Before you get all bent out of shape here, let me say, I’ve loved my daughter since the second she was born.
Still that’s a strange statement to make, I know. But hear me out. You see, the last 18 months my daughter, wife and I have been fighting our baby girls diagnosis with OMS(opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome) a rare and scary condition. That’s a story and post unto itself that you can dive into if you want here. Beyond the mind melting experience of watching your happy baby girl rapidly lose her ability to walk, talk and use her hands. That was just the start and obviously landed us in the hospital. From there the battle began. First, to get the right diagnosis. Then, to get the right treatment. Next, get her medication and therapies right. Next, get her into the right school program. Finally, to get my wife and I back to work and figure out what normal means for our lil family now.
During all that, I loved the hell out of her but for me it was that “I just want you to be ok” kind of love that’s so intense you almost have to distract yourself from it so you don’t exhaust your very soul.
Due to her condition and compromised immune system, we went hard at Coronavirus precautions, practicing extreme isolation and social distancing. If we can put aside the tragic fact that thousands of people are sick and many thousands will die before things get better, I find myself thankful for the time it’s given me with my daughter.
I’ve found myself spending the kind of time with her that I always imagined a good dad would but I always struggled to find before. At first it was weird, awkward and exhausting for me to just be with her in whatever capacity that required. I had become so accustomed to engaging with her for the regular routines(ready for school, diner, bedtime, doctors, more doctors, another doctor) that by the time I’d find myself alone with her to play or fill some time, I’d have nothing there. My mind would be at work or just exhausted from the week and she would get whatever I could muster.
The point of this story is that this time has forced us to just be with each other and connect as people beyond just father-daughter but as playmates, classmates and friends. In this, I’ve discovered that I not only love her(unconditionally) as a father but I love her as the small independent human she has became. Everyday, I get to know that little human more and not only do I enjoy our time together, I love it and love her!
While this forced quarantine is a terrible tragedy it’s given me the gift of time at a point in my daughter’s life that I would have otherwise missed, I could never get back and I’ve fallen in love with her on a whole new level!