Well I'm tired, and I'm drifting away
Sail away, I wish my mind would stay . . .
I wasn't there when AB The Baby was born. As with everything else in her life, she was early, and I was gone. Paula called me about 10:30 in the morning to let me know that she was feeling funny and thinking about going to the doctor. I thought to myself, "The kid's coming today."
I forgot to thank you for the gift you gave
Lord, it's been so long since I had the chance to say
Well she's just what I wanted and now I need to pray
God give me the strength to find my way again
About noon that day I was in a drive-thru when Paula called me to tell me she was feeling a lot better and thinking about blowing off the doctor's appointment. I told her I was glad she was better, but she should probably still go, just to get checked out. After I hung up, I said, "The kid's coming today."
The duet sings my heart to sleep
She sings melody and you, the harmony
My tired eyes begin to see the light
You and I must never be apart
Somewhere in southwestern Minnesota, just as I was about to run out of cell-phone range, I got one more call from a very familiar number. "I'm sorry, honey," she said. "Tonight's the night." And Paula had to go through it alone. And I would not be there. I would not be the first to hold my child (we didn't find out whether we were having a boy or a girl).
Crimony, I wouldn't even be there to find out the kid's name, since we passed that task off to H.
Sometimes I don't know what keeps me hanging on
Why does the pain make the love I feel grow stronger?
All I know: Your love will be there.
I know I ate dinner at my aunt and uncle's farm that night, and I know that Mom and I drove an hour to her house, not knowing if the baby had been born, or if everything was okay, or really much of anything.
When we got to Mom's there were no messages. I called the hospital and asked them to put me through to Paula's room, and let the phone ring.
I got a hold of Paula's best friend, who told me that I had a daughter. A beautiful daughter, as she put it, and her name was Alyson Beth. But ever since I first laid eyes on her, she's been AB The Baby to me.
I didn't see her until she was more than a day old. To this day my mom apologizes because she thinks she's the reason I missed AB's birth. Yes, it would have been neat to be there. But you've got nothing to apologize for, Mom. As you can see, we've had no trouble bonding.
Happy Father's Day to everyone. If you didn't have a good dad--or even a bad one--I'm sorry. If you've lost your dad, so have I, and I know--today hurts. If you've been trying to be a dad, but it hasn't happened for you yet, I've been there too.
Parenting is hard. It takes your time, your energy, your priorities, your money, and at times it seems like it will take absolutely everything you have and ask for more.
It is so worth it.
(Lyrics from "I'm Tired" by my friend Bill's band Honeyfarm)