Saturday, June 05, 2010

Goodnight Noises Everywhere


Tomorrow morning, Inara goes back to New York -- but tonight there was this:

After watching some TV on the couch together, followed by a little collaboration on a coloring book that features cartoons of dogs (whenever Inara wants to do this, she gets the book, looks up and announces, "Draw puppy?") and a couple of bites of what she excitedly called a "yummy salad," I finally decided to put my daughter down for the night.

I picked Inara up, carried her into her room and set her gently in bed -- along with a cup of milk, her blanket and stuffed bunny -- then laid down next to her on the floor. I listened to her fidget for a few minutes, then from out of the darkness came a tiny voice.

"Daddy?"

"Yes, baby."

Nothing. She didn't respond at all, just went back to sucking on her sippy cup.

A few moments later, there was the voice again, even quieter this time.

"Daddy?"

"Yes, honey. I'm here."

Even though she couldn't see it, I gave her a warm and reassuring smile -- one fueled by pure contentment.

Again a little later: "Daddy?"

"Yes, Inara. I'm still here. I'll always be here."

After a while, the voice grew smaller and smaller -- its entreaties further and further apart. But each time she called out for me, I answered, until she stopped altogether and the only sound left in the room was her steady breathing.

This is the best Saturday night I've had in years.

25 comments:

Goggles Paesano said...

Bastard! I hate it when you make me cry at night. I hope documenting this makes the good feeling last longer.

Janean said...

You know all the times before that you've had to take her back I've felt sorry for you. I foolishly thought I could understand how horrible it must feel to have to go back home without her until next time. Now that I have a daughter of my own I lie here listening to her breathing and realize just how stupid it is to think any sympathetic comment I might make is any help at all. My heart breaks just trying to imagine myself in your place. My heart goes out to you, and I apologize for ever thinking I could even imagine how hard this is for you. I can't help but hope that somehow things get better-at least in some small way.

Lisa K. said...

Aww, c'mon, Chez! That just made me all teary!

I'm so glad you have had this chance to spend so much time with her. It's priceless, my friend.

Rivalen said...

beautiful.

Anonymous said...

That's what it's ALL about. They are perfection.

Alanna said...

beautiful. I do hope, that one day soon, you are both in the same city for good so this doesn't just happen once every 2 months. You're an amazing dad!

C said...

Now live you life as if every moment with your loved ones was like it. I won't pretend that it will be easy, but being a Dad is my full time occupation too (along with some other stuff I get paid "money" for.)

Anonymous said...

Aw Chez, that made me sad. And not just because you're putting your kid to bed with milk (that's a no-no - sugars in milk break down in her mouth and will give her cavities, look up bottle mouth and switch to water) but because I can't imagine how awful it is for both you and her mother to have to go without her for such long periods of time.

Chez said...

While I appreciate the sentiment very much, you do realize that there's an entire genre of commentary related to the obnoxiousness of people who feel like they're entitled to critique your parenting without being asked, right?

d-rap said...

Heartbreakingly sweet.

Anonymous said...

There was no intention to critique your parenting. I didn't question you sleeping in the same room or giving your child a drink for bed or your choice of activity when playing with her (etc.) at all. Those are your parenting choices and even if I had disagreed (which I don't) I wouldn't have said a word. Parent police are just assholes who think every child is just like their own and any modicum of success that they've achieved isn't down to luck but their own genius.

I know of two children who spent their kindergarten year with silver teeth and their parents were disheartened because no one had told them before their teeth had been ruined. Thought you may be unaware.

I'll admit that while re-reading my comment it comes across more condescending than intended. For that I apologize. I was actually trying not sound like an asshole. Tone is a tricky thing in print for those of us that don't do it professionally.

Chez said...

Not a problem. The point is well-taken.

SteveR said...

Very sweet. Your responses were exactly what she needed to hear. You're a wise and loving father.

Ref said...

Sorry, I've been away.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Markham said...

Yeah. Nice.

Anonymous said...

So sad she won't be able to see you for the next 2 months...

L said...

In tears.
Going to go kiss my girl goodnight, even though she's a "big girl" now at the ripe old age of six.

Although, we watched Neverending Story tonight (much darker than I remember), and she was still so sad about the horse dying at bedtime, she needed me in there with her for the first time in a long time. While I felt bad for potentially giving her nightmares, it warmed my heart that she still needs her mama.

Inara is a lucky girl, and you are a luckier man for having her in your life. But I think you already know that.

Anonymous said...

Now that's great writing....expand on this and turn it into a book. There needs to be more books from the male perspective on this subject.

Liz in Austin said...

At six years old, I lost my father in a divorce. I lost him again to prostate cancer when I was 14. As a 40-something woman, this resonates with me more than you can know.

"I'll always be here." Thanks, Chez, I needed that.

Heather said...

Excuse me, I've got something in my eye.... *sniff*

subhuman said...

Lovely, and I agree with anonymous above, feels kinda like an excerpt - write a new book already! (please :))

kristin said...

come on Chez, you've got me sniffling at work, that's not fair. You're a good daddy. Just telling her "I'm here" is enough when she's a baby and even when she's 8 1/2. Oh, and you promised to bring her over so we could see her - don't think I forgot about that.

Deacon Blue said...

@ Chez: Very sweet

@ Anonymous: Even with breastfeeding and co-sleeping, which have many positive aspects for children, you get the same problem. My daughter has four stainless steel crowns because of that, but overall she's the healthier for it and those teeth aren't permanent anyway. Not a slam on you...just another perspective on how more natural forms of feeding also come back to have repercussions on teeth.

superEdna said...

Since I'm mega pregga, my hormones just hijacked my entire nervous system and I am bawling like a baby.

Thank you for sharing a beautiful moment.

blackbird said...

I'd say "I'm here" is perfect for one at 2...12...22...42...
You get the idea.
Sweet story, Chez.