I’ve kissed your picture good night in the dark living room, Audrey is singing in her crib: “Rain, rain go away,” something she’s just started to do a day or so ago. So now it’s time to write.
I’ve been thinking about how more than anything- having a child makes you partners, a team. You have to be if you’re going to survive the foray into parenthood. You must have massaged my back for ten hours straight while I was in labor with Audrey. And afterwards, when I couldn’t get her to stop crying, you put her in the baby carrier- tucked close against your chest and swayed side to side- bending your knees and shushing in this certain rhythm. “It’s all in the knees,” you told me. We took turns pushing her around and around parks and the mall trying to get her to sleep in her stroller. I bathed her, but when I got to our bed, you’d laid out the diaper basket with everything ready for me. Then you’d go into the bathroom, clean out the tub, wash off her toys, and put them away. I waited in the car while Audrey slept in her car seat, while you ran into Target for paper towels and garbage bags one day before you left.
And the greatest part of the partnership, is the reward you get for all of the work. We got to share in Audrey’s accomplishments together…like rolling over for the first time, taking a step, saying a new word, or learning to blink her eyes, or clap her feet together. The very day that you left, I remember she blew her first bubble by herself. She and I were just sitting in the living room trying out the new Gymboree bubbles I’d gotten which comes with a kazoo-like bubble blower- and turns out it was easier for her than the traditional wand and she was able to blow out a few. You came in to see, and I remember thinking, “Wow- I’m so glad he got to see that before he went on tour.”
And now Dan- you have missed so much. Everyone tells me I’m so lucky to have Audrey during this time- but they don’t have to see her grow so far from the Audrey you knew- so very quickly. And they don’t have to hear her talk about you all day- or see her kiss your picture.
I was trying to think in my mind of all the milestones you’ve already missed in a little over a month.
Audrey’s learned to jump. You never saw her do that.
She started doing a funny dance with her arm up based on the pictures in one of her favorite books, “Jazz Baby.”
She can do a forward roll.
She calls my mom grandma instead of “gaia” as she did when you left. And she says grandpa for my dad instead of “ga.”
I think when you left she only knew a handful of two syllable words. Now she’s said bulgogi (Korean beef), and rugelach. She repeats most of what I say now.
Her manners are wonderful. She says “maw pwease.” “Thank you” instead of “tak” which you and I loved so much. She says the full word “goodbye,” and does a quick routine of blowing a kiss and saying “wave!” as she waves every time she says goodbye to someone.
Her hair has grown a lot longer and she’s surely an inch taller. We need to turn her car seat around, and she looks awkward now on the little zebra your brother got her for her birthday.
She also does some of the things you taught her. You used to put her up on your legs and say “Super, Party, Poo Poo!” It’s something you got from your older brother when you were a kid. “It doesn’t make much sense,” I said.
“She loves it,” you said. She’s started saying that now- in the same exact voice that you did, going up at the end as you lifted her up on your legs and closer to your face.
You were right- she obviously did love it.
I want to write it kills me, breaks my heart, tears me up inside, but those all seem cliche and completely inadequate to describe the pain I feel
that you are missing