Monday, October 18, 2010

More Dada?

It has begun. Lily is asking for her Dada. Nineteen months on the journey alone and now, sadly, her own has begun. We spent a long weekend with her favorite friend and it became glaringly apparent to her that he has a dad.
And so, she is wondering

The last three nights at dinner Lily has said "Mama, Dada?" "More Dada?" and with that I pull out photo albums and as she eats we look at pictures of her dad. I identify the people he's with, I show her his smile, him sailing boats, I show her his hands and I tell her that she has the same ones. She does. She has Alan's fingers. They are mini replicas. And I hope that as she gets to know him through me and our friends and family, that her longing for him wont be torturous. But it may be. In fact, it already seems to be heading in that direction.
How could it not?

It is heartbreaking.

Yesterday I peaked in on her in the living room and there she was perched on her little chair at the coffee table, photo album from our honeymoon open in front of her and she was studying the photos, touching them with her fingers, identifying and saying out loud, "Dadaaaaa, Mommyyyyy. Dada, mama" over and over again, singing our names with her "counting numbers" inflection.

So innocent. So dear.

Cruel cruel world.

Night before last at 2:45, "Mama..."
"Yes my love? "
".... Ohhhh. Dada's watching over you Pumpkin. Dada loves Lily. Shhh shhh... Go back to sleep sweet pea..." And more realistically the next night in bed, "Oh Lily, Dada isn't here. But he loves Lily soooooooo much." One of these days she'll look for him at the door or at me with her questioning fanned out hands.

And so my attempts at toddler explanation have begun. And painfully I know this is now her beginning of what will be a very difficult journey. Last night in the tub "Pictures of Dada?". "OK pumpkin, we'll look at pictures of Dada before bed." So in bed, we began with our wedding album and then transitioned to the Little Engine That Could. And Corduroy. And then after a false start in her crib we cuddled with our own version of The Wheels on the Bus. This time with what people we know would say.
"Dada? Dada Bus?"
"Dada on the bus says 'I LOVE YOU SO!, I LOVE YOU SO!, I LOVE YOU SO!"

And on we went.
She slept through the night, peacefully.
I'm hoping Alan stopped by in her dreams.

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