I am the father of a woman. I am the father of a new Eve, a Mary.
I started writing about my son fairly quickly after he was born. I’ve relayed a number of stories, anecdotes, and descriptions of his ways and words over the months and years. But my daughter is a glory. My son is a soldier, a warrior, a hero, an artist, a storyteller, and an athlete. My daughter is a sunset, a waterfall, a solar eclipse, a hurricane, and a fierce ocean. She is a lovely yet utterly terrifying person to me.
She is fierce and farseeing. She believes her knees are too easy, too rudimentary. She began doing pushups several weeks ago. At five and a half months, she pushes up on to her hands and feet, holding her head up. She holds this posture for several moments before deciding which direction to take. And she dives forward, arms out, face up, eyes open. Actually, she knows about her knees, and occasionally she resorts to them, but she has seen the world, and she knows that people use their feet. She will not be held back.
She is skeptical of attention, and I applaud her wisdom. Even when it is I who is seeking to bestow her with kindness, her approval is not easily won. Some would call it coy, but I prefer to call it cunning. She does not smile for just anyone. And when she does, her face is in motion, turning, spinning like the mystery that she is. She smirks at cameras with a knowing glance. She is not melancholy; I’ve seen her full blown smiles. It is grace and nobility.
She is aware. Her eyes are quick and sharp, assessing situations diligently. She loves her brother. Her mother and father goo and coo almost obsessively, and her brother shows up and casually says hi to her, and she breaks into laughter. She uses her hands proficiently, always pushing, pulling objects to her mouth. The universe is her table, the world her eucharist.
There’s something pejorative in the term “dramatic” as though there was something overdone, over-the-top, or else insincere. But nobility understands the centrality of the theatrical in all of life, learning to play the part of the hero, studying lines and gesture for the greatest effect, for the glory of the Audience. There’s something of the dramatic in her personality, something aware and unaware of the playfulness of life. There is no room for half-heartedness in these few years between birth and death; there is no time for a cowardly moderation. She can be subtle, content to sit and watch. She can be fierce in her disagreement with the arrangements and pour her wrath out in fury.
This is the woman I have now known for almost six months. God willing, there will be many decades of her story, with many children and grandchildren following in her wake. So here’s to you, Felicity: May your wine be mixed with wisdom and may your children and grandchildren be pillars in the palaces of righteousness.
Daniel Alders says
*great* post, Toby. Thanks. I copied this over on my xanga… do you mind? đŸ™‚
Man, you made me tear up. Awesome post about a baby girl.
That’s my granddaughter! She’s a keeper!!!