I’m forty-six years old. Complete, overwhelming, humbling awe doesn’t happen to me very often.
So the first seventeen days of our beloved baby’s life have been that much more astonishing, in that the earth has always seemed so solid beneath my feet.
First, actually, it was Rachel who amazed me, with such courage and stoicism through her labor that less than two hours before our baby was born, she was — between contractions — explaining her preferred route to the hospital. I’d never doubted she was capable of anything; but this I’d never imagined. She is my superhero. (Is there a pregnant superhero? There should be.)
And then came Dalia.
Maybe five minutes into her infinitely precious life, she started crying. I was undone, and paralyzed. Everyone else seemed to have blue surgical gloves on. Could I touch her? A germy visitor from the mortal world?
Somebody, maybe a nurse, said, “Comfort her.”
I placed my hand on her belly, and said, “You’re ok.”
Her crying stopped. Mine began.
Just moments after her exit from the primordial amniotic soup, here we were, two human beings who could change each other’s feelings. Connected. Touching and in touch.
Since her birth, I took two weeks off of work to get to know her. (I go back tomorrow, though I can’t quite envision leaving her for a day.)
In these two weeks, she has remade me into someone I don’t fully recognize. I did not know that having a child would eclipse everything else in my world. I did not know I could be excited to change a diaper, for a few extra minutes with this wildly charismatic, impossibly charming person. I did not know I could be this in love with someone I’d never met a month ago.
I did not know that, for all the joyful experiences I’ve had in my life, having this tiny person fall asleep in my arms could transcend everything.
I did not know that the arrival of another person, who steals our sleep and (occasionally) screeches for no reason, could open new dimensions in my love for my wife.
I have no idea how I’m going to go to work tomorrow.