Emma Grace Durso: My Firstborn

A week ago we got the gender information from the nurse in an envelop. We kept in in our kitchen and promised not to peek. On Friday Ashley dropped off the envelop to the bakery– if it’s a boy, blue filling. If it’s a girl; pink.  Sunday afternoon we picked it up, opening the cake box for a brief moment to see what it looked like and closing it in case we saw anything that might give it away. As soon as we got home we put the cake in the fridge and tried to forget about it. Monday night, the all family and friends came to watch us cut the cake.

I had game-time feelings as I was about to cut the cake. Athletes know what I’m talking about. The adrenaline is pumping. There’s a “let’s get this done” kind of attitude.

We cut the cake. I couldn’t find the pink or blue. Then Ashley yells (after, of course, a HUGE INHALE) “IT’S A GIRL!”

Now pause.

Because that’s what my brain did. For at least 10 seconds, I literally couldn’t speak. And not because I couldn’t think of the right words for the occasion (that doesn’t stop me from saying something, usually). I was tongue-tied because for those ten seconds my brain shut down every other sensory input mechanism to focus on one thing: the life of this little girl.

I’m not making this up for the sake of story. This happened to me. It wasn’t my life flashing before my eyes; it was Emma Grace Durso’s.

She was an infant.

She was a little girl on the playground.

She was a teenage girl in high school.

She was getting ready to go to college.

She was meeting boys (the hardest thought by far).

She was getting married.

She was having her own kids.

And then switch–back to reality.

Screaming all around. Flash photography going bonkers. Skype everywhere. Cake. Finally, after hugging Ashley and numbly fumbling around with the cake, I am able to speak.

And the words that I say are typical, athlete eloquence: “YEAH!” (at about 49 seconds in)

As you can tell, I am excited to meet Emma Grace. To hold her as an infant. To play with her on the playground (or in the playhouse). To help her with her homework. To send her off to college. To firmly (very firmly–awkwardly firmly) shake the hand of the boy she introduces me to. To walk her down the aisle. To be a grandparent (weird to already think of that). These will all be blessings I don’t deserve.

This morning I read the poem I wrote for my firstborn, before I knew it was Emma. I thought I’d repost the first stanza because it best describes my heart right now. (Even though line 5 is no longer true.)

To my firstborn, I don’t know
which direction you might go
In life. I’ve never heard you cry,
I’ve never heard a solemn sigh.
And I don’t know your name just yet,
but when I think of you I get
A deep, abiding feeling of love,
something before I’d only heard of—
How a dad’s heart longs to hold;
protect and keep within the fold
of safety. How I wait to see
your love surround our family.
But more than anything, I pray,
that you would love God more than day.
Emma’s life verse (chosen by Ashley) is 2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

11 Replies to “Emma Grace Durso: My Firstborn”

  1. I love you Eric. You are such a Godly, sensitive young man. You are a great husband to our dear Ashley Ann, and you will be a wonderful daddy to little Emma Grace. I’m so happy for you and Ashley! G.G. (Great-aunt Ginni) 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the video, this celebration, and your heart! Like ashley said, you made me cry! Aaron and I are so stinking excited for you guys! (and honestly, a little jealous!) Can’t wait to meet little Emma. You guys will be amazing parents! Much love from Washington.

  3. Congrats Daddy Durso. You will make a great daddy for your little girl. If you need some suggestions, I am available.

  4. We were so moved and blessed by your comments and poem. It shows a great foundation for the exciting and worthy life that lies before you. You can depend on our support and prayers. It makes us thrilled to be Emma”s great-grandparents.

  5. It is such a blessing to read your comments and poem. You have a great foundation for this wonderful and rich life that lies before you. Count on our support and prayers

  6. Emma Grace is already such a blessing and gift of grace given to all of us, but especially she has been “entrusted” to you from our Lord to grow. We will pray for her and you and always love and support you no matter what. This blog truly gave me tears in my eyes and I am so happy that Emma has you as her earthly “daddy” . Thank you for sharing your great thoughts.

  7. Once again I’m responding to your post with tear-filled eyes. God bless you, Eric, on this part of the great adventure of your life. It will be filled with so many ups and downs and diverse emotions you never even knew existed but it is truly a gift of God, experiencing the abundant life on every level. I love you all, little Durso family.

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