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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day Dave!

Dave, from the very start, has been a hands-on Dad. When I became pregnant with Ellie I did a bad thing. I took the stick test and then told Dave it was negative when it was actually positive. I did this because we were not married. Though we were in love, I wanted to know how he truly felt about it. I, in no way wanted to rope him in or anything like that. I had made up my mind from an early age that I only wanted a father for my future children who would be involved and just as in love with them as I knew I would be. So I did this bad thing and told him it was negative. The sudden drop of his face, the downcast of his eyes the hope that washed away in that moment was enough to tell me he had been just as excited about this as I was. And he was. Of course I told him right away it was positive. We took another test the next morning to be sure which incidentally was the morning we left for our dear friend’s wedding in Spain. Our journey into parenthood was off to an exciting start.

I couldn’t have picked a better father for my child or a better partner to be a parent with. To say Dave has been involved and is hands on is a huge understatement. He went to every prenatal visit with me. He was just as excited about every phase and stage of the pregnancy as I was. He looked after me like I was made of glass during that time. He solved problems and dealt with all of my hormonal swings. He found where the maternity clothes were. He found us a great doctor. At the time we became pregnant I was revising my dissertation and had started this rather big job at a big company and was a little overwhelmed. I was thrilled and connecting and talking with Ellie in my belly as well as being a little overwhelmed. Dave was there for me and Ellie. He moved into my little studio apartment and it was great. When we got a bigger place just before Ellie was born we were disappointed not to be able to hear the other person speaking because the place was so big. Two bedrooms after all is quite a switch from a one room studio. So we had to work harder to maintain our on going dialog. I miss that little apartment overlooking the marina with the boats that twinkled at night.

The stress of Ellie’s traumatic beginning did not put distance between us. Instead it brought us closer. Dave has a great deal of grace under pressure and is the most loving father and hardworking man for his family I have ever met. I am sure there are some who think I don’t deserve him – at times myself included.

Dave was right there beside me in the NICU – 100 percent present. We are a great team. There is nothing we cannot solve when we work together. And we have had our fair share of obstacles and trauma to deal with.

I think Ellie is the luckiest little girl I know. I always feel very proud that she has such a great father. She loves her Dada too. Loves! The scenario that has always epitomized my ideal parenting situation is that if children hurt themselves they would run to either parent. It wouldn’t matter which parent because they were just as close to both. I have lived to realize this dream. Ellie is equally close to each of us. However, as her biology dictates, she looks to us for different things.

To Dave she looks for praise and courage. She will do something great like show me a new word she can read and I will give her a lot of praise and she will smile, but then she will look to see what Dada thinks. She is clearly much more satisfied when Dada tells her she is beautiful. She will also try anything new for Dave. She is very brave when he is near. Most nights she wants both of us there when she goes to sleep but the last toss and turn ends her up snuggling into Dada. Seeing how much love they have for each other is a mother’s dream. We are the Three Musketeers. We are an unbeatable team. We each have our own special role.

To say that Dave is a great father, a hands-on involved father is an understatement. From the point we found out Ellie was on her way to us, he has given and continues to give his whole heart to her and to me: unabashedly, unashamedly, unconditionally with creativity and passion.
Happy Father’s Day Dave!
Picture Descriptions: From the top
1. A rare photo of Dave with a rare beard that I am sure he only grew because I asked him to when I was pregnant. I still love it on him. In this pic he is holding the collostrum from my first attempts to pump for Ellie.
2. Dave doing kangeroo care with Ellie in the NICU in November 2002
3. Giving Ellie her very first bath in the NICU, December 2002
4. Cradling Ellie after her resevoir surgery - January 2002
5. Taking notes on all sitting by the isolet in the NICU. We filled 4 sketchbooks altogether with notes on everything from tracking her day to day stats from rounds to observations to research questions for the doctors as well as a few sketches of her.
6. More kankeroo time November 2002. This was pretty amazing because Ellie opened her eyes and lifted her hand to touch Dave's chest. An incredibly touching moment for out baby who was not even supposed to be in the world until February of 2003.
7. Ellie in the growers and feeders row in her crib. Dave making faces with her in the mirror - as usual making the therapy seem like play for her.
8. Hanging out on the futon in December 2003 after we had moved to Boston. Dave stayed home with Ellie for a year and during that time got her to start signing and vocalizing.
9. First time finger painting in summer 2004
10. Ellie was the flower girl at our wedding on August 22, 2005 at Castle Durrow Ireland. Dave cleans up good, no?!
11. Dave and Ellie on Halloween 2006
12. Dave holding Ellie so she can see over the bars on her first trip to the zoo, May 2007