn't want it to feel bad), we knew we were hanging out amongst a higher tax bracket crowd. Nobody was dressed up, really - but there were quite a few sport coats and well-to-do types. We didn't really belong, but we were digging it. It was being royalty for a night.

We watched the Stanley Clarke Trio perform, and it was a kick watching them enjoy themselves so much. The pianist and drummer probably had a combined age that still fell short of Clarke himself, but they were talented as hell, and Stanley was a joy to watch. This was a man who clearly enjoyed music and did it well. We ordered some pricey entrees, a few drinks and dessert. And I made away with some video on my digital camera. When the bill came, I got some serious sticker shock. The tickets to the show, along with dinner and tip, came to a heft $150.01. The penny is due to my bad math. Nonetheless, it was a pretty amazing experience. Even my wife, who pretty much went to it because I like jazz, really enjoyed herself.

We made our way to the U district, and the improv show, in short, was just kinda okay. I was hoping to see professional improv done by comedians, but it was just college kids doing some improv. They weren't necessarily bad, but they needed work.

Our next day, we went past Seattle to Alderwood mall, where we ate lunch, and sat around after lunch. We ate at a leisurely pace, without having to raise our voices once. It was sublime.

We later caught "Inside Man" at the theater, after rejecting two other theaters for their bad, bad selections of movies. And then we went home.

It was just great to finally spend some time with my sweetie, though. That was the biggest thing, just to be with her, with no distractions and worries about things like weddings, or jobs, or what the kids need to do. We just had time to talk about stuff, and be sweeties again. We were missing each other a lot today too. This weekend was just a nice reminder why we married each other.