This entry was posted on Monday, January 5th, 2009 at 7:18 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
My daughter hasn’t turned four yet, but having just officially started up my 2009 today, I thought this would be a good time to write a continuation of a couple of posts I did a while ago. It is my experience that people change a little around the first of the year. They have new outlooks, new goals. They have conviction and inspiration. Relationships strengthen or weaken, depending on their value. All in all, a new year ushers in a period of reflection for most people, followed by a period of action. I am no different. And I found myself thinking deeply about my role as a father this morning, and what my daughter and my relationship with her have meant to me over the past year. Today is my fist day back to work. Same for my wife. Frankie still has a few days off from school (is it just me or are the kids these days getting WAY more time off than we ever got?), so I dropped her off at the in-laws. We had just wrapped up two glorious weeks together, one of the longest breaks from work I have had in a long time. It was truly terrific, capped off by a frightening trip to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday, which incidentally marks the first time I have ever lost my daughter. But that’s another post.
Frankie was unusually quiet in the car. I assumed she was a little tired, but it still seemed a bit out of character for her. When we were about five minutes away from Grandma’s, she said softly to me: “Daddy? I don’t want you to go.” My outside reaction was a smile and some positive-parenting response about what a terrific time we all had and that I would see her this evening, followed by some rhetoric about having responsibilities and making sure that the time we DO spend together is as much fun as possible. My inside reaction? CRUSHED. The truth is, I didn’t want to go either. I’ve decided that I am NOT one of those people who would “get bored” being at home with my family all day, every day. I could do it every day of my life and love it. Breakfast, pajamas, music, games, newspapers, coffee, laughter, dancing. All of it. And the truth is, its only been a couple of hours and I miss her terribly.
I complain a lot. I complain about the routine. I complain about cleaning up spills and whining. I complain about having a junky SUV that smells like a month-old McDonalds 10-piece instead of some luxury car. I have even been known to complain about not having enough time to myself. Sometimes even the best dads need a kick in the ass. So today, when she fell and skinned her knees on the way into grandma’s house and I left her there with tears drying on her cheeks after the biggest hug I’ve gotten in a while, I got mine. She is my whole life, and I think that’s what being a father is really all about.
See, my wife Aline is currently about three-and-a-half months pregnant with our second child. This is the first time I have ever announced this news, and I actually debated whether or not to do it for a long time for two reasons. The first is fear of the “Great Jinx”. Yes, Aline made it past the 12-week milestone. But Frankie’s rocky birth and subsequent health issues have left us extremely gun shy and negative about the entire experience. Sure, we got a beautiful and healthy daughter out of it in the end, but the whole journey was simply less than rosy.
The second reason is that I have been a little unsure about how I myself have felt about it, and haven’t done very well with sorting out my feelings regarding a second child. I think I really want one, then I worry about the strain it will put on us. I get excited about doing up a new baby room, then I worry about how to pay for an extra tuition. I have been on the proverbial fence and it has kept me less than enthusiastic regarding the whole issue.
But this morning, as I left my daughter and reflected back on our experiences together over the last two weeks, I suddenly felt sure. Remembering her singing to herself quietly at the table while putting stickers on construction paper. Recalling the joy I felt when we wrestled one morning on the bed and her whole body shook with laughter. Sitting here typing with a quiet heartache while wondering about her little skinned knees are all signs that point to the same basic self-realization.
I LOVE my daughter. I LOVE being a father. And I am really. TRULY. Looking forward to doing it again. Hang in there, Frankie. We’ll get you a little brother or sister yet, you’ll see.