Dear Baby

What I really want to tell him is to pick up that baby of his and hold her tight, to set the moon on the edge of her crib and to hang her name up in the stars.
— from My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult

Dear Baby,

I want to tell you about your daddy.  I don’t even know where to start.  Maybe with this:  He loves you so, so much.  I mean, of course he does, right?  He’s your dad.  But really, it’s immense and it’s more overt than I imagined.  I thought he’d love you shyly – secretly, even – but it’s big and right out there in the open, and it is something to see.

When we got engaged, he didn’t tell anyone at work (because he didn’t want to answer questions about where and when and details), but he’s had your sonogram picture on his desk at work for months and months – he’s already so proud to be your daddy.  He talks to you in my belly every day, and touches you and gives you kisses.  I assumed that was something he’d only do when it was just us, but he doesn’t care who’s around.  He asks everyone he knows who’s already a parent for advice because he wants to be sure he does right by you.

About six weeks ago, he had a bad day at work.  On his way out, a co-worker asked him how his day was.  He said, “It was terrible, but I don’t care, because tonight I get to go home and put my daughter’s dresser together.”  When he got home and told me this story, he said, “I’m beginning to realize what’s really important.  Work only matters as a means to an end.  She, and you, are what really matter.”

He has excitedly put together every piece of equipment and furniture you have amassed, and even when the process is frustrating, he delights in the end result, imagining how happy you’ll be swaying in your swing or kicking your feet while lying in your crib.  He has installed and removed and reinstalled your carseat at least twice in each car, wanting to be extra sure that it’s as safe as it can possibly be.

I knew when we got together, of course, that he’d be a good dad,  but I assumed he’d be a more hands-off dad, or at least the kind of dad who’s more comfortable with older kids (he’s great with your cousins).  But we took a breastfeeding class, and there were fake babies, and your daddy held our baby the entire time except when I was practicing with her.  He cradled her, and rubbed her back, and made sure her diaper was on right, and patted her belly.  When he’d hand her to me, I’d grab her by the arm – she was fake, after all – and he’d give me a look and say, “You have to support her neck.”  It’s cliche, but true: I fell in love with him even more that day.

I don’t want you to think his giant love for you means you’re going to get away with anything, though.  He’s already steeling himself for the onslaught of puppy dog eyes and “Daddy, please” in a sweet little voice.  He’s not going to be a pushover.  And when you’re bigger and you think that he’s the meanest father in the universe and he just doesn’t understand you,  I’m going to show you this.  You might still be right that he doesn’t understand you, but at least you’ll know that he has loved you since before we even knew you were you and that all he wants is to be the best dad he can be.

See you soon, baby girl.



3 thoughts on “Dear Baby

  1. Looooooooooved this. I am so glad that we live in a time and place where men can be active in their children’s lives, and express the love they have for their kids. It’s wonderful.

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