The world is rife with brokenness and suffering. But it is also full of brilliance and magic. On some days, this paradox hits you right between the eyes, and today — my second perfect nephew, Abraham Elio’s, birthday — is one of them.
Abraham represents new beginnings. Abraham is the beginning. Genesis 25:7–8 tells us: “Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years, and he was gathered to his people.”
In Hebrew, the phrase “full of years” refers not only to longevity, but to the richness — the goodness — of those years. Abraham was divinely blessed with both.
Abraham Elio’s big brother, Otto Thelonious, favored Beethoven both in utero and out. I titled my essay about Otto’s life, and death, “Ode to Joy” serendipitously— not because I was thinking of Beethoven’s stirring symphony but because, to me, Otto Thelonious will always be synonymous with joy.
So, naturally, Abraham Elio made his way into this world over Beethoven’s birthday. (There is some debate about whether Beethoven’s birthday was the day Abraham’s brilliant, magical mommy went into labor — December 16th — or the day Abraham was born — December 17th.) A loving gift, I believe, from Otto to his family. A divine reminder of the connection Otto will always have to Abraham, Abraham to Otto, and both sons to their parents.
Abraham Elio, your parents and brother remind me every day that love makes the moon and the stars, wonder and transcendence, locomotion and emotion, heartbreak and healing. It is the beginning, middle, and end. It is brilliance and magic. It is everything. And so are you.
Thank you for choosing your family. Thank you for including me in it. Miranda, Nate, and Otto, thank you for giving us the gift of Abraham. Abraham, your family, near and departed, will hold you always, reminding you that you are magic, and by your very birthday and namesake, divinely, abundantly blessed.
I love you.