Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meet Maddie!

More photos of Maddie are here.
This Thanksgiving I had a great reason to be thankful as I finally got to meet my granddaughter, Madeline. I told my friend Kevin that I might start crying when we first meet (he said that I should let it flow if that happened) but I was more in awe. Here's someone who carries something of me with her (the good and the very bad): so quiet and innocent, but with the potential for so much in the future. I know that there are literally thousands of babies in this world at any given moment of time, but for me Maddie is so very special. She is a very mellow baby who likes to be held and sleeps a lot. I have to admit that I was really greedy and wanted to hold her the whole time, but I knew with all of the family there I would have to pick my spots.

I am also thankful that I got to see my daughters and their husbands. God has been revealing to me how He has put into me the joy of one on one time. It used to be "daddy date nights" when the girls grew up. Now looking back, I really cherish those times. I also know that I regret not doing them enough especially during their teens. These are the tough lessons I have to learn and I hope that I will correct over time. Ariel and I shared a late meal and talked about parenthood and our upcoming trip (I'm taking each of my children on a once in a lifetime "one on one" trip). Amanda and I had a light meal (morning sickness is in full effect right now for her), and visited some art galleries. I hope that I can continue to have these times with them when we get together. I fully grasp that they have their own lives now so these times are special. I also got to have time with both Ron (Ariel's husband) and Michael (Amanda's husband). My hope is that I can be there for these guys as God has brought them into my life and I personally feel the desire to invest in them. My hope is that I can be a support to all of them. I hope that I can help them avoid so much of the failures that I have had in my life. Also, I want them to feel my care and love. Like Gilgamesh, life can be measured by those you have have loved and invested in and in spite of your own frailties. Perhaps there's an epic in all of our lives, even mine.
Perfect moment: holding Maddie and watching football.

As for holding Maddie, it felt so amazing. She drooled on my shirts. She would eventually find a comfortable position and fall asleep on me. This vulnerable, sweet, innocent baby had somehow found peace with me. I was instantly bonded to her. I seriously wanted the moment to last forever. Even cooler was that I could hold her and watch football with her. That felt like the perfect moment and maybe something we could share in the future (I can always dream).

What I do know is that if I loved this little girl from afar, having her this close to me made me love her more. This was most obvious when we had to leave. I had to find a private place to mourn leaving her. That was not expected. I was deeply depressed during the first leg of our plane flight home. What I now see is that even though I have three children, I never had any of them as babies. Fox was about 11 when he came into our lives. I sometimes forget that I'm not the girls biological father since I can't imagine my life without them. Even more so, I can imagine me loving them more than I do right now. But in reality, I never held them as babies. It was a process for us to go through to become father/daughter (and one I am so thankful for). So for the first time in my life I was bonded to someone that loved and trusted me instinctively. It was also the first time I then had to let go of that bond. Continuing in my process to live from the heart, I felt the depth of that loss. It was truly overwhelming. So I did cry when I met Maddie, but it was more for the fact that I was mourning her absence.
So here's to more meetings with Maddie and with Amanda expecting grandchild number two, a more full and deeper (and likely louder) Thanksgiving future.
That's how you make your granddaughter cozy!

Looking forward to more moments like this.
It's never too early to make sure your granddaughter knows how crazy Jiichan can be!

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