A Letter to My Baby

Thirty-thousand feet up in the air and you’re dancing around in my belly. My feet are swollen, my hands tingling and I’ve already had half of my allotted amount of Tums for the day. But all I can think about is “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”

It’s one of my last flights before I’m grounded. We just finished a back-to-back set with the Islanders playing in Detroit and then Minnesota. On Friday we celebrated you with family and friends at Lola and Tutu’s (Grandma and Grandpa) house. The theme of the party – “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” The book itself has meaning for people young and old. I find it very fitting as you’re about to enter this wonderful world.

“You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high flyers
who soar to high heights.”

The message of enjoying the ups and downs, twists and turns of life, are spread across the pages with Dr. Seuss’s funny little characters. But the feeling I have when I’m done reading the book never leaves me. It’s hope.

As I look out the window of the plane and see the clouds, I’m smiling thinking about the amazing adventures of life that await you.

“Kid, you’ll move mountains!”

But I also want you to know about the journey we took together these last eight months.

You have already had a remarkable existence. We discovered the happy news of the pregnancy in Chicago. Your dad loves sports as much as I do and I was so excited to show him Wrigley Field for the first time. I didn’t think anything that weekend in August could top a Mets win over the Cubs. But when we stood in front of The Bean and I told him I was pregnant, I knew that was the highlight of the weekend – the highlight of his life, and our life so far together.

Since then, you have taken 45 flights and visited 30 NHL arenas. You have been along for interviews with some of the biggest stars currently playing the game, as well as hall of famers from decades past. You have also been with me as I’ve interviewed coaches around the league. None nicer than Barry Trotz, who before each postgame chat, makes sure to ask how I’m feeling.

Funny story, last season Travis Hamonic mistakenly thought I was pregnant and congratulated me in the dressing room. We laughed it off when he realized the news he heard was about my engagement and upcoming wedding. This season there was no mistaking it, I was pregnant. Travis smiled so wide when he saw me in Calgary and gave me a big hug before our interview.

You were with me when I first shared the news with my MSG bosses that I was having a baby. You could probably feel that I was nervous when I told them I would have to miss some games at the end of the season due to my flight restrictions. Then you felt my heart leap when they reacted with pure joy. That support created a sense of calm that has helped me through the last several months.

You have been with me in and out of television trucks and production meetings. Often giving me a little kick or poke as I read highlights with our Tape AD, Charlie Cucchiara while preparing for the pregame show. You have Charlie to thank for going to pregame skates on Long Island so I could get a little extra rest to be ready for showtime. Really, my entire MSG and Islanders crew is more like family. They embraced you and supported us both from the moment they found out you were on the way.

Dad and I still don’t know if you’re a boy or a girl.  That will be the biggest surprise whenever you decide to join us. But so far one of the best surprises of this pregnancy has been how the Islanders fans have fussed over you and me in the best way. Every game dozens of people stop by the set to wish us well. They share stories and pictures of their kids. They’ve brought cards and presents from all over. We even had an impromptu baby shower with the Blue and Orange Army. I almost cried when I opened the little Islanders jersey and the hand crocheted baby blanket. This pregnancy only further confirms my belief that these are some of the best fans and people out there.

You should know that I’m not doing this alone. Your dad is my rock. He talks to you in a funny voice and keeps me laughing even when I’ve had a hard day or I’m not feeling great. We both get excited for Monday mornings when the app on our phones tells us how big you are. This week you’re the size of a butternut squash.

This week I am also missing my first MSG broadcast of an Islanders game in more than four years. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard. I am proud of the work I do with our crew and I know by not being there, things are a little more complicated. But you’re my first priority now and I know the shows in Montreal, Winnipeg, and Florida will be great. I’ll be watching from home on TV, cheering for AJ, Jennifer, Brendan, and Butch, as well as the Islanders.

Speaking of the Islanders, you have been along for a wild ride this season so far and I expect the rest of the way to be just as entertaining. The team has surprised a lot of people and they are battling for first place in the division. I know you’re already a fan because every time the organ plays dut-dut-dut-dut-dut “Let’s Go Islanders!” you jump with excitement. I hope part of our continued adventure together involves a Stanley Cup, if not this year sometime soon.

There you have it. That’s part of what our journey together has been like so far. This is just the beginning. You have so much to look forward to.

“So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
Or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”

The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.