I’ve never been one to set a huge store on particular dates. If we celebrated my birthday a few days before or after—say, on the weekend instead of the Wednesday my birthday fell on—all was well. And such celebrations were usually pretty low-key. But I find it impossible to glance at the calendar and see August 26 and 27 looking at me without reliving those terribly tragic days a year ago.
I miss my dad.
There’s no getting around it. I’m angry that he’s not here to help my brother through his divorce. I’m griefstricken every time Kara reaches a new milestone and he’s not here to share it. When Kara plays with her adopted family at church, as crazy as it sounds I’m jealous for my dad’s sake that he’ll never be able to play with her the way they do.
And yet, those are just… moments. The real tragedy seems to me another illogical emotional loophole: that, for the most part, my day-to-day life remains the same. My dad is gone and nothing should be the same; everything should be different; there should be a big gaping hole in my vision—something, anything to show me and the world what has been lost.
But there’s not. And while in a way it seems tragic, I simultaneously rejoice in that blessing. My life remains largely the same because I have no major regrets. I know how very much he loved me. And he knew how very much my husband loves me; my father gave me away to a man we all know treats me as well as Dad ever could. And though Dad will never see Kara smile or hear her laugh or watch her crawl and walk and play, he got to see her entry into this world. He left me with a whole new family of my own and the sure knowledge that it was an offshoot of, not a replacement for, my home nest.
It’s true that in many ways life will never be the same, but the love he showed me throughout his life will continue to be an inspiration to me, just as it always has been.
There are countless reasons why naptime is so important to both babies and their caretakers, but here’s one that most non-parents never think about:
Baby is cranky. It’s nap time. You dim the lights, play or sing soothing songs, rock rhythmically for a long time. Baby dozes off, and you’re not entirely certain that you aren’t nodding off, too. It’s time… time to attempt to lay Baby down in the crib. Because after doing all the things it takes to put Baby in sleepy mode, you yourself are absolutely certain that you cannot survive without a nap. You hold your breath and place Baby down, thinking longingly of your own bed (or the couch, or the floor—really anywhere you can fall asleep) and up she sits, screaming and crying, absolutely convinced that the 5 minutes of dozing in the rocking chair was as much of a nap as she needs, thank you very much.
And in that moment, there is not enough coffee in the world to resurrect Zombie Parent.
I’m not sure there’s any way for parents to go through the process of cleaning with an awake, active baby without allowing the child to make a mess in one place while you clean up somewhere else. I can have time to fold laundry… if Kara is happily pulling books off the shelf. I can pick up those books… if she’s pulling all the recycling out of the bin. If I was foolish enough to leave the laundry basket on the floor, I can do dishes… if she pulls all the clean clothes out of the basket.
I doubt I will ever feel useless or bored again in my life.
Ah, those funny and sarcastic ecards. They’ll be the death of me yet. I saw yet another one. This one said, “Marriage is just a fancy word for adopting an overgrown man-child who’s incapable of taking care of himself.”
I’ll admit it: I laughed. I mean, how many times have we married ladies gathered together and giggled at our husbands’ inability to do the simplest tasks, from sorting laundry to putting dishes away in the right place? And CLEANING? Good heavens, do they even SEE the dust piling up on the baseboards or that grimy ring in the bathtub?
Yet simultaneously, I cringed. Is this what the perception of men has really come to? Is that really the best we can hope for of our husbands, our sons? Not that long ago, men were our champions, our defenders, our heroes, our knights in shining armor. On TV, we had competent, respected fathers like Andy Griffith. Now we have Everybody Loves Raymond.
While the “manly man” epoch gave a distorted view of helpless women, do we really have to reverse roles in order for women to be elevated? Do we have to tear men down in order to build women up?
I am a mostly competent, fairly independent person. But when my car was wrongfully repossessed, I wouldn’t have been able to speak coherently through my tears or shouts—-whichever was dominant at the time—to get to the bottom of the problem. My husband had to take care of me. When it comes to those mundane tasks he just doesn’t seem to see the need for, like folding laundry, I’ve got his back. Yes, I take care of him. And he takes care of me. Which is just as it should be.