My Dearest Alonzo,
My wish came true just after midnight in lucky Room 7 ten years ago today. That's when I saw you "put out your hand,'' exactly as the song you were named after predicted.
And here I sit, a decade later, wanting to tell you all over again about the night you were born.
I don't even think I pushed. It was more of a giggle. The doctor said, "Anyone know a good joke? Because if you laugh you'll get to meet your son -- he is that close!" And then your strong, enormous hand appeared.
Alonzo declared that he must reach to Heaven, for Heaven. The song's prophecy fulfilled, my dreams fulfilled. My son had arrived safely. I was almost forty-three.
When I was scanning through all the lists of popular boys' names while I was pregnant, I found nothing that spoke to me or sang to me the way "Alonzo" did. Your Papa, however, found many Italian names he loved. His favorite, as you know, was "Umberto." But, all I could see was a big, hairy baby wearing a gold medallion around his furry neck and chest. I was convinced you'd come out of the womb saying things like, "How you doin'?" or "Ya got any leftover veal parmigian, Ma?" My sweet, sea prince with feet of sand and clay couldn't possibly be a man named Umberto.
Papa and I put it up for a vote. To every unlucky person we happened upon in those last few months before you arrived, we asked, "Which name do you like better, 'Umberto' or 'Alonzo?'" But if anyone chose Umberto, I'd say, "Yes, but who would you want your son or daughter to fall in love with?" It was clear. Not one person wanted poor Umberto in their family, let alone watch him become their son-in-law.
I couldn't have been more than seventeen the first time I tried to sing your song. Al Jarreau was my vocal hero. I judged the quality of my voice by the songs he wrote and sang, the most incredibly difficult note locked inside the "zoh" of your name. I could never hit the note quite right when I sang along with Al, but I had such fun working on the note and the melody, imagining the story of mysterious "Alonzo" as he emerged from the water the way I saw him in the lyrics. I thought to myself, maybe when I'm a grown woman -- maybe then my voice will be ready, more mature, and I'll finally reach that note. Someday, I'll sing "Alonzo" as good as Al Jarreau and my dream will come true.
Guess what? I still can't, not by a mile -- but my dream did come true, and now, as a "grown" woman, a mother, I sing and speak your name with more pride and more joy than any other boy's name on the planet.
Welcome, Alonzo. So, good to see you. Welcome, Alonzo. My Señor. My Belinki. My courageous, kind-hearted, hilarious son -- who, at ten years of age, has more integrity in his little finger than I have in my whole hand. You are a precious gift to us and the world, born from the deep blue sea on the 7th day, just after midnight, who will also make, one fine day, one terrific son-in-law. (Eat your heart out, Umberto.)