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Life Notes: A Love Story
The timeless tale of a father and his daughters

My husband and I made a deal after we got married and decided to have kids. Id name the girls; hed name the boys. It seemed a brilliant answer to the name game. 

Along came a first daughter, and I promptly claimed naming rights. Along came a second daughter, and I named her too, this time feeling just a tad guilty. 

The third pregnancy seemed utterly different from the other two. I looked bigger, felt better and had that classic football vs. basketball swell to my abdomen. I know its a boy this time,” I told my husband long before technology had granted the answer to that great gender mystery. 

Vic never got to call a son Jonathan, the name hed held onto for years, because Jonathan turned out to beNancy. And somehow, that naming tale seems a metaphor for my husbands grace and generosity not just as a husband, but also as a father. 

The man I rescued from bachelorhood at 27 morphed into a daddy after just 18 months of marriage. It was my idea to start a family early, although I think my new husband could have waited to catch his breath from the flurry of new wife/new home/new life. 

But there she was, this tiny, red-faced little wonder who made us into a family. And there was my husband, stunned by it all but at the ready when I needed him. And boy, did I need him. 

Jill terrified me. I was sure Id drop her during her first bath, so her dad did the honors. I was frantic when she screamed, and I couldnt figure out why. Once again, her father stepped up to the plate and somehow calmed not just a colicky infant, but a crazed new mom as well. 

No matter that he had to go out each day and slay the dragons as a newly-minted lawyer. When Jill, then Amy, then Nancy needed something – and the somethings” kept on coming – Vic was there, our taproot to sanity and security. 

In a household of four females, three of them adolescents together, I sometimes wondered how the man would survive the crying jags and shopping tempests and nervous boys who started to appear on the landscape. But he did. 

The older his daughters got, the more, it seemed, they needed their dad. I was too mean/unfair/crazy/awful/nasty, according to our daughters. So my husband would serve as wise mediator.   

When they went off to college, their dad was the beast of burden who carried those impossibly-overstuffed trunks up  dormitory stairways, and who saw to it that they knew every  safety rule. He was also the man who could barely speak for weeks after each of his daughters left us, so bereft was he. 

Do you miss them?” people would ask, and hed shrug and fumble for a reasonable answer. But I knew that some part of this man was off on a faraway college campus with his girls – until they insisted that he refer to them as women” during the height of the feminist movement. And he did. 

Then there were three brides to escort not down an aisle, but down a garden path as all of our daughters chose to be married at home. 

Never mind that it meant that their father was commander-in-chief of tenting and porta-potty selection. 

No matter that he didnt sleep for months worrying about the weather on what turned out to be three blessedly rain-free June days, two of which happened to coincide with Fathers Day. 

There are photographs that capture the look of mingled delight, astonishment, pride and, yes, sadness on a fathers face on each of those wedding days. They are images of a man who knew that something monumental was ending before he was quite ready. 

But at the appointed moment, my husbandlet go of each daughters hand, managed a smileand watched a far younger man complete that long, long walk. 

Today, my husband bears a new title with all its rights, privileges and delights. He is a grandfather of seven, and among them are four fierce boys. While not one is called Jonathan, nothing can diminish the joy of this glorious chapter. 

I watch him now with grateful heart as he gives to this next generation what he used to give to their mothers. Hes even better at it this time around. 

These grandkids dont know just how lucky they are. 

June 2019
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