Why ever father should have a daughter
The birth of my daughter changed my life. I think the birth of every child changes a parent’s life so that is not really an impressive statement then is it? Still, she really did. I didn’t think that I wanted children, and even after my wife convinced me that we were going to have them, I still wasn’t sure I liked the concept. I mean I love my kids but babies kind of suck. I mean yay, they are cute… kind of. A newborn looks a lot like a 1990’s Hollywood aliens. I hear you out there going, “Nooo you can’t say that, babies are precious.” I didn’t say they weren’t, diamonds are precious too, still not cute. I have “had” three now, all from different ethnic backgrounds, and all of them looked funny for the first couple weeks. And what is so wrong with saying so? Plus they have no respect for when you are trying to sleep. In fact, it is the opposite. While in the womb, a baby usually sleeps during the daytime hours while the mom is moving, my guess is to prevent motion sickness from being jostled about in a dark space. I mean have you ever rolled down a hill in the dark, if not you probably didn’t grow up in the mid-west, it is nauseating. That means the babies are awake more during the night during pregnancy. This translates to them being asleep most of the day when they are firstborn. Which means they are awake during the night. They also poop a lot, spit upon you (56% of what he ate in Simons case, but we will get to that in his story), get mad at the drop of a hat, and they never say thank you. See what I mean, where are the redeeming qualities? Ya, they grow up into children which are arguably more fun, which then grow into teenagers, which I have heard are almost worse than babies. Then finally on into adults that don’t call on your birthday or send Christmas cards.
Anyways, my wife and I were about 13 months into trying to adopt when we got a call from a Crisis Pregnancy Center here in Kansas that there was finally a mom who wanted to meet us. It was one of the most exciting and terrifying phone calls I have ever gotten in my life. Some of you may be wondering why I say terrifying. Most people find out they are pregnant and have 9 months to prepare for the baby. We had 13 weeks. But wait you may be saying at this point, “You said you were 13 months into the adoption process.” Yes, I did, like at the beginning of this paragraph, but here is the thing: when you start the adoption process they do not recommend that you start doing a lot of prep work for the child until you have been selected. “Why?” you ask in this ongoing hypothetical conversation I am having with myself. Well because I make the waiting process significantly harder. For example, we had a spare room we were using as an office that we planned to convert to a nursery for the first child. If we had done that right away every time, we walked in that room we would have been like, is anyone ever actually going to choose us to adopt a child. But we had not been picked yet, just given the chance to meet her. And I am so glad we got that chance. She was a wonderful girl; I can say that cause she was younger than me, and we all had a great first meeting. She was trying to complete a dental hygienist program and raise a son all at the same time. The conception had happened as the result of a rape, but she still felt that life was precious and wanted to give our daughter a chance to grow into the incredible girl she is today. My wife and she started getting together every once and a while to get to know each other better. Meanwhile, we started prepping for our baby girl. A room got repainted, a crib was built, cloths were purchase and a car seat installed. About a weak ahead of the scheduled due date we got a call that the mother was having some contractions and that we should be on standby. Which meant that we should get a bag packed and be ready if the call us again. So, we quickly packed our bag and immediately started the little over an hour's drive to the hospital she would be going to. About halfway to the hospital, we got the call that she was going into to have the baby and we made it to the hospital about 10 minutes before she went in for her C section. I stayed in the waiting room while Erin went into surgery with her as her support person. Ten minutes later my wife was the first one, other than the delivery doctor, to hold our baby girl. (So I am told; I wasn’t there)
We had to stay in the hospital until birth mom was ready to be released. But three days later in the early evening, we were on our way home with Gabriella. But we weren’t out of the woods yet. Birth mom had not signed the paperwork in the hospital and was thinking about not doing it at all. It is hard to give up something you have taken care of for that long and she was having second thoughts on it. We had that little girl in our house for almost two weeks before we got the call that she had signed. It was easily the longest two weeks of our lives. And we had gone through two weeks of chemo, and all the nasty aftermath that follows. Erin had been so stressed up to that point that she had to go to the ER after. Relaxing after being so tense for so long had let her body temperature spike to over 102 degrees. So the “cute” little bundle of poop and crying was officially ours. I was starting to warm up to the idea of a child at that point, which sounds really bad considering the amount of work we had put in to get one. But I am just trying to be completely honest, I was not fully on board yet.
Now, Gabs (Gabriella) has been the most well-behaved baby of all our children so far. She settled into a sleep schedule easy, she liked to sleep and loved to eat. She was also the only one of our children who would take a pacifier and those things are a parent’s best friend. If Simon had been our firstborn he would have been an only child (love the kid, but wow) but like I said his story comes later. So, this all really helped but I wasn’t fully on the "babies are great train" till she started smiling.
Babies don’t make intentional faces until 2-4 months after they are born. Up to that point, they are just trying to figure out where the warm dark place they used to get to sleep all the time went. I know it sounds cheesy but an intentional smile from your child is probably the first rewarding feeling you will ever get out of them. At the same time, it is one of the best you will ever get. Especially coming from a baby. It is just a pure honest expression of love. Babies can’t fake emotions, so when one smiles at you without you trying to get it to; that just means that you make that baby happy for some unknown reason and there is something wonderfully simple about that.
And it only got better from there. Her first noises were very deep growls and they were quickly followed by her first two teeth; a pair of very sharp canines. So, she would crawl around the house growling and bearing her fangs at you. Occasionally, she would even try to take a bite out of your leg. Gabriella’s first Dada, which came before Mama, by the way, melted my heart. After she got her legs under her a little bit I taught her to woosh, which is to say that anytime you run and you want to go really fast you shout woosh and it makes you go faster. Now she is my little sho chef when I cook, she has her own knife (kid-safe) and cutting board as well as a cute white apron and hat for when we are cooking. She always puts the yum in for me just before the food gets done. It is the most important spice. But none of this covers why a father specifically needs a daughter.
That will come the first time, she comes crying to you because she
had a bad dream and needs you to hold her hand while she falls back asleep. When she gets scared of something and jumps into your arms when you are in public. Or when she dresses for the first time and comes to you to ask if she looks cute. I promise you she will even though her shirt is inside out, her shorts are on backward, and her socks are mismatched.
Every father needs a daughter because they will slowly turn into their mothers. A child is a sponge that absorbs information and grows from it. Wouldn’t you want to spend time with your wife as a child? To watch her grow into the woman you fell in love with. I see a little part of my wife in my daughter every day. There is no blood relationship between them but they still have the same smile. They do the same spazzy little dances when they are happy. They both sing when they are riding in the car. And they both give the best hugs. My daughter is not even 3 years old yet and still so much of my wife has rubbed off on her. I can’t wait to see what kind of woman that little girl grows into because I know that if she turns out anything like my wife, the world will be a better place for it.
But more on that later. In the meantime, I hope this message finds you in good health and with a sound mind. I am just another confused father from Kansas wondering...
HOW DID I END UP HERE?