I remember the day she was born, but not with the same fond memories that most have. The day was tainted, and quickly went from what could have been one of the best days ever, to the worst. Instead of becoming a family, we became separated – by death. Instead of having ‘two’ I was walking away and left with one. One, I had no idea what to do with. For once, I was left alone – perhaps for the first time in my life.
She scared me. All less than 10 pounds of her. Everything about her scared me. Her cry, her size, her eyes. They terrified me. Which was funny, considering I’m not scared of heights, the dark or even spiders -some of the most common fears around. But being left alone with my infant daughter? More than scared me. It terrified me.
I don’t remember the day we went home. Don’t recall that first night. I don’t know when, or if really, the terror left. I remember the crying. I remember the weight of her and the combined responsibility being more than I could handle at times. There was no “Its your turn, I just fed her/changed her/dealt with her. There was only the crying. The screaming. The simply not knowing. The pure TERROR of raising this tiny, helpless human.
I don’t remember when exactly, but somewhere between, the crying became less frequent, and the smiles more frequent and I became someone’s daddy for the first time. While it’s true, that she probably stole my heart from the moment I saw her, the reality of what I was now in for – didn’t set in for a few months. Or maybe it was years.
We won’t ever know what her 12th year of life will look like. Won’t ever know what she would say, or do, or even be. But I do know, that 12 years ago, even though I didn’t know it then, my life would forever be changed. In a small room where a tiny girl held more than just my last name. She held a piece of my heart, and she never did give it back.
Happy Birthday, baby girl.
– Your dad