Nobody tells you this--or maybe it's just me--but on that first day, the day when you meet your baby for the first time and she meets, well, everything for the first time. On that day, you don't know her, not yet. She's a stranger. But little by little you get to know her, you get to know every little thing about her, like what her ears smell like and how her cry is different when she's afraid and when she's outraged. And then one day you look at her and you realize that you love her, so much that you have to stop yourself from constantly talking about her IN ALL CAPS, so much that just the sight of her inquisitive little face makes your chest hurt. And you've been loving her for a long time now but it snuck up on you, so you didn't notice it happening when it was happening, but BANG, here it is now. Nobody tells you this, but there it is.
Last year at his dance recital, Jason kind of froze up. I don't know if it was the lights or the crowd noises, but he looked a little like a deer in the headlights. At the very end, though, he did his somersault at just the right time, and the crowded erupted at the cuteness. I felt like my chest might burst, so much was I swelling with pride and love.
This year there was also a boy in the dance who froze up, but it wasn't Jason. He looked confident and like he was having a lot of fun. And, as you can see, both cool and adorable.
How is it possible to feel so much joy, so much love for a person? I don't know, but I do.
The first time through, he got stuck and shouted for my help. I gave it, and he continued on.
The second time through I was there waiting for him, and reached out to give him a leg up before he could get upset. I followed beside him the next few times, ready to push or pull as soon as he asked.
But before long, he had figured out how to climb over that steep spot on his own, and thereafter he didn't need me anymore.
But then he turned and beckoned me to follow him in. "Daddy, come on!" he shouted. "I want you!"
It's nice to be wanted.