My daughter is inarguably a Daddys girl already. She’s been gracing this planet with her presence for a little under three weeks and she already has that man wrapped around her tiny little finger. He comes home from work and after greeting the other kids he will swoop and scoop her up, cradle her to him and croon sweet nothings about “Princess” and “Pretty Girl.” When he holds her against his chest she will instinctively curl in like a cashew and burrow her face against his chest or shoulder. It’s love at it’s finest.
The thing is, this man is not her biological father.
Nope. Her biological father signed out about 15 minutes after I showed him to positive pregnancy test. I tried to make it work for awhile but it dawn ed on me pretty quickly that his priorities were out of whack and that I had no business sticking it out with some “man” who didn’t put his child before himself. So, I kicked him out. Packed his shit up one day when he was god knows where and hadn’t come home from work the day before. Piled it out by the curb. He came and picked it up and I never saw his face again. And for a time I was okay with being alone. Eff it. I had my sons, and this blessing in my womb. I was sorrounded in love. What more did I need? The way i saw it, men were all dogs. Okay, maybe not ALL men. I had a few friends with amazing husbands/boyfriends who I was mildly jealous of. But I just figured it wasn’t in my cards to have a man like that. I would just stay single and be fine with it.
Even after I let my walls down enough to give this man a shot…I still clung stubbornly to a few loose bricks that made up the wall.
Then labor hit. And I was euphoric and focused and excited. I told him to get some sleep. He had worked all day and it was the middle of the night. I was strong. Independent. Self Assured. I needed no one.
But then transition hit. Hard. And I found myself clinging to his hand, stringing together cuss words in creative combinations, roaring out with intensity. And he sat there. Patient. Strong. Affirming me with words and touch. Keeping me afloat in the ocean of uncertainty. He became my rock. Stoic. Brave. You would have thought he had been through a million births already.
And then she was born.
And he got to announce to the whole room “It’s a girl!” and he was almost as excited as I was. He trailed after the doctors who swooped her away to the adjoining room to check on her and do her Apgar screening. Snapped a bunch of pictures. Came back to my side to tell me how much he loved me, tell me how beautiful she was, how amazing I was, how thankful he was. Took more pictures of me holding her all swaddled up for the very first time. Followed her up to the NICU as if a magnet connected his heart to hers.
I opened his closet the other day to hang a few shirts and there was a sticker from the hospital stuck to the clothes bar that said “I am Dad visiting Baby Rich.” The stickers he was required to wear on his shirt when he visited her in the NICU. He hadn’t thrown it away. It was a tangible proclamation of his initiation into Fatherhood.
The other day we went out to eat. Brought Princess Peanut along. Two different people told me she looked like Daddy. They meant the man sitting beside me. I realized they were right. And I was okay with that.
When Lucy gets older, she will be told about her biological father. She has the right to know. But I don’t think the news will impact her very heavily. After all, she already has a Daddy who dotes on her, who adores her.
She is lucky. So blessed. I never knew my dad. He wasn’t even at my birth. My mom raised me all on her own. my father met me once. When I was 2 months old. The first time he held me was in the airport when he went to pick up my mother and I. He was drunk and was carrying me, showing me off like some treasure he had discovered. My mother was scared he would drop me. That story brought me some semblance of comfort as a teenager when I thought of the fact he had not cared enough to stay, that I hadn’t mattered enough to him, hadn’t been special enough for him to stick around. I would recall that story and think “Well, he cared about me at ONE point.” I carried that feeling of not being special, not mattering much, through my life. And because of it, I spent a long time seeking affection and attention from men. Settled for men who didn’t deserve me. But I had it twisted in my brain that I didn’t deserve any better. It took me 34 years to learn better. To do better.
I am so thankful that Lucy won’t go through that same BS. She has this solid example of a man right here. Protecting her, honoring her, loving her. Any man she looks to love later in life is going to have to measure up pretty high on the “awesome-meter”. This morning she made a certain face and I caught a strong resemblance of him in her eyes and I forgot for a brief second she isn’t actually biologically his.
But what does that matter? DNA is only so much in the grand scheme of things. Love is really what matters. And love……well, I’m not sure there is a girl on earth more loved by her father than Lucy is.
She truly is daddy’s girl. ❤