Looking at her

Trying to capture part of my experience of fatherhood –

– the moment she came into the world? It felt discontinuous, like the world was torn down and then rebuilt containing something new. The arrival of Willa as independent being, breathing and looking – it seemed to break causality. A person, where there had been no person.

The light was shining on her. It actually was, the lamps in the delivery suite were arranged to drop a circle of light around newborn Willa, but I suspect that my brain would have made it seem that way regardless. There was information coming off her in waves, more than I could take in. Like if those lamps had been shining in my eyes – only they weren’t, they were bouncing off my daughter first, then flooding me. I couldn’t see her. There was too much information.

I still can’t, seven weeks on. Other people comment on resemblances but I can’t see them. When I look at her, my brain goes into overdrive. I get more data than I can process. Everything.

I know it won’t last – the chemical rush, the neural repatterning, the imprinting, the magic will all subside. But, I suspect, will never entirely disappear. So call that the first thing I learned as a parent: parenthood is a new way of seeing. Literally.

5 thoughts on “Looking at her”

  1. Not convinced the magic does subside, just changes, sometimes get tarnished with frustration, but still shiny-good if you give it a rub!

    I can remember life before kids, but it feels like someone else’s life. My centre shifted when James was born, and again for Tom.. we orbit around each other… can’t imagine what that pathwould look like in geometric terms… eccentric indeed, but that’s how it feels.

  2. Dude!!! Hey when I was there you told me you would not be one of those parents who would always talk about their children. No you did! But man it’s good to hear the shift. Your girl is awesome. You as dad will be great and cal as a mother she will be off the charts. That little lady has the best start in life. You look for that light whenever she test you whenever she test your “seeing”. Just remember what it was remember basking in that light.

  3. Hee hee, thanks dude. I can see it now:

    “How dare you take such liberties! Go to your room young lady!”
    “Dad – look into the light. Look. Into. The. Light.”
    “Awwwww. Ice cream!”

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