My Dearest Daughter,
I am writing to explain why I sometimes get upset when you cry. I am in no way upset with you, my love. It’s surely not the best way to handle things, but I get frustrated seeing you need something that I cannot even identify, let alone fix. A parent’s job is to make his kids feel safe, secure and generally at ease in the world. When I can’t do this, I get upset with myself. I feel like I’m letting you down. I feel like I’m a failure at the only job in the world that matters. I feel like I can’t always make it better. And that’s a hard way for a Daddy to feel.
Now my logical side says that if you’ve been fed and changed, then you’re likely just tired. But maybe you are uncomfortable or not feeling well. Maybe you have indigestion and you truly don’t know that this will pass and that you will be fine in a matter of minutes.
But you can’t communicate any of this to me yet, I know. I want of course nothing but happiness and joy for you. To see you unhappy is no fun, but to not know the reason is particularly frustrating. I get flustered and stressed, even panicky.
I also consider myself to be a fixer, I like to fix things. Okay, maybe fix isn’t quite the right word (note the clogged sinks), but correct. Improve upon, make appropriate changes for the better. I pride myself on it to a small degree. But I can’t always do this with you. As much as I rock you and hold you and sing to you, sometimes you still cry. And that’s okay. You are a newborn!
If you’re not reading between the lines here, Daddy is a bit of a control freak. You might as well learn that now, beautiful baby girl. Not in an evil genius kind of way; I just like to know what to do and when to do it. I like to know the score. I like to assess situations and make good, informed choices. And I feel like the experience with your brother should count for something, should have made me smarter, more intuitive when it comes to your needs. But it isn’t really panning out that way, huh? We’ll continue the training here, you and I.
Because through all this, I think it might just be your Daddy who needs to learn that everything will be okay. Everything IS okay. I mean, you haven’t even had so much as a fever yet, you eat like a horse, sleep through the night. You’re not out past curfew or screaming ‘I HATE YOU!’ or cavorting with tattoo artists named Spike. What am I really getting all flustrated about?
I’m getting there. Baby steps for Daddy. Be patient with me. I’ll try to be patient with me, too.
All my love,