Tuesday, November 01, 2005

There's Something About Daughters

When I found out my wife was pregnant with our first (and so far, only) child, I was very excited. Over the course of weeks before we learned of the gender, people would ask me if I wanted a boy or a girl. I told the truth. I wanted a son. I didn’t get a son, I got a daughter and I couldn’t be happier about it.

The truth is, I loved Kaylee before she was born. It was somewhat frightening how I loved this baby that I couldn’t physically see. Sure I saw evidence of her, but I couldn’t see her. When Kaylee was born, I was overcome with emotion. I remember looking down at her when she, seconds old, was resting on my wife with her head on Katie’s shoulder. I said to Katie, “Look at her, hon. She’s beautiful.” Looking back, I feel as though I couldn’t have been more wrong in wanting a son. Should the Lord bless us with another child, I will honestly say “I don’t care what the gender of the child is.”

Kaylee is woderful and she has been a very easy kid so far. She slept through the night at an early age, sleeps pretty late (8:00 – 8:30 am), is rarely fussy and so on. Last night however, she had a tough night. She woke up several times crying. This was particularly frustrating as she seemed to wake just as I would fall asleep again. We decided perhaps it had to do with new teeth and gave her some Tylenol. I held her for a long time as she began to fall asleep on me.

I put her back in her crib and went back to my own bed. I tried to burn the memory of this late night cuddling in my mind. I know the day is coming when I’m going to wish I had savored these moments more, so I try to savor them as much as I can.

My favorite short story writer is the late Andre Dubus. In my favorite of his stories, A Father’s Story, the main character, who is a devout Catholic, covers up an car accident in which his intoxicated daughter killed a pedestrian. He couldn’t bear to watch her take the punishment that she would receive had he not covered up the accident. He has a conversation with God about this. He reminds God that God is a Father and God responds by acknowledging as much but adding that He did not lift the cup from His child. The father responds, “Yes, but you didn’t have a daughter.”

(I can’t find my copy of this story or I’d quote it directly. Perhaps I’ll pick it up at the local library and fix this.)


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