We had a bag sitting in our closet, full of a change of clothes for both Elise and I, personal hygiene items like toothpaste and toothbrushes, and we even had newborn clothes. That bag sat there for over a week, waiting for a little piece of sunshine to enter this world and join our family.
Of course we had a bassinet in our room next to our bed and a crib we assembled ourselves with instructions that made no sense to me. Elise had to translate the pictures for me to understand. They don’t make furniture the way I would make it. We had a rocking chair. We had a changing table with a padded changing cushion, a box of diapers, baby wipes, and even a diaper genie. We painted a bookshelf and dresser white symbolic of our pure love for our baby girl. The book shelf had stuffed animals and a small collection of books ready to be read for the first time. We labeled the dresser drawers with Dr. Seuss fish pictures, “1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish”, and we filled the drawers with clothes so small they could only be described as cute. We painted the walls with rolling hills and blue skies, long tall Lorax trees, and the elephant Horton next to the quote “A person’s a person no matter how small”. We even hung custom wall art; framed Dr. Seuss vintage Lorax cards Elise found online. Most importantly we hung 6 wooden painted letters on the wall that spelled Melody.
We had all the important things ready. We were excited for our little girl to come into this world. I remember the effort we put into getting every little detail ready for her. I remember waiting for her to be born and then it was time. Elise demanded I take her to the hospital. The nurses at the hospital were surprised how far along Elise was. I thought it could happen any minute. After 6 hours of Elise’s labor, blood, sweat, and tears, she came into the world. My little sweetheart. Everyone said that was a fast birth. To me watching my wife screaming in pain, and being overwhelmingly polite to me in between contractions, it seemed to drag a little. Everyone says time flies, and as you get older it just moves along faster. I never got it, until now. Melody is 5 years old. Where did the time go? It didn’t seem to be flying by but now it is gone. All I have left is the memories I went out of the way to make. And now I am telling people time flies and the older you get the faster it goes.
We had all the important things ready, all the things a little baby girl could never know she needed. But what about the things she would want later? Or the things I want now. She wouldn’t remember the look in Elise’s eyes when they first made contact with hers. Or the way Elise held her, the youngest baby Elise and I had ever held. She won’t ever get to see how much I didn’t want to cut her umbilical cord, the mean look I gave the unaware doctor that forced me to do it, how scared I was when she almost put her foot right in the way, or how nervous I was the first time I held her like a little fragile egg. Melody will never see the panic that hit when we stepped out of the hospital realizing all of the support we had for the last two days was staying there and we weren’t even given an instruction manual. We spent the next few months worrying about getting sleep while Melody grew up. She learned how to smile before she had hair. She was my cuddle buddy; we took naps all over the house. I sang the same song to her every night “As I have loved you”. She crawled, she walked, she talked, and we witnessed our little helpless baby turn into a social butterfly. I will remember. Elise will remember. But those memories although they happened slowly, went by fast. And other than in our minds, those memories were only recorded with pictures taken from time to time. We don’t have video of those moments, and I know it is a luxury and not a necessity, but I want it, and I know Melody wants it to. Life happens whether or not we record any of it. To watch later is up to us.
We had all the important things ready, but we forgot that someday we were going to want to sit down with our daughter and watch the beginning of her story together.