Dear Daphne – 6 Months
Today you are exactly six months old. And we’ve come a very long way since that bizarre day at the hospital.
You have transcended your original status as a cacophonous and inefficient biological machine for turning Similac into poop, and your personality has officially started to show.
And I’m happy to say that you have the easiest smile of any baby I’ve ever met.
You smile all the time.
Even if you’re grouchy, I can make a face or a ridiculous noise at you and you’ll start to crack a grin.
Granted, this tends to make you even more grouchy since you really don’t want to smile, so you make angrier noises. Which prompts me to make more ridiculous faces… This process repeats itself until you give up, put your thumb in your mouth, and fall asleep. Dad wins again.
And speaking of sleep, you’re still waking me up on a nightly basis for a mid-night bottle. And as much as it pains me to trudge up those steps at 3am and feed/rock you back to sleep, it’s also something I’m going to miss (a little) once you don’t need me to do it anymore.
Because most nights, when I lift you up to put you back in your crib, your little hands reach up and hold onto my shoulder, and you press your tiny face into my neck. This causes me to freeze in place in a vain attempt to preserve everything, to hold that closeness, for as long as I can.
Because there’s an ancestral part of my consciousness that awoke the day you were born, as if the DNA instructions of fatherhood unfurled. And in these moments I hear it whisper how fleeting all this is, and how important it is to hold on to every second.
I have also been known, after I’ve put you back in your crib, to stand there and watch you sleep.
You do not know this yet, but I am going to recite many tales (edited for content), of my youthful exploits to you. I will do this because I am, in fact, pretty awesome and there have been some truly amazing moments in my life.
I’ve watched the sun rise over Zion National Park.
Sat atop the foremast of a tall ship during the Chesapeake Schooner Race.
Played with wild dolphins in the Atlantic.
Heard the cathedral bells echo throughout the city of Rome at dawn.
Snowboarded at sunset down the slopes of Park City.
I’ve climbed mountains, sailed oceans, and traversed deserts.
But the moments when I look down at you while you sleep, and listen to you breathe?
Those are the most perfect moments I’ve ever known. And are easily the closest I’ve ever felt to God.
You are rapidly developing your own identity, and are proving capable of liking (and vehemently disliking), certain things. For example, you don’t care much for Kermit the Frog. You’re lukewarm toward Grover. But that pig from Super Why is the most amazing thing to happen to animation since Friz Freling.
You’re becoming a little person now, one who has no idea the amount of light and happiness she brings to everyone she meets.
My whole world is brighter and more vibrant, because I’m looking at it all through the eyes of a new father. Through the lens of you.
Our entire family derives boundless joy from your very existence. And in our most difficult times you shine like a tiny star and help us all through, simply by being you. I realize that’s an awfully heavy burden, particularly for such little shoulders…
But you carry it with a smile.
I love you, daughter.