There was this moment, in the balcony of an old church, during the first days of my freshman year of University, that I still remember so vividly. It’s when I first saw her. I mean, I had seen her before, but this time I really saw her. And I heard her talk. Her voice sounded exactly like tender ferocity, and her words were articulated magically, and her tone and expressions filled the dark balcony. I’m not exactly sure if I fell in love with her in this moment, but I sure fell in something.
I’d like to think that somewhere, deep inside my brain, something was signaling me, pointing me towards her. Shouting at me: THIS IS THE GIRL. THIS IS IT. STOP LOOKING. YOU WON’T FIND ANYONE BETTER. SHE WILL BE THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO YOU.
A year later, we were rounding the bases in softball dugouts and eating sunflower seeds on road trips and pretending to care about anything else. And I figured that was the last time I’d fall in love.
A decade later, though, I found myself in a room full of white coats and reeboks and bright lights, and it happened again. I saw the top of a cone shaped head, with jet black hair all wet and warm, and I was dizzy once more.
No one ever told me having kids was like getting to fall in love all over again.
I knew I’d love being a father. I knew I’d deeply love my kids. I knew they would be everything to me. But I didn’t expect the same range of emotions I had experienced ten years earlier. The gushing, the pride, the inability to focus on anything else, the magic of it all. And perhaps what surprised me the most is that it all happened, it all began, so instantaneously. Her head, her hair, her face, her shoulders, her belly, her knees, her feet, her cries. That was all it took. I was in love with my Stella, her big cheeks and blue eyes and crazy hair, her whole being.
Margot was handed to me by an older nurse. She was swaddled in a hospital blanket, a little stocking cap on her head. The nurse said, “We did everything we could,” as she handed me my second daughter.
In the rush to the emergency room, in the agonizing wait to see if Margot lived or died, I had hardly given her face a thought. I wanted her to be alive, I wanted everything to be okay. I had forgotten what it feels like to see your baby for the first time. I forgot it’s love at first sight.
And then I looked at her.
And she was perfect.
And my heart swelled with love,
and my heart broke into pieces.
Six months later, I'm still not sure how to handle this simultaneous feeling of love and brokenness.
Six months ago today, I fell in love with my beautiful Margot. Dead or alive, she is mine.