Some people without kids think their friends who had kids became boring and started acting goofy. I’m sure some of my friends think this. I can hardly deny it when my voice rises an octave the moment I step in the door from work and Ellie runs up squealing, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy-home!”
“Hi, Ellie! How was your day?”
“You went to the park?”
I seriously can’t remember what my life was like before this little person was here. I mean, I remember being me, alone, and then getting married and not being so alone anymore and it was fun for those few years. And then we found out it was “positive” and we just stared at the nurse in shock.
“Positive that it is, or positive that it isn’t?” I asked, gingerly.
“Positive. How’s the nausea?”
“You mean right now?”
But now she’s almost 2 and she’s weasled her way into our lives with all these cute, diabolical things she does to whack your heart with cuteness. You don’t like sharing this stuff as a parent because you know how you sound–especially to those uninitiated friends. But every night after she’s gotten her pacifiers (she needs two for some reason) and said her prayers, it’s the same thing.
Plonk. . . plonk.
I go in and hand her back the plugs and she reinserts one and smears the other across her face. Her legs go out from under her and she shlumps to the pillow.
“Night night, Ellie. Kisses.”
I blow her a kiss and she catches it in her open hand.
“We already prayed. It’s time to sleep. Night night.”
And I leave the door open a crack and come back to writing some more. And all the time, I’m feeling something beyond the words that go on the page, something I can’t express like a longing to be reconnected, as though I’m back in that room with her trying to go to sleep, but I can’t as long as I’m here in this body. Like Updike talks about, I’m wandering through volumes of the unexpressed, but I can’t even express the most basic thing I’m feeling, this attachment to my daughter, like possession.
I always said I wouldn’t call her “my” daughter to keep the distinction clear that she was God’s and we were just raising her for Him. Nice sentiment. But little did I know that I’d be the one who’d end up owned, waiting for the second “pasey” to fall for my excuse to return to my heart.