Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seeing with new eyes

It's amazing how you get to see people in certain situations and it changes how you see them.  Someone recently said something on Facebook about enjoying watching her brother with her daughter, and how it was an unexpected joy for her.  I'd agree there are surprises when you watch someone love your children.  It sort of makes you love them more, or at least in a different way.  Watching my father with my daughter is really nice, because it's so different from how he was with us as children.  He's a much more patient grandfather than he was a father.  My mother is a more cheerful grandmother than she was a mother.  It changes some of how I view them.

This has been the case with a few people I've watched with my daughter, but the one that causes the breath to catch in my throat every time is watching my husband.  My husband, who I thought I loved as much as I could possibly love before my daughter was born has taught me that you should never think you've reached your capacity to love someone, because there's always something that will open a door to more.  I watch him with her, cuddling her as she sleeps, bouncing her when she fusses, pacing the floor with her when she won't sleep, holding her close to his chest when she's cold after a bath, rubbing her fuzzy hair gently as he makes ridiculous faces at her in the hopes of enticing a smile to appear between those chubby cheeks, and oh....oh it hurts to breathe.  My heart bursts in my chest each time, and sometimes I find tears springing to my eyes unexpectedly because it is all too much to take.  In those moments, I love him more than I thought I could, and it feels like there's just too much for me to be able to explain.  It is, quite simply, enchanting.

Before my daughter was born, I talked a lot about being alone on an island, feeling like no one else "got it" when I'd talk about how I was feeling, or with my husband just not being as interested or involved as I might want him to be, and it was hard.  There was a small piece of me that worried those feelings would continue after she was born, but I sort of think the opposite happened.  He loves her so completely, so fiercely that sometimes I wonder if the tables have turned and he's on the island and I'm the one swimming offshore.  When I feel like I'm frustrated and exhausted and have to remind myself how much I love her, he seems to just feel it so effortlessly.  Sometimes the pieces of him that I've come to love so much are also things that break my heart a little bit.  Sometimes it's hard to watch someone do something so easily that you struggle with, and as much as I love watching him be a father, it makes me second guess myself as a mother.  When I lose my temper with her crying, or find myself not wanting to hold her for hours on end, or realize she's spent most of her day in her swing because I had other things to do, I wonder if I'm not a very good mom.  Then there are nights where I am feeding her and I can't stop myself from kissing her tiny forehead and I think that maybe, maybe I'm doing ok.  

But even in my moments of struggle, I never tire of watching my husband become the person I think he was always meant to be.  I think that where I'm not the most natural mother, my husband is the most natural father I've ever seen.  I think that all of this time, he was meant to be a dad, and it's so beautiful to watch.  I can't wait for the years we have ahead of us, to watch him grow with her, play with her, let her paint his fingernails purple when she asks, teach her to ride a bike, hug her when her first boyfriend breaks her heart. and walk her down the aisle at her wedding.  I want to watch him love her, and that will be a beautiful adventure.


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