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A Love Song for KatyBeth


It wasn’t so long ago, the time in my life before this whole adventure started. It was only six years for me; a small fraction of the years that I’ve lived, yet those years span the entirety of your life. You’ve never known life without me in it.

Yet I can remember most of my life without you, although that time becomes increasingly vague in my memory. You were the epiphany, the understanding I’d long sought, but never fully appreciated the wonder of until the day you arrived. It’s hard to explain how it feels. I suppose every father struggles with the same thing. How do you tell your children just how much they mean to you?

I decided to write a letter.

Not just any letter, mind you. It was my first letter to you, and I wrote it in the hours before you were born. In it were my hopes for your future, and my fears, and my wonder at the miracle your mother and I had wrought. It held everything I wished for you, and everything I hoped to be as your father, the man privileged to guide you along your path in life.

I wanted to get it all on paper right then, when it was pure and unsullied by the inevitable mistakes of parenthood. I had this silly, romantic notion of giving it to you when you were older, on your eighteenth birthday perhaps, or some other day when you were utterly convinced that your parents were hopelessly out of touch, or intent on ruining your life.

I’d hand you the letter, and you’d see for yourself how I meant it to be. You’d understand how it was for me when this adventure started. You’d realize that, despite the mistakes I had made, my intentions were good. You’d have some inkling of how profoundly a parent can love a child.

And I did it, too. I nailed it. Words never came so easily. It was funny, and it was poignant, and it was moving. It was the best thing I’ve ever written, even if some of the words were a bit smudged. I had something in my eyes as I was writing it, you see.

And now I can’t find the damned thing.

File cabinets, lock boxes, desk drawers…I’ve turned them all inside out. Between three moves and a divorce, there’s no telling where it may be. Nestled between the title to my ’84 Ford Ranger and my original birth certificate, no doubt, never to be found again.

So I suppose what I should do is start over, because ink may fade with time and paper may grow brittle with passing years, but as anyone who has ever posted something embarrassing about themselves on their MySpace page will tell you, the Google cache is forever.

**********

I suppose, when a child is finally old enough to ask, that every parent tells their child that they were planned. Perhaps a few choose total honesty and gently tell their children that their conception was an accident, but a happy one nonetheless. Or perhaps they do like my mother did, and tell me that she was reasonably sure I was the fruit of the collective passions of the 1968 NLU Indians football team.

Or maybe it was the basketball team. The booze made it hard to remember, but she thought I looked a lot like the quarterback. Or maybe it was the starting point guard. Like she said, the booze made it hard to remember.

So my advice to you is, if ever you feel compelled to ask, hope that you’re still young and impressionable enough that I either give you the gentle lie, or the honest answer. If you wait until you’re a teenager, I can’t guarantee I won’t tell you something outrageous, just to see the look on your face. I am my mother’s son, after all.

But if you’d really like to know, you were conceived in a moment of fevered passion in the neighbor’s laundry room. There was a pool party going on, and we were washing beach towels…well, let’s just say that the music was loud, the booze was flowing, the washing machine was on spin cycle…

…and your Mom was all sweaty and glistening. She bent over to clean the lint trap, and all of a sudden it was bow chicka wow wow! At least, I’m pretty sure it was your Mom. The booze makes it hard to remember clearly.

Now I’ll pause the letter for a moment as you vomit at the thought of your parents ever actually – gasp! – having sex. Take your time, I know it’s a revolting thought. The first time I ever contemplated the thought of my folks doing that sort of thing, I was skeeved out for a month.

Regardless of how it happened, rest assured that nothing about your coming was accidental. Not on my part, or your Mom’s.

Or for that matter, even God’s.

**********


One pound, fourteen ounces, and nineteen inches.

That’s how small you were when the doctor pulled you from the womb. That’s roughly 850 grams, considerably less heft than that liter bottle of water that you see me drinking from so often. By comparison, the average adult fox squirrel is considerably bigger, and a big one will weigh twice that. My friend Bodie made that very observation when he first laid eyes on you, lying there in your NICU isolette.

“Hell son, she ain’t no bigger’n a skint squirrel” he said wonderingly. “You say the word, and I’ll smuggle her outta here under my hat. I got a shoebox in the house y’all can use as a crib.”

It wasn’t supposed to be that way, you know. You were to be a Valentine’s baby, the perfect gift your mother and I could envision for each other, and yet you came before Thanksgiving. It was a very scary time.

Consider that big babies run in your family. All your aunts and uncles weighed more than ten pounds, with a couple of thirteen-plus pounders thrown in there as well. Your Aunt Troll and I were twins, and we weighed eight pounds apiece. Your Grandpa buried two of his own twins before your mother was born, and each of them weighed more than you. Thirty-five years ago, babies your size simply didn’t survive.

So I wasn’t the only one paralyzed by fear that night. We all were, your Grandpa the worst. I was outwardly calm, because it is in my nature to be so, especially when everyone else around me isn’t. I was ready to be a father, but I wasn’t ready to bury you before I even got the chance to hold you, or to feel the rise and fall of your chest as I held you to mine, or to feel your tiny hand clasp my finger. Not before I fed you your first bottle, or changed your first diaper, or heck, even gave you away at your wedding.

I just wasn’t ready for that.

And so, the night of your birth found me on my knees in the hospital chapel, praying like I’ve never prayed before or since. I wept, and I prayed, and I wept some more, and I bargained with God, offering anything I could, including my own life, if you could be born healthy and whole.

And when you the doctor drew you forth, still blue as a Smurf and impossibly tiny, you started your life by defying expectations.

At 28 weeks, you weren’t supposed to be able to cry. Yet you did.

You weren’t supposed to breathe on your own. Yet you did.

You weren’t supposed to be able to suckle on your own. Yet a week later, the physical therapist came to our room, shaking her head in consternation, and suggested that we buy some preemie pacifiers for you, because apparently nobody had told you that reflex wasn’t supposed to be developed yet.

In my heart, I’ll always believe that my prayers had something to do with that. Not because I have a special conduit to God, or even because I know Him all that well, but because I believe he sees into the heart of the person praying, no matter how clumsy or eloquent the words.

I tell you this not to convince you of the power of prayer, or even of the existence of God. I’d hope that we’d raise you knowing God’s word, as I promised Him that night. Whether you worship as a Baptist like your mother, or an Episcopalian like me, or any denomination you choose, doesn’t matter to me. If you choose not to believe at all, I’ll be disappointed, but I will love you none the less.

I tell you this simply to make you understand that, even if you don’t believe that prayer works, there are things in this life worth praying for. If you pray, do so for the things that matter.

Those things aren’t the promotion you’re hoping for at work, or winning lottery numbers, or a good grade on that math test, or for your favorite team to win the Super Bowl. Pray instead for the health and well-being of others. Pray for your brothers and sisters, your friends and neighbors, even your enemies. Pray for the safety of a soldier. Pray to ease the suffering of the sick. Pray to assuage the grief of someone who has lost a loved one. Pray that others may find common ground between them, and cease their fighting.

Pray, as I did, for the life of your child.

God sees the love behind such prayers, no matter what words they’re couched in. And, I suspect, even if the prayers aren’t directly addressed to Him.

**********

I watched you for the first month through a thin sheet of Plexiglas, at most able to touch only your tiny hand or foot. Babies born at your age still have raw, undeveloped nervous systems. The slightest stimulus can cause them harm, so they put you in the Mushroom Room with the micro-preemies. They keep it dark, warm and quiet in there, the only noise the hiss of oxygen or the hum of machinery. NICUs are not as quiet as you might think, but in the Mushroom Room, everyone speaks in hushed whispers.

From the beginning, your Mom and I flouted the NICU visiting hours. We knew your nurses, knew your doctors, and most importantly we knew the security code to get through the doors. So we’d show up whenever we could, and we’d spend hours next to your isolette, whispering together, marveling at the wonder of you. Occasionally the nurses would run us off for a few hours, but I think they knew they wouldn’t be able to keep us away for long. Plus, we were low maintenance parents. The second time someone replaced your orogastric tube, it was me doing it. If a diaper needed changing, or a monitor needed troubleshooting, they trusted us to do it. If the baby in the next isolette had an apneic episode, I stimulated him until he started breathing again.

Actually, the nurses kind of frowned on that. “Only on your own baby!” they’d admonish. Sometimes I have a hard time turning the paramedic part of me off.

After a few weeks, we were allowed to hold you once a day. They had a program called Kangaroo Care, where preemie babies are held against their mother’s bare chest, skin to skin, to promote bonding. Infants need nurturing and touch, and the sooner the better. The quicker we could hold you, they told us, the better you’d do. As long as you could maintain your body temperature, they’d let your Mom hold you against her chest for an hour each day.

They didn’t count on me.

I don’t know if most fathers didn’t normally assert themselves over such things, but I think it surprised them when I insisted that I be allowed to participate. Damned if your Mom was going to get all the snuggles, not after I kept vigil over you through a Plexiglas barrier for nearly a month. I was not going to be denied the chance to hold my daughter.

And so I snapped photos and beamed proudly all through the first visit, and then I went home and shaved off all my chest hair without telling anyone. I didn’t know whether the hair might irritate your skin, or be a source of infection, or if it was even necessary. I wasn’t taking any chances.

And on the next visit, I hip-checked your Mom aside and firmly told the nurse, “My turn.” She flashed me a surprised look, burst out in a guffaw when she saw my freshly shaven pecs, and handed you over. Somewhere in a display case in that NICU, amid all the Polaroids of proud mothers holding their babies for the very first time, there’s one of a burly guy with a goatee holding this impossibly small little thing against his chest, and he’s crying like a frickin’ baby.

Little did I know that would start a tradition. For five years, rarely a night passed when you didn’t start it with your head on my chest and your hands toying with my chest hair in your sleep. You may have ended the night in your crib, but it always started with your head on my chest.

Sometimes I think I’ll always feel the ghost of it there, even after you’re grown and gone.

There were many times during those sixty-one interminable days you spent in the NICU, when I’d let myself in after a particularly rough shift on the ambulance, pick you up and hold you to my chest until that baby scent banished the horrors of the day. More than once I was woken up by the gentle but insistent voice of your nurse.

“It’s late,” she’d whisper sympathetically. “Go home and get some sleep, and come back in a few hours.”

I doubt the nurses understood how much I needed that contact with you, how much it calmed and centered me. Or perhaps they did, and that was they turned a blind eye to me ignoring the posted visiting hours.

You see, it wasn’t long after you were born that we got the first bad news. Your brain had hemorrhaged while you were in your Mom’s womb, perhaps two weeks before you were born. It was a bad bleed; a Grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage with right periventricular leukomalacia.

Look them up if you want to. The internet is full of scholarly articles on the condition. You can read the percentages of children with the condition who are afflicted with blindness, seizures and profound mental retardation. Scan through the articles that say cerebral palsy is a virtual certainty. Heck, you might even stumble across the one that wonders whether it might be ethical simply to let babies like you die, given the dismal prognosis.

And you can ask yourself if any of those dry and sterile statistics encompass you.

You see, none of the medical literature is capable of quantifying hope, KatyBeth. Whenever your path in life takes its darkest turns and despair gnaws at your soul, remember that you can always beat it back with hope. You’ve been able to from the first moment you drew breath.

The fact that you’ll read this letter someday is proof of that.

**********

Parents of newborns quickly develop a routine, which can best be described as totally subject to the whims of that demanding little being you created.

Every parent can commiserate with the tales of colic and late-night feedings and endless diaper changes. And until you’ve raised a child, a cry is a cry is a cry. But every mother will appreciate the differences between poopy cries, hungry cries, sick cries, and the omnipresent “I’m pissed because you people are not worshipping me in a manner befitting my regal infant stature” cries. It’s just something parents pick up.

We’d been prepped by books, and the advice of well-meaning friends, and our own experiences with our nieces and nephews. We were medical professionals, well-versed in how to manage a fever, how to coax a child into taking medicine, and when to quit screwing around and bring you to the doctor instead of treating your symptoms ourselves. We had months to plan, coordinate schedules, prep the house, stock up in baby formula and diapers , and set up your nursery. We were prepared.

Yeah, right.

NICU nurses like to play a cruel trick on new parents by carefully arranging their preemie patients in their isolettes in a fetal position; face turned to the side, arms and legs carefully tucked beneath. The longer the stay in the NICU, the more the infant becomes accustomed to the position. You spent two months there, sleeping that way.

Problem is, every known pediatric reference in the world trumpets the SIDS-prevention mantra, “Put your baby back to sleep.”

Couple that with the fact that they saw fit to change your formula the day you were discharged from the hospital, and the two combine to form the Perfect Storm of Colic. For a solid month, until a high-calorie version of your original formula became available in grocery stores, the only way you could sleep, at all, was curled up in a fetal position on my chest.

We lasted three days before we broke our vow that we’d never let our baby sleep with us.

I won’t even mention all the other parenting “no-nos” we committed. Some of them were willful, because your Mom and I harbor the suspicion that most authors of parenting books are childless asexual psychologists who are totally full of shit anyway, and some of them were inadvertent – like the times we let you roll off the bed. Others still were committed just because we thought it was cute – like encouraging you every time you sang Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.

Actually I’m not sure that last one was a mistake. A cute blonde girl that can sing country music can pretty much write her own ticket.

But none of that prior experience and parenting advice is of much use when your child has cerebral palsy. All of the things other kids pick up naturally, you learned through endless, painstaking repetition. Those milestones other kids reach effortlessly at the proper times outlined in those parenting books, you reached only through supreme concentration and an iron will, sometimes months or years later than your peers.

But reach them you did.

And so we learned a new frame of reference, and new ways of doing things. We learned to celebrate smaller milestones, and keep faith that you’d reach the bigger ones soon enough. And for the most part, that faith was rewarded.

Still, the learning curve was a bit steep.

You can flash a huge smile and coo, “Open up the hangar and let the plane fly in!” when your little tyke doesn’t want to eat her strained carrots, but neither the plane nor the technique really fly when your child physically recoils at the texture of her food.

A little Karo syrup in the formula works wonders when most babies are constipated, but when your child’s digestive system is impaired because of the brain damage incurred before she was even born…yeah, not so much.

Distinguishing between the poopy cry and the hurt cry is usually pretty easy, except when pooping happens to be excruciatingly painful for your child. But it doesn’t really matter. Your child is crying, and you do whatever it takes to comfort her.

Mealtimes are supposed to be happy times for families, but what do you do when both father and daughter dread every single feeding? It wasn’t so much the food as what came after.

You’ve asked me before why you can’t run fast, or do jumping jacks or pushups in gym like your friends, and your Mom and I have always taken the coward’s way out and told you that even though God gave you a left arm and leg that didn’t work so well, He blessed you instead with brains and an impish sense of humor. Cerebral palsy robbed you of the full use of your limbs, we’d say, but you have other gifts.

What you don’t remember is what it took to get you even as far as you have come. Every day, I say a thankful prayer that you don’t remember, and hate me as a result.

Your cerebral palsy manifested itself as spastic diplegia, leaving your legs and hips impossibly stiff and immobile. Had you continued as they were, you’d have found it impossible to crawl, or walk, or even roll over. Left long enough, they’d have frozen that way, leaving you confined to a wheelchair in a twisted, fetal bundle.

The only remedy, they told us, was to stretch your limbs, try to restore whatever range of motion we could. We’d have to stretch you every day, the more the better. And so, every day, after every feeding, I’d lay you on the bed, and I’d stretch your legs and arms. Hamstrings, heel cords, hip flexors, biceps and triceps, wrists and ankles…

…and every minute of it threatened to rend my soul in tatters.

I’d bend your unyielding limbs in all the ways they were supposed to move but wouldn’t, and in many ways that seemed unnatural, and you’d scream in pain throughout the entire ritual. You’d cry out, unable to fight back or even pull away, and I’d press on, praying in vain for some way to immunize my ears against the sound of your cries. Every session ended the same way – both of us sobbing brokenly, with you clutched against my chest, me begging for your forgiveness.

Every day. Five or six times a day. Ten minutes at a time.

I reached a point where I sought reasons to be elsewhere at feeding time. Throughout our marriage, and those two months you spent in the NICU, I was always the one to be stoic and strong for your Mom. I think nature equips men to play that role.

But nature does not equip us to inflict pain on our children, no matter the reason, without leaving a scar somewhere on our psyche. I know it scarred mine. Part of the reason I’m such a pushover where you’re concerned is because I’ve never quite convinced myself that you could forgive me for inflicting so much pain. Your Mom turned out to be the stronger of us in that regard. At least she can still tell you no.

**********

Not long after we took you home, our liaison with Families Helping Families gave us an essay called Welcome to Holland, written by a woman named Emily Perl Kingsley about what it’s like to raise a child with special healthcare needs. No doubt your Mom and I will have told you about the essay, perhaps even read it to you, in an effort to help you understand how it affected us, and by extension, you.

It’s a story about expectations, and loss, and dealing with disappointment. If you’re a cynical person, I suppose you could boil it all down to a trite little saying like, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

But I’d hope that we haven’t raised you to be cynical, and your cerebral palsy certainly isn’t something so trivial as a lemon. But if you read it, I mean really read it, you’ll realize it’s not so much about making the best of a bad situation as it is about refusing to let disappointment blind you to the gifts you already have. My greatest fear is that, somewhere along your path in life, you’ll make that mistake.

What a tragic mistake that would be, that you fail to recognize your own gifts, or those of the angels who helped you discover them.

You met the first of them when you were still in the NICU. Nurses fought to be the one to take care of you. Everyone wanted to look after the amazing little girl who had such a devastating brain injury, yet showed so little sign of it. When your neurologist saw you for the first time, he walked back to the nurse’s station and said, “Excuse me, I’m looking for the Grayson baby. Have they moved her?”

“That’s her,” the nurse chuckled. “Isolette #4. If you wait a few more minutes, you’ll meet her parents. They went down to the cafeteria for lunch.”

“There has to be some mistake,” he explained. “The baby I’m supposed to see has a Grade IV bleed.”

That’s her,” That’s the nurse insisted. “And if you think she’s impressive now, wait’ll you see her CT scans.”

“I’ve seen her CT scans,” he said wonderingly. “I just don’t believe what I’m seeing now.”

One of your nurses told me that story after Dr. Pena left, and I was reminded of it barely a week later, after he gently, but bluntly, told us exactly what obstacles you faced. I was driving home, wondering how I’d ever be up to the task of raising you, when Natalie Merchant’s Wonder came over the radio:

Doctors have come
from distant cities,
just to see me.
Stand over my bed,
disbelieving what they’re seeing .

They say I must be one of the wonders
of God’s own creation,
and as far as they see they can offer
no explanation.

I’m not sure if he’s even heard the song, but Aristoteles Pena-Miches has called you one of God’s wonders more than once since then, and when you look into his eyes you can tell he believes it. It’s not just something he says to reassure frightened parents. He truly thinks you’re a miracle. So does every nurse, therapist, doctor or teacher you’ve ever had.

Who am I to disagree with them?

**********

One of your gifts has always been your strength of will. Most people see your blue eyes and hear that lilting voice of yours, and that’s all they see – a cute little girl. Others might also notice your limp or the way you hold your left arm tucked close to your side, and they might get the perception that you are frail.

What they don’t see is how you hate failing at something. They’ve never heard you scream in frustration as you struggled, again and again, to master a new skill. They’ve never seen you keep at something until long after your therapists were willing to let you quit.

And every good therapist has a streak of sadist in them. They’re not doing their jobs unless they’ve pushed their patients beyond where they thought themselves capable. With you, they never reached that point. Not once. You may have failed to reach a goal, or ended a session in defeat, but not once did you quit.

And when you refuse to quit, you’re never defeated. Try to remember that.

Sometimes, that got in your way. Your therapists were so good at motivating you, and your desire to please was almost as strong as your willpower, that when you failed, you’d collapse in a screaming fit. You’d arch your back, clench your fists, and kick your legs…and all that muscle spasticity would come right back, threatening to erase what little progress you had made.

So, with the advice of your speech therapist, we taught you coping mechanisms. Simple parenting skills, really. When you cried or screamed inarticulately, we encouraged you to verbalize your frustration instead. Instead of crying, we taught you to say, “I’m mad,” or “I’m sad.”

Little did I know we were creating a master manipulator. It wasn’t long before you mastered the puppy dog look, and the pouty lower lip, and that quavering, on-the-edge-of-crying, heartbroken delivery. Powerful tools, those.

Just remember they don’t work on me. I know what a badass you can be.

So seriously, stop with the puppy dog look.

I mean it. You’re not fooling me. That lower lip thing ain’t working either. You have homework to do.

Okay, okay, okay… you can have an ice cream sandwich. But not until you’ve finished your homework and cleaned your room. What do you think I am, a sucker?

**********

I know that you fear many things. Fear itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It can teach you caution. It can motivate you. It can make you realize what is most important to you. People who have nothing to fear also have nothing to live for.

But fear can be a handicap when we let it limit us, KatyBeth. And your mother and I promised ourselves, and you, that the only handicaps you’d have would be the ones that absolutely cannot be overcome.

And fear can be overcome.

You master your fear in the same way you have mastered everything else – by facing it, and refusing to quit until you’ve won. The willpower that helped you to crawl, and walk, and talk, and everything else you do that the odds said you couldn’t, is the same willpower that will help you master fear. Trust me when I say this, the things you fear will never hurt you as much as the limitations you accept for yourself by not trying.

There are people, even those who love you, who would encourage you to accept those limitations, because they also fear. They fear you being hurt, or experiencing disappointment. They mean well, and they would protect you if they could.

Don’t listen to them. Don’t let their fears become yours.

Fear tempered with common sense and discipline equals caution, and caution is a good thing. We want you to be cautious. But unreasoning fear will cause you more harm than snakes, or loud noises, or big dogs, or rambunctious kids ever can.

In your life, you’re going to fall down. You’re going to be hit. You’re going to get bitten. Mean kids will say cruel things. Boyfriends will break your heart.

But those things can never really hurt you unless you allow fear to convince you not to get back up, or defend yourself, or shun every dog you encounter, or refuse to dance because some little punk made fun of your funky moves. And when it comes to heartbreaking boyfriends, you leave them to me. I’ve got guns, acreage and a backhoe. After the first one disappears mysteriously, every suitor after that will treat you like a queen.

There was a time, when you were just past three years old, that I took you to a local seafood joint after a long day on the river doing things on the jet ski that no doubt would have terrified your mother and your grandparents. We were tired, and hungry, and just a little sunburned, and we tied my jet ski to the dock and found ourselves a seat on the patio, and ordered.

And shortly after our food arrived, the deejay cued up the karaoke machine and started taking requests. That absolutely blew your mind. I mean, here were all your favorite things – people, and music, and a microphone! And they’d let anybody just pick up the microphone and sing! And everybody listened and clapped!

It wasn’t long before you were bugging me to let you sing. So I led you up front, hoisted you onto the stage, handed you the microphone, and whispered to the deejay to cue up Drift Away. And when the music started playing, you looked out at the audience…

and froze.

I watched you stand there, terrified, until I realized that no sound was going to escape your lips. So I walked back up to the stage, sat down and put you in my lap, and motioned for the deejay to start the song again. And then I swallowed my fear, and we sang the song as a duet.

Your voice was faint at first, barely audible, but by the time we reached the first chorus, you were belting it out. And by the time the song ended, you were singing your little three-year-old ass off as if you were channeling Dobie Gray himself. And when it was over, people clapped.

Clapped, hell, they gave you a standing ovation. They whistled and cheered, and asked for an encore. And I just hoisted you onto my shoulders and basked in your glory as we made our way back to our table. When I asked for the check, the waitress told me one of your new fans had paid for our meal. You were a rock star.

Remember that. Never will your star shine so bright as when you are being bold and fearless.

**********

I’m not always going to be the person in your life who has all the answers. Heck, I’m not even that now – Mawmaw is your Oracle these days. And I’m sure there are going to be times in the future when you’re convinced your Mom and I are trying to ruin your life. We’ll harass you over your schoolwork, your choice of friends and boyfriends, your taste in music, your clothes, and probably a million other things.
Thus is the nature of the relationship between parents and children, I suppose, when one party sets the boundaries while the other seeks to test them. I’m your father, not your friend.

And if it seems that I push you sometimes, that I make unreasonable demands, keep in mind the promise I made. Your destiny is your own. I can’t chart that path for you. But my job is to make sure you don’t stop somewhere short of that destiny because you settled for less than you can be.

And all the while I’m pushing you, keep in mind that I am your biggest cheerleader and your #1 fan. I can’t wait to see where your life takes you. I have a feeling it’s going to be an epic adventure.

I love you, Little Girl.

Comments - Add Yours

  • dneylon

    When you write these things AD I’m torn between asking you to stop, and telling you don’t stop.So just… Thank you

  • dneylon

    When you write these things AD I’m torn between asking you to stop, and telling you don’t stop.So just… Thank you

  • fuzzys dad

    Wow Ad that was beautiful.It made ne cry and laugh.May God Bless you both.Rick

  • fuzzys dad

    Wow Ad that was beautiful.It made ne cry and laugh.May God Bless you both.Rick

  • Medicmarch.

    I think…uh, I think there’s something in my eye.-MM

  • Medicmarch.

    I think…uh, I think there’s something in my eye.-MM

  • tgtsmom

    Well, now that my keyboard is all wet, I have to say two things. 1. KB is the luckiest girl in the world to have a father like you. And 2. you are possibly the luckiest man alive to be blessed with her.Thank you for letting us inside for peek. You don’t have to share this with stangers. I am obviously not strong enough for that.

  • tgtsmom

    Well, now that my keyboard is all wet, I have to say two things. 1. KB is the luckiest girl in the world to have a father like you. And 2. you are possibly the luckiest man alive to be blessed with her.Thank you for letting us inside for peek. You don’t have to share this with stangers. I am obviously not strong enough for that.

  • Christina LMT

    Amazing, AD. Thank you for sharing!

  • Christina LMT

    Amazing, AD. Thank you for sharing!

  • EmmaPeel

    Absolutely beautiful. She is so lucky. I know you know how lucky you are. But, warm me, will you. It’s really not kosher to cry your eyes out at work.

  • EmmaPeel

    Absolutely beautiful. She is so lucky. I know you know how lucky you are. But, warm me, will you. It’s really not kosher to cry your eyes out at work.

  • Aunt Murry

    What a beautiful post. I’m sure that you will find tht letter someday but this is a fantastic substitue

  • Aunt Murry

    What a beautiful post. I’m sure that you will find tht letter someday but this is a fantastic substitue

  • wonder_aloud

    Wow, I’m in awe.

  • wonder_aloud

    Wow, I’m in awe.

  • Anonymous

    This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I went directly to hug my Dad and thanked him for always pushing me, never letting me quit or settle for second best (including when it came to the boys) all the while letting me be me. I knew all of this but until someone else wrote it and I read their words, I had never really thanked him. And thank you for writing this marvelous piece. Blessing for you and your family! Lynn

  • Anonymous

    This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I went directly to hug my Dad and thanked him for always pushing me, never letting me quit or settle for second best (including when it came to the boys) all the while letting me be me. I knew all of this but until someone else wrote it and I read their words, I had never really thanked him. And thank you for writing this marvelous piece. Blessing for you and your family! Lynn

  • Gene

    Now I’ll pause the letter for a moment as you vomit at the thought of your parents ever actually – gasp! – having sex. Take your time, I know it’s a revolting thought. The first time I ever contemplated the thought of my folks doing that sort of thing, I was skeeved out for a month.While Mom was with me in Vegas a couple of years ago for a craps tournament (wife.gov didn’t want to go), we were driving down Main Street just south of Downtown. As we passed the Daisy Motel Mom pointed over and said matter of factly, “There’s a real good chance you were concieved in that motel.” Keeping in mind that I was almost 50 at the time, I was still all, “TMI Mom!” But now it makes for a good story.

  • Gene

    While Mom was with me in Vegas a couple of years ago for a craps tournament (wife.gov didn’t want to go), we were driving down Main Street just south of Downtown. As we passed the Daisy Motel Mom pointed over and said matter of factly, “There’s a real good chance you were concieved in that motel.” Keeping in mind that I was almost 50 at the time, I was still all, “TMI Mom!” But now it makes for a good story.

  • Anonymous

    As the mother of a special child like KB your post brought tears to my eyes

  • Anonymous

    As the mother of a special child like KB your post brought tears to my eyes

  • Life on Pause

    Hey there AD.I know this is for your lucky little angel….but it helped.”But if you read it, I mean really read it, you’ll realize it’s not so much about making the best of a bad situation as it is about refusing to let disappointment blind you to the gifts you already have. My greatest fear is that, somewhere along your path in life, you’ll make that mistake.”Words of encouragement right there.It’s a powerful dad that can help someone else’s kid through a difficult situation with only words.Thanks.~Bri

  • Life on Pause

    Hey there AD.I know this is for your lucky little angel….but it helped.”But if you read it, I mean really read it, you’ll realize it’s not so much about making the best of a bad situation as it is about refusing to let disappointment blind you to the gifts you already have. My greatest fear is that, somewhere along your path in life, you’ll make that mistake.”Words of encouragement right there.It’s a powerful dad that can help someone else’s kid through a difficult situation with only words.Thanks.~Bri

  • Farmgirl

    No one who has seen your face when you talk about KatyBeth could ever mistake how much you love her, or how proud you are of her.This just adds to that.

  • Farmgirl

    No one who has seen your face when you talk about KatyBeth could ever mistake how much you love her, or how proud you are of her.This just adds to that.

  • Newbius

    When I am done drying my eyes, I am going to forward this to my daughter.Thank you…Anthony

  • Newbius

    When I am done drying my eyes, I am going to forward this to my daughter.Thank you…Anthony

  • cd0103

    Oh wow. Just an amazing post. I agree with fuzzys dad. Made me laugh and cry. What a great tribute/

  • cd0103

    Oh wow. Just an amazing post. I agree with fuzzys dad. Made me laugh and cry. What a great tribute/

  • Genevieve

    Thanks AD. As someone else’s daughter, I can tell you that a little girl knows how much she loves her father, but it’s clear from this that she’ll never undertand exactly how deeply her daddy loves her. May KatyBeth be lucky enough to scratch the surface of your love for her.

  • Genevieve

    Thanks AD. As someone else’s daughter, I can tell you that a little girl knows how much she loves her father, but it’s clear from this that she’ll never undertand exactly how deeply her daddy loves her. May KatyBeth be lucky enough to scratch the surface of your love for her.

  • Anonymous

    It always warms me when I read one of the posts that you write with an open heart. I am glad that KatyBeth has you for a father.

  • Anonymous

    It always warms me when I read one of the posts that you write with an open heart. I am glad that KatyBeth has you for a father.

  • TisDone

    I usually skip long blog posts (not just yours, everybody’s) … but something told me to read this one.Thanks … helps one remember that being a Dad is a special thing, no matter the circumstances.

  • TisDone

    I usually skip long blog posts (not just yours, everybody’s) … but something told me to read this one.Thanks … helps one remember that being a Dad is a special thing, no matter the circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing that you are able to put all of that into words. KatyBeth is so very lucky to have a dad like you who not only lets her get away with being a little stinker but who also tells her that she can do anything and pushes her to do the most/best she can and has taught her to never give up.JoDee

  • Anonymous

    Amazing that you are able to put all of that into words. KatyBeth is so very lucky to have a dad like you who not only lets her get away with being a little stinker but who also tells her that she can do anything and pushes her to do the most/best she can and has taught her to never give up.JoDee

  • Casey

    That has to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.Your little girl is so lucky to have a daddy like you.

  • Casey

    That has to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.Your little girl is so lucky to have a daddy like you.

  • Nicole

    Yes, posts like these should have a disclaimer “Reading this post may cause permanent water damage to your laptop.” Wow. Just wow. KB is so lucky to have such an amazing father but it looks like you’re just as lucky to have been given such a miraculous blessing. God Bless, AD.

  • Nicole

    Yes, posts like these should have a disclaimer “Reading this post may cause permanent water damage to your laptop.” Wow. Just wow. KB is so lucky to have such an amazing father but it looks like you’re just as lucky to have been given such a miraculous blessing. God Bless, AD.

  • reflectoscope

    Some people do great things with their minds, some with their bodies, and some with their hearts; how many like AD do all three?Jim

  • reflectoscope

    Some people do great things with their minds, some with their bodies, and some with their hearts; how many like AD do all three?Jim

  • Maeve

    NEVER underestimate the power of a parents love for their child.It moves mountains and proves the doctors wrong every.single.time.

  • Maeve

    NEVER underestimate the power of a parents love for their child.It moves mountains and proves the doctors wrong every.single.time.

  • Castr8r

    I was gettin’ pissed because you haven’t been posting much. My apologies, sir. You have redeemed yourself beyond all expectations! KatyBeth is a most fortunate Little Girl to have you for a Dad, and you for having her. God’s grace go with you both, always.

  • Castr8r

    I was gettin’ pissed because you haven’t been posting much. My apologies, sir. You have redeemed yourself beyond all expectations! KatyBeth is a most fortunate Little Girl to have you for a Dad, and you for having her. God’s grace go with you both, always.

  • Jennifer

    Wow, the screen got all fuzzy there at the end. Actually, several points in there. And there was laughter too. KatyBeth sounds like quite the girl. And you a loving father.

  • Jennifer

    Wow, the screen got all fuzzy there at the end. Actually, several points in there. And there was laughter too. KatyBeth sounds like quite the girl. And you a loving father.

  • J-Ro

    Of all the entries you have made, the stories you have shared, the lessons you have taught – this post was the best. You have a gift for words. Thank you for sharing.

  • J-Ro

    Of all the entries you have made, the stories you have shared, the lessons you have taught – this post was the best. You have a gift for words. Thank you for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    AD – you nailed it again.-whitecap nurse

  • Anonymous

    AD – you nailed it again.-whitecap nurse

  • dylthedog

    hell AD you made me cry!!

  • dylthedog

    hell AD you made me cry!!

  • Anonymous

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Thanks for sharing this AD. I’m plucking out some of the phrases to post around the house for my kids to read. Beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Thanks for sharing this AD. I’m plucking out some of the phrases to post around the house for my kids to read. Beautiful.

  • shadysidebury

    AD- that’s beautiful. Blinkin’ back the tears now…cued up “Drift Away” as I was reading the final lines of this…mistake, or what? I can imagine that moment, or I think I can. Thanks for sharing.

  • shadysidebury

    AD- that’s beautiful. Blinkin’ back the tears now…cued up “Drift Away” as I was reading the final lines of this…mistake, or what? I can imagine that moment, or I think I can. Thanks for sharing.

  • Pistolmom

    Wow!www.freedoms-fight.blogspot.com

  • Pistolmom

    Wow!www.freedoms-fight.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    I laughed, I cried and laughed and criedWowjust wait until you have a grand daughter, it’s even better

  • Anonymous

    I laughed, I cried and laughed and criedWowjust wait until you have a grand daughter, it’s even better

  • Cristin

    I have been lurking for some time and decided to de-lurk just so I could comment on this post. You have so eloquently put into words your thoughts and feelings that I feel as if I know you. You are such a talented writer and your little girl is very fortunate to have such a loving father. I think you lucked out by getting her for a daughter, too! Well done, AD, well done.

  • Cristin

    I have been lurking for some time and decided to de-lurk just so I could comment on this post. You have so eloquently put into words your thoughts and feelings that I feel as if I know you. You are such a talented writer and your little girl is very fortunate to have such a loving father. I think you lucked out by getting her for a daughter, too! Well done, AD, well done.

  • NannyOgg

    Your little girl is so blessed to have you as a dad!{{{ HUGS }}} to you and her,Karen

  • NannyOgg

    Your little girl is so blessed to have you as a dad!{{{ HUGS }}} to you and her,Karen

  • cmhbob

    Dude.I like to think that I can occasionally put words together in a semi-coherent fashion.You can Write.

  • cmhbob

    Dude.I like to think that I can occasionally put words together in a semi-coherent fashion.You can Write.

  • sardog

    After many years as a NICU nurse it can be easy to let the reasons for working there become blunted. Thank-you for reminding me what a privilege it is to care for such special babies and their families.

  • sardog

    After many years as a NICU nurse it can be easy to let the reasons for working there become blunted. Thank-you for reminding me what a privilege it is to care for such special babies and their families.

  • Anonymous

    We have a rule around my house, “we don’t make momma cry”. You’ve been a bad boy. Thank you for that, and thank you for sharing your beautiful, miraculous baby with us.

  • Anonymous

    We have a rule around my house, “we don’t make momma cry”. You’ve been a bad boy. Thank you for that, and thank you for sharing your beautiful, miraculous baby with us.

  • Oldfart

    Damn you AD!! I spend weeks – months even, building myself up in my own estimation as a tough, macho kinda guy and then you write something like this. Now I have to start all over again… right after I dry my eyes and wipe my nose.

  • Oldfart

    Damn you AD!! I spend weeks – months even, building myself up in my own estimation as a tough, macho kinda guy and then you write something like this. Now I have to start all over again… right after I dry my eyes and wipe my nose.

  • Old NFO

    Thank you AD. That was special.

  • Old NFO

    Thank you AD. That was special.

  • medicblog999

    Thank you so much for sharing that story with us all.I hope you can add all of these comments to give to your daughter so that she can see how many lives both you and her have touched (even over here in Newcastle in the UK)I have to be honest and own up to blubbing like a baby during the Kareoke bit! My God, I knew I was in touch with my feminine side but that was too much.Thanks Again.

  • medicblog999

    Thank you so much for sharing that story with us all.I hope you can add all of these comments to give to your daughter so that she can see how many lives both you and her have touched (even over here in Newcastle in the UK)I have to be honest and own up to blubbing like a baby during the Kareoke bit! My God, I knew I was in touch with my feminine side but that was too much.Thanks Again.

  • TheRedHead Who Reads

    AD, you’ve done it again … absolutely wonderful! I’ve got tears in my eyes … and KatyBeth is one very, very special little girl! Good for her for defying the odds and working so hard to achieve her goals to make you all so proud. I believe there are no accidents in this world – we are all here with our loved ones because it’s meant to be – we’re destined to be in special families. It’s so obvious that KatyBeth won the Parent Lottery! You’re so lucky to have her and she’s lucky to have a wonderful Dad. Both of you – cherish that special father-daughter bond because what you have is just extraordinary. Thanks for sharing something so special with us all.

  • TheRedHead Who Reads

    AD, you’ve done it again … absolutely wonderful! I’ve got tears in my eyes … and KatyBeth is one very, very special little girl! Good for her for defying the odds and working so hard to achieve her goals to make you all so proud. I believe there are no accidents in this world – we are all here with our loved ones because it’s meant to be – we’re destined to be in special families. It’s so obvious that KatyBeth won the Parent Lottery! You’re so lucky to have her and she’s lucky to have a wonderful Dad. Both of you – cherish that special father-daughter bond because what you have is just extraordinary. Thanks for sharing something so special with us all.

  • Dayna

    She’s absolutely beautiful.AND I am glad I am not the only one crying.AD, next time you write one of these can you put (tissue required)next to the title?

  • Dayna

    She’s absolutely beautiful.AND I am glad I am not the only one crying.AD, next time you write one of these can you put (tissue required)next to the title?

  • TheRookie89

    That was very heart-wrenching and heart-touching. I don’t think I have cried that much in a long time. KatyBeth is a beautiful young girl and extremely special. She is lucky to have you for a father, AD.

  • TheRookie89

    That was very heart-wrenching and heart-touching. I don’t think I have cried that much in a long time. KatyBeth is a beautiful young girl and extremely special. She is lucky to have you for a father, AD.

  • kateykakes

    AD,That was absolutely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. You are a wonderful father who has such love in his heart for his baby girl.Thank you for making me laugh and cry – for they were tears of joy.You’re an amazing man and Katy is blessed to have a wonderful father like you.Thank you so much for sharing.Hugs,Katey

  • kateykakes

    AD,That was absolutely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. You are a wonderful father who has such love in his heart for his baby girl.Thank you for making me laugh and cry – for they were tears of joy.You’re an amazing man and Katy is blessed to have a wonderful father like you.Thank you so much for sharing.Hugs,Katey

  • EmbracingKatrina

    Wow. Beautiful. Amazing. Thank yo for sharing that.

  • EmbracingKatrina

    Wow. Beautiful. Amazing. Thank yo for sharing that.

  • Mrs. Who

    I don’t know who is more blessed…KatyBeth or her parents.

  • Mrs. Who

    I don’t know who is more blessed…KatyBeth or her parents.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Sir you saved a strangers life today,God Bless You

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Sir you saved a strangers life today,God Bless You

  • Anonymous

    I love your blog, read it regularly. I had a 27 week preemie as well, and a 32 week preemie. What a beautiful piece you’ve written for your daughter. I, ah, did want to ask you a question about her length? You put down 19 inches, that’s a full-term baby in terms of height. With my 32 weeker who was 4lb. 8oz. she was 17 inches long. My 27 weeker who was 1 lb. 11 oz. was 13 inches long. I don’t want to question you, but 19 inches? Might want to check with the wife or birth certificate on that one. :)

  • Anonymous

    I love your blog, read it regularly. I had a 27 week preemie as well, and a 32 week preemie. What a beautiful piece you’ve written for your daughter. I, ah, did want to ask you a question about her length? You put down 19 inches, that’s a full-term baby in terms of height. With my 32 weeker who was 4lb. 8oz. she was 17 inches long. My 27 weeker who was 1 lb. 11 oz. was 13 inches long. I don’t want to question you, but 19 inches? Might want to check with the wife or birth certificate on that one. :)

  • Ambulance Driver

    Well Dang, Anonymous. You’re right!That should read a shade under 14 inches.That’s what happens when the ex gets custody of the baby book, I suppose.

  • Ambulance Driver

    read a shade under 14 inches.That’s what happens when the ex gets custody of the baby book, I suppose.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all right, I have trouble remembering the year my child was born. :) I keep getting asked by doctor’s and nurses and I always draw a blank. There’s always some number I forget when you have to repeat a medical history eleven billion times.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all right, I have trouble remembering the year my child was born. :) I keep getting asked by doctor’s and nurses and I always draw a blank. There’s always some number I forget when you have to repeat a medical history eleven billion times.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your daughter with the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing yourself and your daughter with the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Danielle

    Long time lurker, first time commenter. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful, personal gift. KatyBeth is one lucky little girl, and you are one hell of a father.

  • Danielle

    Long time lurker, first time commenter. Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful, personal gift. KatyBeth is one lucky little girl, and you are one hell of a father.

  • Ian

    thank you for the letter to your girl.It means so much to me at this time as we have just buried my 11 year old boy who had severe cerebal palsy. he contracted a virual infection in his lungs along with a bacterial infection and the doctores also thing he assperated some sick into his lungs as well. He fought long and hard to survive (6 days on max-output on a ventilator) but did not make it. Your letter says everything about my boy that you said about your special lady.again many thanks from the heart.Ian

  • Ian

    thank you for the letter to your girl.It means so much to me at this time as we have just buried my 11 year old boy who had severe cerebal palsy. he contracted a virual infection in his lungs along with a bacterial infection and the doctores also thing he assperated some sick into his lungs as well. He fought long and hard to survive (6 days on max-output on a ventilator) but did not make it. Your letter says everything about my boy that you said about your special lady.again many thanks from the heart.Ian

  • Jo

    Thank you so much for posting – another wet keyboard on the other side of the Atlantic.

  • Jo

    Thank you so much for posting – another wet keyboard on the other side of the Atlantic.

  • Matt M

    Hey, man: Best of.

  • Matt M

    Hey, man: Best of.

  • KK

    wow……….

  • KK

    wow……….

  • Linda

    A beautiful post, thanks for sharing with us. KatyBeth is just the cutiest thing. She is so lucky she has you for a father. I just adore the picture of her in her camo!

  • Linda

    A beautiful post, thanks for sharing with us. KatyBeth is just the cutiest thing. She is so lucky she has you for a father. I just adore the picture of her in her camo!

  • grandmamargie

    You sound like an awesome daddy. And Katybug is a little gem. Thanks for sharing.

  • grandmamargie

    You sound like an awesome daddy. And Katybug is a little gem. Thanks for sharing.

  • Alisa

    This was such a wonderful thing to share with us. Thanks for giving me as a parent inspiration to keep doing the best job I can and leaving a legacy for my children to help them at the difficult times in their lives.

  • Alisa

    This was such a wonderful thing to share with us. Thanks for giving me as a parent inspiration to keep doing the best job I can and leaving a legacy for my children to help them at the difficult times in their lives.

  • Matt M

    Everyone should click on “A Day Well Spent,” as it is a great counterpoint to this story.

  • Matt M

    Everyone should click on “A Day Well Spent,” as it is a great counterpoint to this story.

  • Anonymous

    I cried.

  • Anonymous

    I cried.

  • The little tech that does…

    Another great one, AD! Quite a journey you have chronicled there, and the best part is there is still more to come.

  • The little tech that does…

    Another great one, AD! Quite a journey you have chronicled there, and the best part is there is still more to come.

  • Anonymous

    I have to admit this was not the best post to read when a person is 30 weeks pregnant with a little girl. Excuse me while I wipe the snot of my keyboard. My son was born at 37 weeks and had to spend 5 days in the NICU, and I have to admit it was probably some of the worst days of my life. (this was 3 years ago) I’ll never forget watching an episode of Ellen in the hospital after a really bad night and seeing a picture of a little girl who had decided she wanted to be spiderman for halloween and drew horizontal lines down her entire face with permanent red marker. She was so proud of herself and had the most hilarious expression on her little face. I belly laughed for the first time in a long time, and suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be ok. After reading your post, I now have that feeling again. Thank you!!Melissa

  • Anonymous

    I have to admit this was not the best post to read when a person is 30 weeks pregnant with a little girl. Excuse me while I wipe the snot of my keyboard. My son was born at 37 weeks and had to spend 5 days in the NICU, and I have to admit it was probably some of the worst days of my life. (this was 3 years ago) I’ll never forget watching an episode of Ellen in the hospital after a really bad night and seeing a picture of a little girl who had decided she wanted to be spiderman for halloween and drew horizontal lines down her entire face with permanent red marker. She was so proud of herself and had the most hilarious expression on her little face. I belly laughed for the first time in a long time, and suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be ok. After reading your post, I now have that feeling again. Thank you!!Melissa

  • AlisonH

    What an exquisite post. Thank you. Beautiful.I do believe, too, that there are things KatyBeth will be able to accomplish in this life BECAUSE of her physical imperfections that she wouldn’t be able to otherwise. She will see more clearly and be more wise than the kids who grow up having it normal and easy.

  • AlisonH

    What an exquisite post. Thank you. Beautiful.I do believe, too, that there are things KatyBeth will be able to accomplish in this life BECAUSE of her physical imperfections that she wouldn’t be able to otherwise. She will see more clearly and be more wise than the kids who grow up having it normal and easy.

  • Jay G

    AD,This post is one of your very best. I started reading it a couple of times, getting about 1/3 of the way through. Finally cleared some time and read it all.Impressive, my friend; simply impressive.While it is certainly not on the same level as the difficulties KatyBeth has faced, my son had trouble gaining weight the first month of his life. It had to do with elective surgery on my wife’s part as younger woman combined with a crazed insistence on feeding “naturally” (I blame the “Nursin’ Nazis” of La Leche League…)In a nutshell, the first month of his life my son *LOST* over a pound. He was born weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces; he left the hospital weighing 6 lbs., 7 ounces; at the end of the first month he weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces.We tried *EVERYTHING* to get him to nurse. All the tips, all the hints, all were in vain. If I never hear the verb “latch” again I’ll be a happy man. We scoured the parenting magazines, books, and websites for ideas on how to get our baby to eat.For a long while, I fed him with a tube taped to my pinkie (it’s the most like breast feeding we were told; I suspect it was just to make me do something silly). Naturally, a month of starving took its toll on my son – which, naturally, took a toll on my wife and I. He was always hungry, which meant he was always crying. Always. Colic doesn’t even come close – it would have been a welcome distraction.It meant he never slept for more than an hour or two before waking up with hunger pangs. He, like KatyBeth, would sleep best laid out on Daddy’s chest – I suspect it’s the warmth of the area combined with the rhythym of the heartbeat. I loved those moments more than anything else on this earth, when my son was close to me, happy, no longer crying, and asleep.Finally, after a month of this I said “ENOUGH”. Went to the store, bought formula and a couple of bottles, and started bottle-feeding him formula. The change was nearly instantaneous – he fell asleep after the first bottle, and slept contentedly for nearly 3 hours.It was pure unadulterated bliss.Of course, we then had to deal with the manner in which his body processed the new nutritional material…(think Three Mile Island, only concentrated…)Anyhoo, thanks so much for sharing this. She’s a very lucky girl to have you as her dad and you already know how blessed you are to have her in your life.And one last point: I’d like to proffer a “mysteriously disappearing boyfriend exchange program” – KatyBeth’s heartbreaking boyfriends can disappear in the woods of N. MA; BabyGirl G’s can disappear to the bayou.Heh.

  • Jay G

    AD,This post is one of your very best. I started reading it a couple of times, getting about 1/3 of the way through. Finally cleared some time and read it all.Impressive, my friend; simply impressive.While it is certainly not on the same level as the difficulties KatyBeth has faced, my son had trouble gaining weight the first month of his life. It had to do with elective surgery on my wife’s part as younger woman combined with a crazed insistence on feeding “naturally” (I blame the “Nursin’ Nazis” of La Leche League…)In a nutshell, the first month of his life my son *LOST* over a pound. He was born weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces; he left the hospital weighing 6 lbs., 7 ounces; at the end of the first month he weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces.We tried *EVERYTHING* to get him to nurse. All the tips, all the hints, all were in vain. If I never hear the verb “latch” again I’ll be a happy man. We scoured the parenting magazines, books, and websites for ideas on how to get our baby to eat.For a long while, I fed him with a tube taped to my pinkie (it’s the most like breast feeding we were told; I suspect it was just to make me do something silly). Naturally, a month of starving took its toll on my son – which, naturally, took a toll on my wife and I. He was always hungry, which meant he was always crying. Always. Colic doesn’t even come close – it would have been a welcome distraction.It meant he never slept for more than an hour or two before waking up with hunger pangs. He, like KatyBeth, would sleep best laid out on Daddy’s chest – I suspect it’s the warmth of the area combined with the rhythym of the heartbeat. I loved those moments more than anything else on this earth, when my son was close to me, happy, no longer crying, and asleep.Finally, after a month of this I said “ENOUGH”. Went to the store, bought formula and a couple of bottles, and started bottle-feeding him formula. The change was nearly instantaneous – he fell asleep after the first bottle, and slept contentedly for nearly 3 hours.It was pure unadulterated bliss.Of course, we then had to deal with the manner in which his body processed the new nutritional material…(think Three Mile Island, only concentrated…)Anyhoo, thanks so much for sharing this. She’s a very lucky girl to have you as her dad and you already know how blessed you are to have her in your life.And one last point: I’d like to proffer a “mysteriously disappearing boyfriend exchange program” – KatyBeth’s heartbreaking boyfriends can disappear in the woods of N. MA; BabyGirl G’s can disappear to the bayou.Heh.

  • Bernice

    I am speechless. You are one hell of an amazing man with one hell of an amazing daughter.

  • Bernice

    I am speechless. You are one hell of an amazing man with one hell of an amazing daughter.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    I don’t really have anything better to say than:Thank you.

  • Ambulance Mommy

    I don’t really have anything better to say than:Thank you.

  • Kellie

    Does that come with tissues please? Thank you for sharing a wonderfully heartfelt letter to your beautiful daughter. I truly needed to read it this week. Our 25 wkr (now almost 4) has had more complications with his health related to his CP (spastic diplegia) and it has been a hard week. He’s been asking questions about his AFOs, why we have to thicken his drinks, and why he still has a “button”. It doesn’t get easier….just different but God bless their determination to always get that next skill and to “do it their self”.

  • Kellie

    Does that come with tissues please? Thank you for sharing a wonderfully heartfelt letter to your beautiful daughter. I truly needed to read it this week. Our 25 wkr (now almost 4) has had more complications with his health related to his CP (spastic diplegia) and it has been a hard week. He’s been asking questions about his AFOs, why we have to thicken his drinks, and why he still has a “button”. It doesn’t get easier….just different but God bless their determination to always get that next skill and to “do it their self”.

  • jenny

    Wow. And wow again. I just found your blog through a blog of a blog of a blog recommendation. Thanks for sharing this- what a treasure.

  • jenny

    Wow. And wow again. I just found your blog through a blog of a blog of a blog recommendation. Thanks for sharing this- what a treasure.

  • academicsuicide

    Read the blog cannot sleep my spastic diplegia causes joint pain keeping me awake. I am 19 now and though I would comment. Seriously it’s too late for me I am far to cynicaldue to the CP amd peoples attitudes to it. But keep on keeping on as they say keep pushing, You may feel a shit at times for it but keep her challenged, my old man did it for me and it made me. Tell her she can do what ever she dreams of. It will be hard and possibly upsetting and she will probably get angry at her body limiting her at some point but keep her keeping on man.I am sorry if this sounds harsh but it is hard work both for you and for her but with a fathers support CP does not and will not limit us.Oh and tell the Lil Lady good luck in whatever she dreams of from a British Spastic Diplegic who walks with a cane like house.by blog is http://deathbyacademia.blogspot.com If you want to contact me please do so, I am glad Katybeth has someone like you as she will never feel worthless with support like that.

  • academicsuicide

    Read the blog cannot sleep my spastic diplegia causes joint pain keeping me awake. I am 19 now and though I would comment. Seriously it’s too late for me I am far to cynicaldue to the CP amd peoples attitudes to it. But keep on keeping on as they say keep pushing, You may feel a shit at times for it but keep her challenged, my old man did it for me and it made me. Tell her she can do what ever she dreams of. It will be hard and possibly upsetting and she will probably get angry at her body limiting her at some point but keep her keeping on man.I am sorry if this sounds harsh but it is hard work both for you and for her but with a fathers support CP does not and will not limit us.Oh and tell the Lil Lady good luck in whatever she dreams of from a British Spastic Diplegic who walks with a cane like house.by blog is http://deathbyacademia.blogspot.com If you want to contact me please do so, I am glad Katybeth has someone like you as she will never feel worthless with support like that.

  • George

    I would be very remiss if I didn’t thank you for this wonderful letter to your daughter. The bond of love between you is stronger than anything we could imagine.KatyBeth is lucky and so are you. But then, you both know that.Regards.

  • George

    I would be very remiss if I didn’t thank you for this wonderful letter to your daughter. The bond of love between you is stronger than anything we could imagine.KatyBeth is lucky and so are you. But then, you both know that.Regards.

  • Niki

    As the mother of a former 26 weeker…thank you! One of the most beautiful things I have read in a long, long time.

    Amazing.

  • Niki

    As the mother of a former 26 weeker…thank you! One of the most beautiful things I have read in a long, long time. Amazing.

  • The Keeper Of Odd Knowledge (K

    amazing. Not much makes me cry or even gets to me like that. I can't stop reading your stories though. really excellent.

  • The Keeper Of Odd Knowledge (KOOK)

    amazing. Not much makes me cry or even gets to me like that. I can't stop reading your stories though. really excellent.

  • Crystal

    Absolutely beautiful and amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  • Crystal

    Absolutely beautiful and amazing. Thank you for sharing!

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