“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”  Dr. Seuss.

It’s been a pretty incredible week….history making.  At the start of last week,  I was on a run at the same time as my sister was in a hospital over 2700 miles away, bringing a new baby into the world.  My sister, the family baby, is having her own babies.  A mother of one became a mother of two.  Her daughter went from being an only child to an older sister.  I became an aunt to a nephew.

I love newborns….the downy hair, the soft transparent skin, the intoxicating aroma of mother-baby, the quivering lips, the distinctive cry….

While I was on my run, I was thinking about this brand new baby, and how he is like a blank canvas.  What I want for him, and am sure that his parents probably do as well, is to have all possibilities and options open to him.  To not be defined by anything that other people think he should be.  To be free to be who he wants to be.  I came home from that run and immediately called my mom….no, he’s not here yet, but any minute.  I started writing my thoughts before he came into the world, a few days before the historic day of June 26, 2015.

This is exactly what I jotted down after my run, un-edited:

“A newborn is a blank canvas, but what about an adult….can we be one as well?  Can we have a do-over and be born as an adult…. open to all possibilities…  It may take a little bit more creativity, because we obviously can’t ignore certain of our responsibilities… but I think we can.  As for me, a couple of years ago, a runner was born.  Within a year, a marathoner will be….  maybe one day, a triathlete or an ultra-runner?  I haven’t had an interest in those in the past, but maybe I should be a blank canvas, open to possibility…. not defined by fear of swimming in open water or riding down steep hills ….  maybe I can be re-born with no fear.  Toddlers have no fear of getting hurt, which is why their parents are constantly chasing after them.  Maybe we can take a little bit of a lesson from them.”

After writing that, I left it…planning to come back to it and turn it into a post later.  Then on June 26, 2015, I went for a run at 6:45 am, pacific standard time, getting in 5 miles before I had to go to work.  I came home from that run to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.  I became even more breathless than I already was.  Despite all the sweat dripping from me, apparently I still had some salt-water left in me, because a river of tears flowed from my eyes.  Change had happened while I was out on my run, and I knew that I had to change the direction of my post as well.

I’m living in a time when so much progress is being made…  my children are growing up in an environment where they can be anything they want and accept everyone around them…. my little newborn nephew is born in a world of possibilities…..

My kids know all about what homosexuality is….what transgender is….that they are different ….that you are born heterosexual or homosexual or bisexual or in the wrong body.  They know that the only thing that matters to their mom (and dad) is that they are good people and if they choose to marry, that they marry good people.  I grew up in a time and environment when and where I didn’t know anything about that, despite one of the closest people to me in my life being gay.  He has been a constant source of friendship, support, love, and inspiration in my life for over 40 years,  but I didn’t know he was gay because we grew up in a less aware time.  I don’t remember how old I was before I knew what gay was….possibly not until I was an adult.  My children….they are aware…they know it is how you are born.

Before my nephew was born, I was excited that he was on the way.  The instant my mom called to let me know that yes, he is here, I fell in love with him…  without seeing a picture….without smelling or touching or kissing him.  I anxiously waited for his picture… and in the last week, I keep staring at his pictures in my phone, my heart swelling and accelerating with joy.  I see newborns at work everyday.  I don’t love them.  I enjoy taking care of newborns, but I don’t have an instantaneous love for any of the babies at work.  Yet, this baby that I have not seen in person, have not held, whose smell I haven’t inhaled but dream of doing so, I love him.  You can’t tell me that is an unreasonable love… a love that isn’t real….that doesn’t make sense.  You can’t tell me I can’t love someone I haven’t met.  Love is love….it can’t always be explained…it comes in many forms…. it just is.

What will happen in the world the next time I escape for a run?  What will I come home to?  I’m not sure, but I now know NOT to put any more limits on what I dream about during my runs.  I know that at the minimum, while I’m out there, all across the United States of America, many more babies will be born at a time when #lovewins.

*This post was initially published on 6/29/15

Paria Hassouri