On the making of a father.
August 01, 2009

You could easily argue that I married Donald not HOPING that he would be a good father or even KNOWING that he would be a good father, but BECAUSE he would be a good father.

Still, I reached the last few weeks of my pregnancy and spent approximately 412% of my time wondering what sort of parent my husband would be.  I suppose that this is natural – that it is always immensely tricky to predict how any person will respond to an enormous life change – but it also made me feel a little guilty.

The first few days we were home with Charlotte were phenomenally difficult.  There was no distinction between day and night – every hour was exhausting and every minute was spent in search of that delicate balance of caring for an infant.  (On that note: this shit is HARD).  (I mean, instinct kicks in and all, but still?  This shit is HARD).

Whether I intended to or not, I went into this whole parenthood thing with a preconceived notion of how these days would go.  And that preconceived notion was basically along the lines of “yeah, I’ll be stuck waking up alone at NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND IS AWAKE AT THIS HOUR O’CLOCK and it will take a swift kick to the testicles to wake up my husband and he’s going to be a callous prick and say something STUPID about the fact that HIS NIPPLES?  Ain’t the ones the baby wants.”

What can I say?  If you have low expectations, you can’t very well be disappointed, can you?

But you can be surprised.

In the end, Donald has been a fantastic father, probably a better father than I am a mother.  He is endlessly patient and amazed by every millimeter of his daughter.  He cradles her during the day and wakes up with us at night.  He will gladly stare at her for hours on end, memorizing her every feature and marveling at her every expression.  He is constantly commenting on how precious she is, how much he adores her, how she is the best part of his life.

When Charlotte is older, I know that I’ll want to tell her what Donald was like in these early days.  I’ll want her to know what a great man he is, of course, but I’ll also want her to know that he was a wonderful, loving, and doting father from the very beginning.

So I guess the way I’ll do that is to tell her the story that kicks off Donald’s fatherhood.  I’ll tell her about how we were there in the hospital, mere seconds after her birth, and he was holding her in his arms, bringing her to me, saying something about how she was our beautiful baby girl and he had never seen anything so lovely in his life.

And then I’ll tell her how he placed her on my chest, her belly against mine, her skin smooth and mine sweaty, her mouth desperately rooting for my nipple, and he leaned in closer and said, “Sarah, I’m sorry to tell you this, but marrying you has just become the second best choice I’ve ever made.”

Sometimes it’s the little things, the small turns of phrase, that make all the difference.  I cannot wait to tell Charlotte stories about her dad.  About the look on his face when he carried her in a sling, about the endless hours he sat with us and watched her suckle, about the way he fell asleep with her safely pressed against his chest.  Most of all, though, I cannot wait to tell her THAT STORY, about how the very first thing I remember him saying about her made my heart grow twelve sizes and then explode from all the love.

I cannot wait to tell her that sometimes being second best is just right.


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  1. By on August 01, 2009

    wow he has definately learnt the right things to say to a woman!! I think I just fell in love.. with that and with that ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL!! Good luck with settling in

  2. By beyond on August 01, 2009

    this brought tears to my eyes. so much love. the three of you are lucky to have each other…

  3. By Marla on August 01, 2009

    Yep, your husband is definitely a keeper. Charlotte is gorgeous too.

  4. By Joe @ Irrationaldad on August 01, 2009

    Seriously, dudes change when they become fathers. I’m nothing like the guy I was a couple years ago. My heart hurts when I hear other babies cry now (I work in hospitals for a living). I want to physically hurt parents that neglect their kids. And, hanging out at the bar and getting wasted doesn’t even SOUND fun anymore.

  5. By Elizabeth Mackey on August 01, 2009

    Sniff, sniff, that was so beautiful. 
    I do remember the zombie days, where you really don’t know what is even going on in the outside world! Like everything, this too shall pass.
    That last picture is gorgeous :) My daughter and I love seeing dad’s holding their little babies, it’s just so darn cute.

  6. By Jinxy @ Jinxyisms on August 01, 2009

    What a wonderful father Donald is and a perfect thing to say.

  7. By Aljolynn @ Restless Mama on August 01, 2009

    How lovely and heart-warming.  I got a little teary eyed…it’s nice to feel that way when you’re feeling happy for someone.

    You are all so blessed.

  8. By aimee on August 01, 2009

    Beautiful. I had much the same experience…I remember seeing my husband so lovingly hold our son and thinking that I hadn’t realized I could fall so much more deeply in love with him. Amazing!

  9. By sarah on August 01, 2009

    What a beautiful post!! You (and I) lucked out having wonderful spouses and fathers for our baby girls.

  10. By Julie Rivera on August 01, 2009

    You know, in reading your ode to Donald, which is wonderfully, poetically written, it dawned on me that perhaps the reason for our husbands’ endless fascination and patience and mystification with the newborn is that they have no had the privilege of spending every minute of the last 10 months with the child as has the mother. He’s just getting caught up.

  11. By on August 01, 2009

    curious how the gdiapers are working out for you guys? have you used them yet? i’m hoping to use them in the fall when my son is born so i’d love to hear what you guys think of them!

  12. By Elly on August 01, 2009

    Oh! I was just about to ask about gdiapers too! I guess let us know?

    And yay for Donald being a fantastic Dad, that’s really great to hear (not that he would have been anything less really, but the world could use more fantastic dads, I think :)

  13. By on August 01, 2009

    I love that last photo! Amazing! What a great dad he is becoming.

    And know that this shit it HARD for everyone, even me who was a nanny for 15+ years before being a mom, it was HARD. I spent 4 months in a fog. But you have a huge support network so know that whatever you need, there is someone there who can help. :) HUGS!

  14. By Bethany on August 01, 2009

    What a SWEET post! And what a sweet guy!! Congrats on your beautiful baby girl!

  15. By erin on August 02, 2009

    You’re so right, this shit is hard.  It gets easier.  I wanted to kick everyone who told me it gets easier, because it was SO DAMN HARD that I could not see how it could EVER get easier, but it does.  Amazingly quickly.

    What an awesome man Donald is, and how lucky you are.  Brian DID make the comment that his nipples were not Those From Which All Good Things Flow.  But - it is so beautiful watching her sleep on his chest, one of her favorite places to be.

  16. By Heidi on August 02, 2009

    Ok, I am in tears right now. So happy for you and your little fam. Take it all in like I know you are. You described it beautifully. And the picture of Donald holding your little sweetie in the beige polo—sooooooo cute. That is such a perfect frame-able picture! Congrats and God bless!

  17. By red pen mama on August 03, 2009

    wow. That’s a good one.

    DearDR said something similar to me after Monkey was born, about how I wasn’t the most beautiful girl or princess any more—something to that effect. He hastily added that I was the most beautiful woman, and/or queen. I was sufficiently mollified to give him another daughter about 27 months later.

    ciao,
    rpm

  18. By mommica on August 03, 2009

    Sobbing now…

  19. By Elizabeth on August 03, 2009

    Precious.  Perfectly precious.  Bless you.

  20. By Trenches of Mommyhood on August 06, 2009

    You (and Donald) got my eyes watering with this one!

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