I realized today that loving my daughter came easy, but it’s a hard love. Let me spend some time explaining that.
I don’t know what it is about guys but I’m sure many fathers out there will be able to relate. I instantly fell in love with my daughter at first sight… the ultrasound. Ultrasounds nowadays are so amazing, I could see details of her face, I could tell that she was going to look like me, and I could tell that she was going to love to cuddle. At that moment the world turned upside down and my life had new priorities, and the road to this hard love started.
I fell deeper in love when I first laid eyes on her in the delivery room. The waiting, hand-holding, nervousness, and watching my wife push all crescendoed into a big lunged cry as I surreally watched the nurse pass Lily to Kristin. I don’t remember the visual, but I remember that overwhelming feeling of love that poured out and resulted in me crying tears of joy. I’m pretty sure Kristin freeze-framed that look on my face when I first saw Lily (because I saw Lily before she did); she still talks about that moment. Yes, love came easy. I loved Lily before she was even born and I loved her so much more after she was born.
Fast-forward 8 months. I’m now in the grind at work, excelling at what I do and chipping away the barriers for a promotion. It’s spring now, that means extra duties to maintain the exterior of the home, not just the interior. The only thing I want to do when I get home is spend time with my ladies.
I knew I was signing up for a hard love when I asked Kristin to marry me (till death do us part, right?), but what I wasn’t expecting was the longing and ache to spend time with my daughter. I wasn’t expecting that my heart would absolutely melt by that easy smile she gives me and that I would be willing to do whatever it takes to get just one more smile. I wasn’t expecting to be sad when it’s time to put her down to bed. I wasn’t expecting to feel distress when I put her in her crib and she cries because she wants me to pick her up (I sit on the floor next to the crib to let her know it’s ok). I wasn’t expecting the pangs in my heart when I drop her off at her grandma’s house so I can go to work. Mornings are bittersweet, we spend time laughing, we get ready for the day (I get to pick out her outfit and dress her), I get to see the huge smile she gives her grandma in the morning, then I give her a kiss and back out of the front door; I know that she doesn’t understand why daddy is leaving. Grandma holds Lily up at the picture window so she can say goodbye to daddy while daddy goes to work. Sometimes I can’t bear to waive back… I white knuckle the steering wheel and drive forward, on to work.
But it’s all worth it. My life is infinitely better with my daughter in my life. I’m in a deep, hard love and there’s no turning back. The best part about it is that this is only the beginning.