Monday, June 16, 2008

A Father at 8,000 miles away

Yesterday was Nick's first Father's Day. He spent it on a tiny island in the Pacific 8,000 miles away from his son. We spoke on the phone, and Nick expressed frustration at being away from us on this special day. "I just want to hold him!" he said. When I reminded him that I'm posting as many pictures and videos as I can, he said, "I know and I'm glad. But I want to touch his soft little tummy and hear his laugh and kiss his face and just be WITH him!"

Jack loves his daddy. When he hears his voice on the phone, his face lights up, and he has a special coo for Nick, too.

Yesterday, I was thinking about my and Nick's journey to parenthood. I fell in love with Nick HARD when we were 17, convinced he was not perfect, but perfect for me. We got married and had 3 wonderful (not all the time, but mostly) years getting to know each other. Then, I told him I was pregnant and promptly burst into tears.

Nick was so excited, couldn't wait to find out if Pumpkin was a boy or a girl. He came to all my appointments, picked out everything with me on the baby registry, painted the nursery, assembled the rocker (sans instructions, true to his nature), read "What to Expect" with me out loud on Sunday nights, took pictures of my growing tummy, talked to Pumpkin, and told me I was gorgeous. When Jack came, Nick stared at him in wonder, holding him like he had no idea what to do with this tiny creature. Because he didn't.

And as Jack grew and became more social, Nick fell in love with someone besides me.

As soon as Nick walks in the door from work, Klaus our dog rushes to him, and me and Jack are not far behind. Jack and Nick play peek-a-boo, sing songs, play "let's see how far you can chuck me toward the ceiling today!", and babble back and forth. We both have a long ways to go in the parenting arena (especially when it comes to patience at crying fits, Nickolas), but Nick is a wonderful father and truly adores Jack. The night before Nick deployed, Nick stood over Jack's crib, staring at his sleeping form. I stood behind him and tried to memorize the precious scene.

So Nick, though you're far away, we love you and think you're a great father. Happy Father's Day, dearheart.