Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sans Dad

Yep, having your own kid is different.
Clone Club, Assemble!

It really does get your cockles toasty when they smile, chuckle, lay their head against you. I could live on that smile - a smile so big she has to turn away from me, curve into herself and laugh silently. And no one has ever been more excited to see someone in the morning than a baby looking at a parent.

So I'm willing to give up being able to watch foreign movies with ease, pesky subtitles. Whether it's to change her, make dinner quick or stare at her face. 'Cause it's Cary's face and a some-better-version-of-me face.

Dad's gone. He sputtered away to sail around on a little boat, weaving the blanket of freedom that keeps us warm at night he quotes.

But it doesn't make it any easier. Just seeing the unwatched MLS app on our Apple TV is enough to make me sad all over again. Or seeing anyone in a flight suit, wondering maybe it's him like a delusional. Or reading greeting cards. Or seeing stories about dogs on Facebook.

Daycare has been a dream, a physical and mental break when you're on your own especially. Daycare-slash-working full-time, or even part-time or even just babysitters, seems a mom's best tool in her tool belt. That and letting them cry for chunks of time. And a beer while breastfeeding. And a keg when you cut their finger instead of their nail.

I have friends who don't want kids or aren't sure yet. I hear ya. I never thought babies were even a redeeming cute. They often look like obese bald people.

The thing was the daycare parade. I was there the whole time, away form work, taking a zillion pictures like Alison Hendrix, (Orphan Black's overzealous soccer mom, and a human clone). I was so proud of my kid, who was doing absolutely nothing. Not even looking with her eyeballs, just sleeping after five minutes in the decorated stroller while the kid next to her played with her ladybug antennae.

These things surprise-surprise soften the hard edges of a life not entirely your own anymore. And for me that seems a good thing. I spent too much time thinking about the unfolded laundry, a skipped jog and an unfinished novel. And he's gone but I get to help raise a little girl into a great woman? Or at least one who appreciates a good talk show interview.

Got someone to stream the Women's World Cup or Sense8 with, or of course GoT, thanks HBO NOW.

Got someone to pose questions to like "Hey why didn't Butters eat her breakfast? Crap."

Got someone to cuddle with and go on walks with and wonder about.

As one of my friends said to me right before Jules was born, you've got this.

So if you're lonely this deployment season or just experiencing the lonely pang of being a female, think of the buddies in it with you. I count. Dogs count. Even cats.

You've got this.