Going to and from swimming class, as Daddy is carrying his little girl in a bag, people point and smile as though they’ve never seen a daddy carrying his little girl in a bag.
Since we brought you home a little more than a year ago, so much has changed.
I still look at you and marvel at your presence in our lives. Perhaps I always will. Your existence is a miracle. As you’ve grown and eagerly explored and learned this past year, so have Mommy and Daddy. Here’s what Daddy has learned.
I would’ve thought “chew it up and swallow it” is instinctual. Turns out instinctual is “chew it up and spit it out.”
In fact, you sometimes chew something, take it out of your mouth and put it on the tray. New food you then drop directly onto the floor.
Food you had no interest in when it was on your tray is much more appetizing when it’s on the floor.
If you loved eating it today, you’ll almost certainly hate it tomorrow.
Oatmeal cookies for breakfast are better than nothing for breakfast.
The dog will eat anything you feed him by hand.
Under no circumstances should a popsicle have a napkin wrapped around it. This is a tragedy worthy of screaming and crying.
When mommy and daddy first brought you home, we took you to meet mommy’s family. You had been with us for only a day. Daddy had you in the guestroom trying to help you take a nap. But you didn’t sleep because you needed your diaper changed. At that point daddy had only changed you a few times. But you’re my daughter, so how difficult could it be?
So much poop and such a squirming baby. And daddy gagged and gagged. Blinded by tears flooding my eyes, I struggled on, committed to changing that diaper by myself because you are my little girl.
A year later, you still squirm, but Daddy can handle just about everything. Recently, getting ready to give you a bath, I took your diaper off to let everything “air out” as you stood next to the tub waiting for the water to fill.
When I picked you up, I saw that you were actually standing and pooping.
Daddy tried to hold you on the toilet but you were done. So Daddy cleaned you up with toilet paper. Daddy had to call mommy to come help throw away the soiled bath toy and get the soiled rug.
And through all of that not once did I gag!
(Full disclosure – recently mommy was giving you a bath when she called Daddy for help. You pooped in the tub during your bath. It was rough. Daddy gagged pretty hard that night. )
What goes on inside a little girl’s diaper is a mystery to her father.
My capacity to love has grown beyond anything I would have imagined possible.
There is nothing more important in life than growing our capacity to love and be loved.
Daddy and Mommy love each other. And when you came into our lives, our hearts swelled larger with love. We love you more than we’ve every loved anyone before. Your love for us is unconditional and it feeds the unconditional love we have for you.
Because you wander around tottering and occasionally falling over I’m lulled into a false belief that you remain that slow when I’m not looking.
Paradoxically, when we take our eyes off you for any reason you miraculously become rock steady and fleet of foot.
The more important the reason for our distraction, the faster you move.
You developed a personality quickly. You have a favorite spot where you often sit. You love to wear your shoes, inside or out. You play hard, you eat food by the tiny fistful and you sleep soundly.
You’re really easy going, and are seldom fussy. Although lately, you get whiny when you don’t get your way. Today you were really upset that Daddy wouldn’t let you play with the trash.
You have favorite foods, an insatiable curiosity, and you love looking at strangers and smiling happily.
“That made my day,” a woman said, after you smiled joyfully at her in the grocery store.
You have a tremendously magnetic personality that draws people to you.
I wonder if you still have that, when you’re reading this.
You are our priority.
Like planets orbiting the sun, our whole lives revolve around you.
Mommy and daddy used to see a lot of movies – We’ve gone to the movie theater twice in the past year. Daddy thought he was going to finish writing his novel, six months ago. Daddy hasn’t auditioned for plays because I don’t want to be away from you during rehearsals.
We’ve rearranged our whole lives for you, and you’re worth every second.
You are our daughter. You are a part of us. Our hearts and spirits are connected.
but like an amputee’s phantom limb, the specter of your birth family is present.
You’ll have questions as you get older. We’ll answer them. And just as we do today, we’ll walk alongside you as you explore the world.
Mommy is meeting your local caseworker today.
Mommy will rush from work during her lunch break to drop off the paperwork, and pick up more paperwork for us to go get fingerprinted. (We get fingerprinted like criminals to prove that we’re not criminals. It’s a strange world.)
And, your room in nearly ready — it’s all decorated and freshly painted and we have new sheets and a new rug and all the presents from your mommy’s friends.
We were really sad that you weren’t with us yesterday for Mother’s Day. We’re afraid it’s hoping too much that you’ll be with us for Father’s Day.