To my daughter Anya on the occasion of the first anniversary of her birth: A father’s scattered, rambling thoughts

Filed under: baby's progress,thoughts — by Lex on October 18th, 2007 @ 8:19 pm

Subtitle: I love you, and now I will say so less eloquently, with too many words.

Anya, your mom and I knew that we wanted to have children. And we even knew when we wanted to start. And honestly, we even knew that if we had a girl, we wanted to use the name Anya.

What we didn’t know was that, above all else, what we wanted was you.

You have been the perfect baby for your mom and me. If you’re reading this sometime in the future — you know, when you’re old enough to read, find this blog, and care enough about its contents to go through it — reread the previous sentence. You are perfect to and for us.

When you read through our archives, you’ll find that we had some tough times with you, as the three of us (plus Charlie!) learned to live as a family. But through it all, even when you were challenging (not wanting to eat, or not wanting to sleep, or not wanting to go to the freaking bathroom already, Q-Tips be damned) — you were perfect. We feel lucky every day to have you in our lives.

Before you were born, I wrote a song in your honor. I normally hate writing out the lyrics to my songs — I feel that the reader will miss on the poignancy and tone that my sung delivery provides, because I am a massive dork — but here’s what I wrote:

Anya’s Song

I don’t want to write a sappy song that will make you roll your eyes
I just want to write a happy tune that we’ll both know for all our lives
Don’t know that I have it in me
To write the perfect song
But if it’s about you, sweetheart,
Then how can I go wrong?

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

I sat down to write this simple song before we ever met
I said, “How can I love you so much now, when I don’t know you yet?”
I hope your life is filled with love,
And laughter, cheer, and calm
And I know you are as beautiful
As your lovely mom

As I try to write this little song, it’s pretty hard to do
I have to make sure that it conveys the love I feel for you
And Ani, if you ever feel you have the need to cry
Just please come find me, so I can sing this lullaby

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

I can see your smile
I can see your wedding day
I’ll always be your daddy
You’ll always be my baby
I’ll always be your daddy
What more can I say?

‘Cause you’re my baby
And I’m your dad
You’re the very first daughter
I have ever had
I love you so much
More than I can sing
My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

My whole life, I’ll try to thank you
For all the joy you bring

You may not always agree, but your dad can be pretty smart some times, Ani Boo Bani. And somehow, even before you were born, I did have a pretty keen sense of just how much I would love you.

What’s amazing to me though, and what I suspect parents never really get over, is how my capacity for loving you seems to know no bounds. On occasion, at the end of a day, I’ll think to myself: This must be it — this is the most one person can love another. My love for Anya is the maximum I can feel. And that’s a nice feeling, really.

But it’s always wrong.

Each day, I love you more. Right now, part of that comes from watching you learn and achieve new things; as you discover new talents or words or faces to show off, you become eminently more lovable. But that’s not the only reason I can love you more each day. Every day you’re here is one more day I’ve shared with you — our history together grows. Truth is, I’ve only known you for a year. Just think how much I’ll love you after two! Or ten! Or… I can count higher, but it makes me feel woozy to think about right now.

The time has flown. Your first year has been a flash. But when I try to think back to Day 1 in the hospital, or when you first met Charlie, or your first day at home… That feels like a very long time ago. I swore it would never happen, but it’s honestly hard for me to remember life with your mom before you were born. (For one thing, what the heck did we do to fill up all our time before you were born?!) I try to remember during the day how overall the time seems to fly, so that I can stop and appreciate now with you. It’s always worth it.

One last thought. One of my favorite things to do with you — and there are many — is to put you to bed at night. Originally, that was a tough transition for you. (“Sleep? Me? But there’s still some perfectly good SCREAMING I could do!!!!!”) So at first, I took pride in simply helping you along from awake to asleep. Serving as your daddy, guiding you on a confusing and anxiety-inducing segue that was for your own good, in spite of how hard it was… And watching as your eyelids drooped, your body relaxed, and you curled into one of your ridiculous cribtime contortions… I loved that.

Now, bedtime is more bittersweet for me. For one thing, you’ve become great at it. With your bedtime story, song, Elmo, and pacifier, you almost look forward to going to bed. On occasion, you reach for the crib: “Hurry up, Daddy! Skip the song and send me to sleep!” It’s overwhelming to me, the joy I feel at the progress you’ve made and how good you are at going to sleep. (Being “good” at sleep was a foreign concept to me a year ago.) But the fact that now I’m largely irrelevant to the process, because you’ve got this sleep thing pretty much nailed down, just reinforces the same thing your birthday does:

You’re growing up.

Of course, you’re only one. But that’s one year older than you were when I first met you. Recounting how you’ve changed as you grew makes me marvel… And I can’t help thinking about all the other birthdays you’ll have.

It’s one of parenting’s eternal conflicts, I guess. Your parents want you to grow up and succeed. But they want you to stay little, too.

I love you, Anya. Happy birthday. And thank you for being you — our perfect baby. My whole life, I’ll try to thank you for all the joy you bring.

3 Responses to “To my daughter Anya on the occasion of the first anniversary of her birth: A father’s scattered, rambling thoughts”

  1. anonymous Says:

    Lex- that is beautiful…. every little girl should be as lucky to have a daddy like you.

  2. Sumaya Says:

    What a beautiful song ! You almost made me cry!

    I am sure Anya will appreciate her great Mommy and Daddy and is sure gonna make them proud!

    Happy Birthday Anya Doll! Wishing you the best of everything and great year ahead!

    Love and hugs,
    Sumaya

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