34 BC to 1 AD

This past week has unquestionably been the longest of my life.  I'm sure being awake for the majority of the week contributes to that; and Monday, Sept 2nd seems like forever ago. I didn't sleep because I was too excited to stare at the best gift ever, and would gladly forgo sleep to spend some quality skin-to-skin time by letting her sleep on my chest while I massaged her tiny little back, kissed her forehead and sang ridiculous, made up and off-key songs. This time has been a milestone and transition of epic proportions.  Which is why the post is titled "34 BC to 1 AD": 34 years Before Child to starting year 1 As as a Daddy.  And what better way to officially start the transition than Daddy's first dance with his Baby Girl.  We danced to Band of Horses' "No One's Going to Love You (More Than I Do)".  I won't lie, I definitely cried some here; especially after remembering my Dad's dance with my little Sister only a few weeks ago at her wedding.
Daddy's first dance with his Baby Girl

Dancing with my Baby. Contrary to what this picture shows, I'm the one wrapped around her little finger...

I've gone through periods of "certainties" in my life, such as: I was certain after standing on the summit of my first snow-capped, mountaintop peak that it was a window into Heaven;  I was certain I would marry my beautiful wife shortly after meeting her; and now - I'm certain that I was born to be a Daddy (and likely get poop on me when changing my first few dirty diapers). My Mom is one of the most patient women I've ever known.  If you asked her a year ago, she'd tell you that she wasn't sure if I'd ever have kids.  I had been content to live out my life with Amelia without ever having a baby.  A lot of people make that decision, and for us, we were ok if that's the life we were intended to live.  After having a near death experience with an incorrectly administered dose of adrenaline, Amelia and I thought that if something were to happen to either of us, we would want a part of the other to live on.  We wanted to see if a baby could be part of our future. That was easily the best decision we have ever made.  I remember thinking on the ambulance ride into the ER that this was God's way of telling me to never take life for granted - I guess He was also telling me, "Your Mother is one of the kindest, most patient and loving people I've ever created.  She's waited long enough - now give her some grand babies!".
Our angel lounging in a little cloud

Our angel kicking back. All that's missing is a warm one - milk, that is!

Momma and I learned that Violetta has a "Ryan" sense of humor by having Momma go into labor on Labor Day.  If I could've picked any day of the year, that day would've probably been number one on my list just because of the funny, appropriate irony.  I also discovered that Momma has been living a double life as a Super Hero - after seeing what 39 weeks of pregnancy and labor entails, there is no doubt in my mind that the woman I married truly has super human powers.  She could race down a speeding bullet, stop a powerful locomotive or leap tall buildings in a single bound, and it would not surprise me in the least. And now I've gone and ruined her secret identity as a mild-mannered socially diplomatic, Apparel Product Manager for Nike's Global Women's Training department.
No ordinary mom, but Super Mom!

No ordinary mom, but Super Mom!  Camille, Amelia's Mother, would be so proud of the Momma Amelia has become.

I had read about the "miracle of childbirth" as we got closer to our Labor Day labor, but I couldn't comprehend the magnitude of it until witnessing it first hand.  It would be similar to explaining the most beautiful sunset to someone who has never seen one: how do you convey the colors, the warmth of the sun's rays, and the feelings you have knowing you are part of something greater than you can ever imagine.  Creating a child is without a doubt the greatest gift God has ever given any of us, and I will be eternally grateful for our little Present from Him.
IMG_0970

Thank you God for our little angel!

At the hospital, we took the purple elevators to the fourth floor delivery rooms; a beautiful, purple-laced sunset was the backdrop to Violetta's arrival - I felt these were God's ways of letting us know that everything was going to be ok, to trust him, and to bear witness to His most amazing miracle.
The sunset outside the window right before Violetta arrived

The sunset outside the window right before Violetta arrived - I took this very quickly in between pushes.  I wasn't going to miss witnessing God's greatest miracles.

  Labor Day also marked an epiphany for me.  I've often written that I have zero experience taking care of a child.  However, as soon as I held her for the first time and accepted my promotion to Daddy, I realized that I knew exactly what to do to raise her: love her unconditionally.  As long as that is a cornerstone for the Father-Daughter relationship I build with her, I know that everything will work out.
Unconditionally love my Daughter?  Easiest job in the world!

Unconditionally love my Daughter? Easily the best job in the world!

Being a Daddy for a week has already taught me a few things.
  • I now know where the expression "Don't cry over spilt (breast) milk" really comes from.  A Daddy much like myself, accidentally spilled pumped breast milk that Momma worked very hard to make - after which Daddy cried out "Aaahhh!!!  I'm so sorry!" You see, after crying out you wake the baby and now you have two people upset with you.  And that is why you don't cry over spilt (breast) milk.
  • In some ways, I feel like I'm in college again.  Going to bed after you've seen the sun rise.  Showers have taken on a "well... maybe I'll just take one tomorrow" level of importance.  Throw-up on my shirt?  Just turn it inside out and voilà, clean shirt!
  • Babies are magicians.  Like I've often said, this is my first time actually being around a newborn.  I had no idea that they could escape in Houdini-fashion out of swaddle-bound wrappings.  And their diapers are literally a magician's magic hat.  I have no idea where that came from and how it all fit inside there.
  • Not so surprising is how much Violetta likes to tip back the bottle; what is surprising is that often she will drink herself into a drunken, milk-induced stupor.  And yes, it's one of the cutest things ever.
    The crime: Public Intoxication.  The time: 2-3 hours deep sleep.

    The crime: Public Intoxication.
    The time: 2-3 hours deep sleep (hopefully).

  • Nothing smells better than a baby's breath.  I used to think Baby's Breath that goes into floral arrangements was a silly marketing ploy; now, I realize it's marketing brilliance - who could pass up Baby's Breath after knowing what baby's breath smells like.
One of Daddy's favorite things to do: smell baby Violetta's breath!

One of Daddy's favorite things to do: smell baby V's breath.  And it tickles when she latches on to suckle my nose!

  • Like there are two sides to every story, I've quickly learned there are two sides to parenthood: the "staged" version and reality.  Ionically, the below two pictures were actually not staged at all:
Peaceful serentiy

Peaceful serentiy...

And hilarious reality!

And hilarious reality!

My beautiful wife has given me a family and shown me the true meaning of life: reclining back with your smiling baby on your chest.
Happy Violetta and Momma!

Happy and smiling Violetta and Momma!  One of my favorite pictures I've ever seen.

Little Violetta, your Momma and Daddy love you so, so, so much!
Our new best friend, Violetta Camille

Our new best friend, Violetta Camille

10 thoughts on “34 BC to 1 AD

  1. What a beautiful love story! It reminds me of the births of my two daughters a long time ago. Nothing beats family!

  2. It is a beautiful story, I am teary eyed reading it. Amelia will be a wonderful mother, her mother was one also, I loved her dearly and still think a lot of her, especially now, reading about her daughter becoming a mother. She is looking down on you, smiling at her daughter and grand daughter.

  3. What a wonderful story Todd! Your journey has just begun. There is so much ahead to share with Amelia and V! Enjoy every moment. They go so quickly.

  4. Wow, what a story. I love it. You say everything so well. I can see that you are so proud, so happy and so in love with your family. May God bless all of you and continue to pour His Love into each of you everyday.
    Congratulations.
    Love, Judy and Dan Hoynes.

  5. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes! Todd you have really captured that immediate joy you feel at becoming a parent. I imagine that Violetta is the first person you fell in love with instantly…amazing thing, huh? Now I think you should also consider being a writer as a profession.

  6. Yes I believe It was wonderful for us, each one . we love your expressions of this wonderful road you are traveling and sharing with us love you Gram and papa

  7. Dear Todd and Amelia: How beautiful! Baby, Momma and Daddy! And what a nice pic of your Mom, Todd, holding that little bundle. I’m so happy you kids decided to join the flow! Are you aware I am great grandma 9 times as of April? It is sure a thrill! Thanks for giving Your Grandma and Grandpa Ryan the opportunity to final feel the love of it all. And will be so wonderful when Doug and Becka’s little one joins too! Thanks for sharing! Love, Great Aunt Ruth

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