All In One Day

As I sit here in the quiet of this hospital room, my wife asleep on the bed next to me, and my daughter four floors below me, I'm still trying to assimilate what has happened in the past 24 hours. I can't remember anything like this. Nothing in the world itself changed but I can't help but know it'll never be the same. And now, despite that I'm totally exhausted, I know I can't let this day slip away without trying to put into words what I feel. Kaelyn is one of the most beautiful things my eyes has ever seen. I know that statement might sound a little off, but I have to be honest: I've seen some pretty amazing things with these eyes. To me, the most beautiful thing I've ever laid eyes on is Kaelyn's mother. Not to put the two of them in competition with one another, but Kelly will always be first to me. You see, Kaelyn didn't choose me to be her father, but Kel chose me to be her husband; I wouldn't be the man that I am today without her. That's why, when we were doing the great big name search, the name just seemed perfect. I couldn't very well name her Kelly Lynn Jr., but our little girl will now always know the high regard that I hold her in. Kelly's sleeping now, but she's still so beautiful.

This little girl is amazing, though. She's so frail, but I had to participate in the obligatory new father custom of putting my finger in her hand. And she gripped it tightly. Like I said, I've seen some beautiful things, but that might be the most precious feeling I've ever experienced. I know, years from now, Kaelyn won't remember that she took hold of my finger but I'll take it to the grave. In that one touch of her hand, I knew that I was ready to be dad. She's my daughter, and I love her so much.

Last night, Kelly was only able to spend five minutes with her. She woke up this morning determined to feel better so she could get downstairs to spend some time with out baby. Kelly's been a trooper the past two weeks, with all the magnesium and such that they put her on, but she always blazed on. Today was her toughest day yet; but she fought through it and this afternoon I wheeled her down to the elevators, to the ninth floor to spend quality time with the little girl.

After a few moments of staring at her, Kelly asked the attending nurse for what she truly wanted: to hold Kaelyn for the first time. Gingerly the nurse wrapped up our child and handed her to Kelly. As I stood behind her, I looked down and saw my wife holding our child. And I was breathless.

And I celebrated the moment by taking this picture. Yeah, kinda cheesy, but it was a Kodak moment that I would never have again. Another moment in my life that I will never forget. Again . . . no words.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a parent, to experience things that I've never dealt with. I'm not fooling myself that it'll be a cake walk. There will be dirty diapers, bruised knees, temper tantrums, rebellious teenage years, but just for today I'm basking in the glow of being a new dad.

Thank You, God, for life.