Personal Best: Connection to Maine
When the doctor gently placed my newborn daughter in my arms, the instant I held her fragile body, I knew with every atom of my being that life was about to change - and me with it. And so I cried and I laughed and I held her mewling little body closer to me. Births are like that - there's a story in every one, and poetry, too.
I was over the moon and sliding down the Big Dipper, to extend the analogy a bit further. Not only did I get my wish for a daughter, but as if in answer to an unasked prayer, she was born in Maine. Which meant a lot to me because I wasn't born here.
The insight slowly sunk in late one night as I walked my daughter back and forth down the deserted maternity ward hallway, lulling her to sleep. Beaming, I suddenly opined to myself that my role as a resident in Maine just got less tenuous and more real.
My daughter, I just realized, had with her birth notched me farther up the Pine Tree State in terms of status. Not that any of this made an iota of difference to my daughter, you understand. Nor will it as time goes by, I imagine. She will just always think of Maine as home because it was where she drew her first breath.
For me, however, it's different. Besides being what I cherish the most, my daughter is my strongest connection to Maine. Her life has only just begun, and I have no idea where it will take her. But it started here in Maine, in Belfast, on a late Saturday night - and you could say it was the greatest party of them all.
My role as an outsider is lessened now. Today when I am asked how long I have lived here, I can squeeze my daughter's hand and smile when I say not long, but I've a reason to now.
And so it is true: the wonders of a child, and Maine, never cease to amaze.
A native of Burry Port, Wales, Allister Timms is Down East's copy editor and a proud dad.