Hi all, this is Eric Franklin Gregory, husband to Catherine and papa to Peeper. This weekend was my first Father’s Day and this is my first blog post. Here goes…
One of my favorite moments of the day is bringing Peeper into our bedroom where Catherine is catching a few extra sleeps. Catherine rolls over and smiles and says hello and good morning, and Peeper smiles, breathes out through her nose over and over and lunges out of my arms toward her mom. It’s the same display of joy every time she sees her mom.
The other day I was watching Catherine and Peeper interact so naturally in a supportive, mutually enriching, wordless relationship. A typical day for my wife (her mother helps out a ton, but when she is not around, this is what Catherine does): Feeds, clothes, changes diapers, cleans up after, watches Peeper take the DVDs out of the box for countless hours, makes sure she doesn’t eat something bad, does laundry, dishes, feeds and walks the dog, might go shopping, rocks and nurses Peeper to sleep for two naps and night bedtime every day.
I work most days and have grad school two to three times a week so cannot be home as much as I would like. Catherine runs the home show and finds a way to always greet me with a smile when I come home. She reads Peeper books all day, sings songs when she is upset or getting sleepy, gives her alternatives to biting that are more suggestion that command. She is a wonderful model of kindness, compassion, patience, and cleverness. She is clever with a tune, clever with the lunch and dinner menus. She meets cries with a song or gentle breath of air onto Peeper’s face.
When I change diapers, half the time its a wrestling match and the other half its a game of chase the naked butt and get it wiped before she sits on her poo covered bottom and spreads the goods all over the floor. Somehow Catherine accomplishes this feat over and over each day without the assistance of a magic wand or mechanical inventions.
One particular day had been a long one. Naps were hard to come by and the day wasn’t providing Catherine with the time she needed to write and work. I came home for a few minutes before having to leave again for school and after venting about my day, asked how Catherine was doing. With a sigh I could see the day hadn’t been easy. Right then our little bug came crawling over and grabbed her mom’s legs with a squeal. Catherine swooped her up, held Edie sideways across both arms and rolled her up the her face so she could blow raspberries on her and then laugh together. Edie loves it! I love to watch her feet twist and turn as she is flipped in her mom’s arms.
I love her feet! Peeper’s that is. They are usually sockless because Peeper knows her feet need to breathe, just like her dad’s. We parents forget that the feet also are constantly moving to their own random beats. To Peeper they are part of set of appendages that can create all sorts of action depending on how they are thrown about.
When Peeper is nursing, her feet, like her hands, can go from motionless to flying at any moment. Sometimes she will grab them while she eats, or just rest one on her mom’s arm. Her feet seem so small, even for an eleven-month-old, and this makes them even more adorable to her old dad. I prefer the jammies without footies so I can peek at the monitor and see her bare feet dancing as she falls to sleep or stuck out of the crib as she is stirring in the early morning. It makes me smile to think that I am the father of these feet.
The point is, without Peeper and Catherine I wouldn’t get to participate in this day for fathers. Without our daughter, we wouldn’t have had the most incredible array of joys and struggles that we have shared over the last year. Most importantly, we may never have known how much love we were capable of having for another person.
I loved Catherine before we had Peeper, I love her more now because of how she loves our daughter. I see in her eyes what I feel all over every time I look at Peeper. We share that love and we have Peeper to thank for showing us how to grow. This experience is what is so incredible about fatherhood so far and it is certainly worthy of remembering around this same time every year.