“Donna she's a foreign language I don't understand!”
I spoke those words seventeen years ago, on the occasion of our daughters birth. She was cute. She was beautiful, and above all frightening! I was afraid of her. She was like a math problem I could not explain. Our lives had been two parallel lines a constant equal traveling in the same direction. Suddenly with Joanna in our lives the parallel had turned in to a scalene.
We brought her home two days later, and my life has never been the same. All at once everything was different. The house smelled different. Some time it was the scent of angel skin, some time of the most atrocious of odors. Our apartment became smaller. A bassinet wedged into an already small bedroom. Our one and only closet bursting with diaper boxes, milk formula and other unknown – to me – baby paraphernalia. The living room miraculously became Grand Central Station. Hordes of relatives and strangers both invited and uninvited formed a viewing line to see our new eighth wonder of the world. Oh yes and the kitchen had become our command headquarters. This where my wife gathered and journaled every change in Joanna’s being. Weight, height, or should I say length, all being recorded on a daily basis. Our new circumstance was nerve racking, although always a joy beyond expectation or explanation.
For a few short days – more like hours – I lived under the false impression she was mine. Totally and unequivocally mine. The dream did not last long. Her cries in the middle of the night became a constant reminder of whom was actually in charge. Joanna ruled over her kingdom with impunity. My job as her personal servant, ran from being court jester (man who makes funny faces), to the liveryman whose job it was to carry out the poop!
I watched with both relief and remorse as my princess grew. The moment was gone when I could just hold her in my arms; her head resting gently on my shoulder while she made those cute baby cooing sounds. Now she wanted down. She could crawl, making it from point A to point B on her own.
Joanna's first birthday didn't make the six o'clock news. Although, at our house, it was the headline story. Grand Central, was now Time Square! What with two sets of grandparents, five sets of aunts and uncles and an odd assortment of acquaintances it was standing room only. I stood quietly on the sidelines cheering her along on this her special day.
And so the cycle repeated itself year after year. Until now twelve years later the constellation has come full circle. Today is “our” mine and Joanna's special day once again. To be honest, I didn't think she'd been aware of this trivial fact. But there it was Sunday morning waiting for me on the breakfast table. A large, big as a magazine self made Fathers day card. Folded in half and standing on end, the card caught my eye and filled my heart all at once.
At first she said nothing. Her smile saying everything that needed to be said. Then she burst in to giggles, announcing “it's our special day again. It's my birthday and fathers day on the same day!
Something silly was all I could say while all the time trying to keep my voice from breaking up.
The card was a bright crimson red. On the front were several baby photos of Joanna and myself taken on that special day twelve years ago. The card had been difficult to open what with my blurred vision shaking hands and throbbing heart at the back of my throat. The inside was in Joanna's hand writing.
“I may be a foreign language to you but, please let my LOVE be your interpreter!
This is our special day, and you are my special someone!”
I was going to post a picture of her card. Unfortunately, some over sentimental grownup cry baby couldn't keep his crocodile tears from smearing the words in to a blur of love and emotion.
You'll simply have to take my word for it when I say. “It was well worth the twelve year wait for this special fathers day card.