I had no idea. I had no idea. For all the time I've spent imagining what it would be like to become a father, I realized last Sunday night that you simply can't know until it happens. Watching my little girl being born was a dream come true, easily the most memorable moment of my life. The concept of miracles has always been very abstract for me, hard to grasp, sort of like trying to believe in ghosts. It's much easier to believe if you actually witness one. Well, as of 10:13 p.m. on Sunday April 10, 2005, I am a believer. I am so overwhelmed and awed by our little girl. Her existence and my related feelings and emotions simply cannot be explained within my mind, with science, with biology. Certainly people in those fields would offer up rational reasons for my feelings. I'm supposed to bond with her to ensure my commitment to protecting her, to ensure her survival and so forth. But like most of what science has to offer, I usually find myself wanting more, suspecting something bigger and more universal than any of us is aware of. Not necessarily God, although I certainly hope that's the case. More on that subject in the future.
I am just totally and completely engulfed in love for my wife and daughter. It seems as though my reason for being has finally been revealed to me. Like all of my life to this point has been in preparation for fatherhood. That isn't taking anything away from life thus far, far from it. But I've always imagined that having a child is the ultimate way for me to participate in life. I want to be sensitive here, as I have friends who have been struggling to have children of their own. I can only wish them the best, and trust that when it does finally happen for them, their own feelings will be all the sweeter. I simply could not resist falling under the spell of my little girl. She has me completely wrapped around her finger. Literally, as her hands are so tiny in mine. She's just so incredibly cute. Of course all parents say that of their children. She could look like Rosanne Barr and I'd still convince you she was adorable. Sitting with her sleeping in my arms, at say 4 in the morning, is as close to pure joy as I've ever felt.
But while I revel in that joy, I've sometimes found myself wishing for another miracle. The miracle of sleep. Again, I had imagined and expected to feel some physical strain once she arrived. But I've experienced depths of fatigue I didn't know were possible. And with that comes the difficulty in thinking clearly, the inevitable crabbiness, and the tangible fear of not being able to handle it all. Ergo the hiatus in my writing here. I'm honestly not certain that any of this post is going to make sense. It's just sort of fumbling out of me. I suspect most parents who read this are quietly chuckling, knowing all too well what I'm talking about, and gently patting their mental badge of honor for having braved this same terrain. I've never run a marathon, and likely never will, but it seems a fitting metaphor. Only in this case there is no finish line.
And that of course brings me back to my illness. While I've been able to primarily focus on all the good stuff lately, the reality of my situation still raises its ugly head from time to time. While at the hospital, as I was rocking with my daughter and seemingly staring at her for hours, I was suddenly struck by an intense, guttural terror that I might not be around for her. I've had similar feelings before, but never so acute. It seems the old saying is true, the higher the highs, the lower the lows. Thankfully those feelings have come less often and I've been able to focus on spending time with my girls. If anything, my determination to fight this illness with every ounce of strength I have grows every time I look at her. Quite often I don't want to sleep. I want to experience every possible second with her, be there for her, keep her safe.
Life is indeed a miracle. My daughter has helped me recognize that fact in a very real way. Appropriate then that we named her Eva, derived from Eve, the penultimate name for life (did you notice the subtle hint in the title of my last post?). She represents everything that is good in the world to me. Her arrival has helped keep my hope for another miracle alive. The hope for a cure. But until that day, I will simply enjoy being her dad, holding her, watching her sleep, staring into her eyes, and telling her how much I love her.