White Coat Underground

Reflections

When I look at my daughter, what do I see? There is so much in every glance. Usually, she’s moving too fast to pin down, running at me yelling, “Daddy!!!” I don’t know how anyone even looks at their kids without tearing up, even a little. There is of course a narcissistic joy in having someone around who (for now) loves you unconditionally. But there’s more.

When my daughter was a baby, she had the biggest eyes, like out of a Japanese cartoon. They were what everyone noticed. One day when I was pulling into the hospital I looked into the rear view mirror and I saw her eyes looking back at me. My eyes, with their heavy brow and cynical glint were the same shape as the ones that blinked at me in the morning when I changed her diapers. But strangely, they were also her mom’s, so big and round, taking in everything, missing nothing. And yet when she began to speak, her voice was her own, and still very much is.

I’ve always carried my daughter on my shoulders, and she’s always cooperated by being quite little. Yesterday on our family walk she asked for “uppy” and she wasn’t quite so easy to hoist up. I really gonna hate the day she can’t ride on my shoulders.

I know that life has a trajectory, that her growing up means my learning to live with that. I really know, so I try to suck up every second. I try to sneak home from work early, or put off her bedtime, or whatever else I can do to get a few more seconds of cuddles.

I can’t say it’s not nice this evening. I’m sitting in my back yard with a cold beer, looking at the garden we planted together, the three of us, up at a blue sky, with a gently breeze making the maple leaves shimmer. But my daughter is out tonight, giving my folks a well-deserved portion of her love.

Damn it I miss her.

Comments

  1. #1 Joseph Hewitt
    June 18, 2009

    Beautiful.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    June 18, 2009

    Childhood is like a sunset: you wouldn’t want it to last forever, even if it were possible — so the wise man enjoys it while it lasts.

  3. #3 HCN
    June 18, 2009

    What D.C. said. I am really glad for video (with triple back up and upgraded to new formats).

    Also, when children become teenagers they are still special. Each with their own talents and quirks. They also will surprise us with comments of moments they remember in their youth. It is so fun to hear that an incident that seemed minor to us, actually left a big impression on them.

    Though they can still be annoying (daughter has hidden all the laundry baskets in her room because she does not put her clothes away, younger son has finally cleaned out his room and the recycle bin is now full, older son has still not loaded the dishwasher). I find that the comic strip Zits is a cure for those annoyances. Younger son thinks the cartoonists have hidden a camera in our house.

  4. #4 D. C. Sessions
    June 18, 2009

    Also, when children become teenagers they are still special.

    Wait until they’re adults. When they’re not your responsibility, it takes a lot of stress away and you can just enjoy the people they’ve become.

    I am sooo looking forward to being a grandfather. In the meantime, the one who lives in-State is taking me out for lunch on Father’s Day.

    Enjoy them now, but don’t worry — it actually gets better.

  5. #5 LanceR, JSG
    June 18, 2009

    So, what you’re saying is that if I let my 13 year old son survive his adolescence, he will eventually become a real person?

    Whew. That’s a load off my mind. I was starting to wonder if having him neutered wouldn’t be safer for the world. (Kidding! It’s a joke!)

    Sheesh. Seriously, though. Being a parent is the greatest adventure. Enjoy these times. Remember them when she’s locked in the bathroom, yelling that you “Just don’t understand me!”

  6. #6 BB
    June 19, 2009

    Yes, one day they grow up, are no longer cute, but then you really reap the fruits of what you’ve sown: they are “menschn.” They are caring, intelligent adults who are a positive reflection of the values they were raised with. And you still tear up when you look at them (but now must hide it from them).
    BB, mother of 2 daughters wishing Pal and all Dads a Happy Father’s Day

  7. #7 DebinOz
    June 19, 2009

    Like BB, I am the mother of two teenage daughters, and a 22 yo son who is blind with Asperger’s and epilepsy.

    Not too long ago, my 16 yo daughter told me she was kicked out of class for talking. Of course I asked her what she was talking about, and she told me she was arguing with a classmate about homophobia. My daughter was totally bagging the classmate on her (the classmate’s) prejudiced comments.

    I love her even more, if that is possible! My kids care about all people – and horrors! – they are being raised in an atheist household.

  8. #8 lori b
    June 19, 2009

    awwww! peter…this is sooo sweet! i dont understand most of your medical blogging. but i understand this, and i totally understand and concur with your observations. and btw…we miss seeing those big beautiful eyes, so let us know when we can see them again! :)

  9. #9 D. C. Sessions
    June 20, 2009
  10. #10 Pareidolius
    June 20, 2009

    Thanks again for reminding me why all this is important. We are hairless primates on a tiny rock circling an unimportant star, but we love mightily, and we are lucky for that.

  11. #11 The Perky Skeptic
    June 22, 2009

    Happy Fathers’ Day, Pal! :) Parenthood is so awesome.

    I know how you feel– my boy is going to be too heavy for me to pick up one day, and I am going to cry. :) Tears commingled with pride, though!

  12. #12 Donna B.
    June 24, 2009

    I’ve been away from the internet for a week, enjoying time with my daughter and her daughter and my father.

    That’s four generations and I am thrilled to hear the same intonation in my father’s and my granddaughter’s “yes”.

    I see my daughter’s facial expressions imposed on her husband’s profile and I’m thrilled that my granddaughter has taken the best of each her parents.

    Oh no, I’m not biased… not at all.

    The wonderful thing is that you are realizing the wonder with your daughter, where I was too young and too busy with too many children too realize the wonder of my own.

    How fortunate I am as a grandparent to experience so much that I merely “noticed” as a parent.

    What I am trying to say is that your daughter, when and if she chooses to become a mother will reflect, return, and enlarge your love for her.

    And, because I am fortunate enough to have good relationships with my daughters’ in-laws, I can vouch for the same for parents of men.

    Yeah… I’m just a bit sentimental. I honestly think I am the luckiest mother, grandmother, mother-in-law on earth.

    I wish the same for you.

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