I fell asleep watching TV in the waiting room of the Elizabeth Seton Birthing Center on 14th Street, but woke suddenly when Christofer burst in and announced emphatically, “It’s a boy!”
My nephew, Ethan Baruch Wagner, began the world at 12:38 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 10th, 2003.
When Chris carried him out for Jen’s brother Steven and I to see, my jaw fell agape. He was barely ten minutes old. His skin was pink and fresh, his hair reddish and matted. His big, glassy blue eyes rolled around his head, unfocused but seeking. He gurgled and sputtered, rolling his tongue over his perfect little lips, stretching and pawing at his new world.
Inside the birthing room, Jennifer was radiant, if exhausted from nearly 24 hours of labor. I presented her with cupcakes from the Cupcake Cafe, sushi, a Tiffany’s Man on the Moon rattle, and continued to marvel at this beautiful, brand-new baby boy.
Jen only needed to ask me once if I wanted to hold him. Christofer placed him gingerly in my arms. I awkwardly cradled him, holding him close to my chest. I quietly sang to him, “Hush little baby don’t say a word…”
Riding home through the city as dawn approached, I saw newness everywhere: skyscrapers stretching for the clouds, summertime blooming on the trees, a young couple kissing on a corner.
Home now, just three hours into his brand-new, blank-slate of a life, I can still feel the warmth of Ethan’s new life on my heart.