Dreaming of April

“My water broke. So I’m going back to sleep”

At 2:00am, when the numbers on the clock are blindingly green and billboard-sized, I guess that made sense. We’d done this before and knew that a good night’s sleep can make all the difference when birthing babies. And, though being a clueless male, I knew just enough to let her be the judge of when we should hop in the Cavalier and head south to the hospital and its awaiting cadre of nurses and wires and stirrups and whatnot.

But I didn’t want to be a heel. Perhaps you’ve seen him? He’s the glassy-eyed one – camped out in the La-Z-Boy, eyes glued to the tube, thumb caressing the remote endlessly and mindlessly, disconnected from the reality of those around him – who lets the excitement of life slide by with nary a word of meaningful commentary or poignant exhortation.

So I asked, “Are you sure?”

She Who Must Be Obeyed mumbled something that sounded like “Yes, I’m sure,” though it may have been a bit more profane than that. You remember Cosby’s wife? “YOU DID THIS TO MEEEE!” Yeah, we married the same woman. And, as I said, it was 2:00am. So I did the smart thing and let it ride.

She rolled toward me and was nearly instantly fast asleep, each breath short and warm. I reached over and put my hand on her stomach and felt with renewed amazement the turbulence of life wrapped safely in skin and blood. Like the teeming schools of fish that flitter about just below the surface of a calm lake. Inside my wife bubbled a stew of life, set to boil over before this day ended.

November 12, 1997.

Can you see it? Neither could the doctor. And I made her look several times over.

A girl!

Have you ever been told something, and given reasonable evidence of the statement’s validity, and still refused to believe? For reasons I’d buried deep and allowed to form a bedrock of doubt in my mind, I simply knew I would never have a daughter. It seems so silly now, but minds are tricky that way; we feed them shit and wonder why shit is all we ever think about. Worry about. We chew on it and know it’s shit, but we keep at it because being positive – entertaining hope – takes Herculean effort for us shit eaters.

Enough about shit.

Sometimes, a cliché makes sense . . . Aryn became the apple of my eye. She’s a daddy’s girl, like me in so many ways. Minus the shit. Instead, she chews on life’s sweeter offerings. Each day finds her pursuing her passions with equal measures of calculated commitment and boundless abandon.

She grabs this great big world full of wonder and adventure and gives it a bear hug.

This past weekend, I invited her out to Barnes & Noble to meet Patricia Polacco. Aryn loves to read Polacco’s books, especially the ones about Richie, her rotten red-headed older brother, so this was an opportunity to meet an inspiring, and sympathetic, hero up close. She listened as Polacco shared some of the stories of her life, and then beamed with pride as they hugged and got their picture taken. She is growing up so fast. Way faster than eleven miles per hour.

Time to bring the shit back in.

Back then, even as I wallowed in it, a small part of me dared to hope for sunshine. I even picked out a girl’s name, just in case.

April.

A month of awakening and growth and sunshine. An ushering in of all that brings things back to life.

It’s her middle name.

The words of this song used to haunt me. Tease me. But on occasion, I’d let them sink in just a bit and stir the waters. It’s where the name comes from, and now it’s our song . . .

Where is the face I long to see
Pictures of her in my mind
They say that she will soon return

I know she’ll be here any day now
Just breezing into the room
Her sweet perfume can send my senses

Dreaming of April
Praying for her to arrive in all her finery
I’m dreaming of April
Maybe she’ll linger this time
Turning to smile at me
When these clouds of grey march in endless procession
I’m waking every day
Dreaming of April

I never knew how blue the sky
Until the dark days came
These wistful winds keep whispering

How much I used to take for granted
The beauty of her eyes
Till mine grew dim with winter, now I’m

Dreaming of April
Praying for her to arrive in all her finery
I’m dreaming of April
Maybe she’ll linger this time
Turning to smile at me
When these days of grey march in endless procession
I’m waiting for a change
And dreaming of April

(Do me a favor: Take a moment to pop over to Aryn’s blog and wish her a happy birthday. She’ll be so thrilled . . . )

[top photo credit]

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11 thoughts on “Dreaming of April

  1. Very neat. Your birthdays are so close together.

    She actually went back to sleep when her water broke? Didn’t you guys take Lamaze? They tell you to immediately go to the hospital when your water breaks. Do not stop. Go directly to the hospital! I’m glad it turned out okay anyway!

  2. Done and done. She’s probably going to be wondering what in the heck a RiverPoet is!

    You sound like a great dad, Brian. I’m so glad you’re close to your daughter.

    Peace – D

  3. wow…again we have a coincidence….in two more days I’ll be writing a similar story….about 21 years ago. my first baby turns 21…it goes by way too fast.

    Congrats to you!

    happy birthday to you, her mom and her.

  4. Brian, you need to take a look on your writing chair because I think you’ll find your ass sitting there. It must feel weird to walk around without an ass. Great little post. Fantastic writing, blending essay with creative.

    Except for the word “whatnot.” Unacceptable. Give me another sound, a smell, a sight, something.

    “She rolled toward me and was nearly instantly fast asleep, each breath short and warm. I reached over and put my hand on her stomach and felt with renewed amazement the turbulence of life wrapped safely in skin and blood. Like the teeming schools of fish that flitter about just below the surface of a calm lake. Inside my wife bubbled a stew of life, set to boil over before this day ended.”

    Could this be a poem? I think so. Wonderful images. Evolution meets kitchen.

    And that whole shit-eater paragraph adds a fantastic layer of wisdom and dark depth.

    And you know what? You make me want to be a better dad. Seriously.

  5. You took your daughter to MEET Patricia Polacco????

    Dude, that is the best gift EVER!!

    I love her books, and every time I used to read them to my sons, they would look up at my face at a certain point in each of the stories – they knew when I would break down and cry. “The Keeping Quilt” is one of my favorite favorites.

    Just as you feel blessed to be in the company of your daughter, she is blessed to have such a wonderful dad.

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