Through my work at a prenatal wellness center, I am privileged to see couples going through the joys and fears of pregnancy and new parenthood. It is an honor to share in these precious moments.
This morning I saw a young man holding his 8-day-old daughter. Her tiny body was snuggled on his shoulder, still in the fetal curl, almost fitting completely in the cupped palm of his hand.
Our eyes met and the brightness of the sun could barely compare with the light in his eyes!
In that moment, despite the exhaustion, the complete upheaval his life is going through as a new Dad, there was nothing but love… deep, unquestioned, world-changing, hearth-throbbing, breath-taking love. It was so clearly etched on his face.
Soon enough there will be the challenges of parenthood to burst the bubble, there will be anxieties, doubts, frustrations and fears, but this morning, in that moment, there was only perfect love.
Who will his daughter grow to be? Will she remember the love? Will she carry it with her on a cellular level even though she is unaware of it cognitively? Will she somehow remember the complete trust, safety and security of her father’s shoulder?
When she is 5 and wants a cookie and he tells her no, when she is 16 and wants her own car and he says no, when she is 22 and dating someone he doesn’t like, will she remember? Will he?
I wish I could be there to remind them both.
Because I saw it as vividly as a neon sign, it was so empirically clear a complete stranger could see it.
They will never be able to go back to that moment today. They can only move forward. She will grow and assert her independence.
Through it all he will want to protect her. He will vow to. But he can’t. She will fall, she will fail, she will hurt, she will suffer. She has to, because that is all part of life. And that’s as it should be. But tucked away somewhere, there will be the thin veil of unadulterated love I saw so clearly today wrapped around them. No matter that it may fray in the fracas of life. It will still be there, protecting them both. Of that I am sure.
And at the end of his life, he will remember this day, holding his daughter’s perfect little body against his, smelling the sweet perfume of her, feeling the deep warmth of her and he will count it as one of the most precious days of his life. Just an ordinary day at the doctor’s office, but it mattered.