I knew you were excited about Audrey by the way you spoke to her through an empty toilet paper tube you wrote “daddy phone” on, but I wasn’t prepared for how enamored you would be immediately and how flawlessly you would step into your role as father.
What I remember is your tireless rubbing of my back during 26 hours of labor and two trips in a cab from Brooklyn to Manhattan. What I remember is how tired and hungry you were afterwards. I remember how bright you seemed the next morning when you came back with flowers and a card you’d made and colored for me and one for Audrey, “our beautiful daughter.” I remember how I had to push you to have a child and how I hoped in the beginning that it’d be a boy so you could relate better but towards the end some cabbie had told you some story about how it was more interesting to have a girl- someone different than you. You wanted a girl. It was you who went to tell my anxiously waiting parents, “It’s a girl…her name is Audrey.”
Back at our apartment, you had to take over because I was having irregular heartbeats and in so much pain due to lots of stitches. You brought me my first meal at home and it was the best thing I’d ever tasted. You set up the sitz bath for me on the toilet and froze maxi pads with witch hazel on them. You gave Audrey her first bath and her first hair wash. You bounced out of bed all night after I nursed her to do your part, changing her. Her first big poop exploded all over you while you were in the midst of this- she loves to hear this story now before bedtime. It’s called “the one about the big poop.” You told me you found the secret way to calm her constant crying- bending your knees just so and bouncing and twisting and shhhh’ing all at the same time. It was quite a sight. You carried her to her first doctor’s appointment- I took a cab because I still couldn’t walk even a few blocks, and we met there. You took photo after photo of her and a few in the mirror so you could capture yourself holding this six pounds of life that looked just like you- your eyes glowing with lack of sleep and pride.
Even had you died a week after she had been born, I would’ve already known by then- without a doubt, you were an amazing father.