September 21, 2012

Bouncing to the Blues and Other Tales from Fatherhood

He doesn't like to be alone.

Stella could lay for an hour, sometimes longer, content with an occasional check in. She would lie on our vanilla colored shag rug and roll over and stare towards the North and grab the leg on our coffee table, all without uttering a single needy cry.  Perhaps it was the natural light from our seventh floor loft with floor to ceiling windows? Or a gift from her Mother, content with little, independently satisfied?

Leo likes to be within a few feet, or better yet, within an arms length from a human being. He cries when left alone and he quiets when the rest of us are talking, our collective familiar chatter ringing comfort.


We have been listening to the blues lately, mostly Robert Johnson, and he bounces around like he understands, like he had a front row seat to the grief.


Does he smile more than Stella? Hard to say, to remember, but it sure feels like his grin is a permanent fixture. I feel like it was work with Stella, total exaggeration and animal sounds and scrunched up faces. With Leo, I can almost glance at him and he beams with cheekiness.

And all of this comparing? Inevitable, I suppose.

Left from the comparison mix is M of course, poor middle child, who none the less lurks around every grin and gesture and the subtle personality previews, revealing herself in fragments through her brother and sister, leaving us guessing at who our little girl was to be.


I take the 3am feeding while Kari pumps from the kitchen and it's damn near the best part of my day, even though the day is only three hours old, coming before the sun rises, before wrestling with Stella, before a poured drink with Kari on the porch post bedtime. He lays next to me in the dark, groggy and needy, head lifted just a little from the arch of Kari's pillow. I hold the glass bottle and find his mouth and then nuzzle my face against the side of his. My nose rests below his chin, my forehead against his thinning hair, my lips against his arm and chest. He gulps and swallows with this perfected evolutionary rhythm and I kiss his arm and he tinkers with my hand and these moments are, perhaps, what I will be thinking about should the time come when we build his first sand castle and take our first hike and walk him into kindergarten.

I think that is all for now.


Groves said...

That grin, that face, that drool, that *sweetheart*.

The first thing I thought when I saw him, above - "Those are M's eyes. Right there."

Because no one who has seen Stella or her brother can miss their sister's eyes, just as sky-bright and arresting, in the mirrored gaze.

I'm so glad he's okay. Growing, eating, cuddling, wanting to be in the mix.

And I'm eternally sad that M is in hearts and not on elbows, on rugs.



Mary Beth said...

Gosh that kid is handsome! That smile, those eyes, the DROOL! Love him.

And I know 'bout the poor, neglected-seeming middle child. It is mighty hard, yes.

Love to all of you way out there :)

Bree said...

"these moments are, perhaps, what I will be thinking about should the time come when we build his first sand castle and take our first hike and walk him into kindergarten"

I just wrote something about these types of fleeting moments too. They are so precious. Love the new blog look, by the way.

Unknown said...

Soak it up, all that cheekiness. Leo's such a handsome boy.

Hope's Mama said...

Magic, Josh.

Monique said...

He is so handsome, your boy. And you sound like a kick-ass dad. Enjoy!

Veronica said...

The way your M is so closely...tightly tangled in your living children..seeing you think of her..feeling her.... Tears brim my eyes.

Leo is somewhat are all children making it out after our loss. Just beyond what my broken heart can fathom. Love to you guys

Gwen Jackson said...

Ah, beautifully written, Josh. I've looked at pictures of Leo and wonder about Margot, too. Watch Stella love on Leo the other night on Skype and wonder what it would have been like with Margot. Grieving her loss today and wishing we could watch her in the midst of the Jackson family's life. Love and hugs to all. What a great picture of Leo. That grin . . . G'pa J, your Dad, and you. :)

Renel said...

Absolutely gorgeous!! That little boy so filled with life and joy. Not burdened by your loss or anything outside his immediate need or want... Oh the joys of an infant. When I look at his face and I think of your loss and see your gain... How can they not add up? They just don't. Our hearts are greedy and want all of our children. Looking at your big one and your little one and wondering about the in between one... I do it all the time. The in between one - oh how we miss them.

Jamie said...

I can picture that last scene. Love the little clips into your thoughts and world.

Tash said...

So beautiful my friend. Love to you guys, and always missing Margot with you. xx

loribeth said...

Wbat a cutie. Love that little drop of drool on his chin. : )

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