How could I feel so much love for this little person I’ve never met?
I asked myself that when I first held our daughter. Ella turns six months old tomorrow and I get the same strong, inexplicable feeling when I hold her.
The first time I met Ella, I cried. I hid it well, but I cried. Mostly, I smiled. My cheeks hurt. My heart swelled.
From the first day, I liked to watch her sleep. As I watch her dream, I am in awe of the stark contrast between Ella and what amounts to a lifetime of experiences yet to come. A clean slate, new beginning and sheer, utter innocence.
I envy her — I wish I could see the world without judgement or analysis. To see things for what they are is a gift a grown man like me isn’t capable of.
What is to come? Crawling, walking, first words, solid food (stinkier poops!) and so much laughter. I hope to see her learn to ride a bike, throw a ball, swim, play music and run around in circles for no reason. I want to be there. I get to be a kid again, and I will be her sidekick. Yes!
Before Ella was born, I spoke about how liberating being a father would be for me. I was ready to be a dad because I was tired of focusing so much energy on things that didn’t matter. I had to let go. I would have someone else to take care of. My own worst critic just got a lot busier with someone more important.
She freed me. I was able to breathe. In a way, she’s saved me from myself.
There are moments where Ella stops and looks up at me, almost to say, “hey Dad, you’re silly.” In that moment, not a whole lot else matters.
Not the apathy of politics, the pain and misfortune in this world, the environment, chores, work, video games. My faults, insecurities and baggage — it all melts away, like the crowd to a stage actor in the spotlight. All wiped away — for that moment — by a smile, sound or touch.
Being a father is great, better than expected, and I try hard every day to just to enjoy it. I try to see and accept these moments for what they are — nothing more, nothing less. Life is simpler, happier now. I have Ella and Jaime to thank for that.