I really hope that you all are enjoying this guest post series here in honor our new baby’s arrival to this world. Just in case you were wondering, Brielle LaRue was born on February 6th at 5:11am. She’s been such a beautiful, delightful dream for my entire family. JR has warmed up nicely to the idea of being a big brother and I’ve been enjoying this family moon of sorts since my husband has been home taking care of things as I recover and adjust. We weren’t sure what our baby’s gender would be so Brielle was such a pleasant surprise.
About two months ago Eli from Coach Daddy published a guest post by me where I shared my thoughts on how I would feel if I had a daughter. It feels surreal that I am now getting that opportunity. With that post in mind, I couldn’t pass up having Eli share about what it was like becoming a dad of two. I miss everyone so much. I hope to get around to visit all of you soon. Thank you for your support on these posts. Without further ado, here is Eli:
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My days as a one-kid dad are like ancient history.
Now, life includes three daughters – now 10, 14 and 17. They raise noise and raid the fridge. Our lives are a beautiful cacophony of laughs and scuffles and about 17,000 other events. It is familiar music and songs I can’t stand. It is shower singing and a few arguments and an occasional scream for help.
The transition from two-kid to three-kid family is easy.
The considerable jump was from one to two.
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The plan was always for more than one kid. We’d envisioned as many as four. I’d come home way past midnight from work. After editing sports in the city edition of the local paper, I’d find Elise waiting for me at home. She was wide-eyed, having exhausted her mom, with no immediate plans to sleep.
During her fussiest times – and those serene too – it was tough to imagine more than one. When Marie arrived, it suddenly became easy.
Marie was born on a clear, crisp November day. The sun shone bright, the air felt cool, and you needed a coat only in the shade. There was so much beauty in that day: the weather, the impending gift, a mother of my child braving natural childbirth a second time.
I needed all the beauty I could muster. Just three months before Marie was born, I sat at the foot of my dad’s hospital bed. I said goodbye to him as he conceded his battle with leukemia.
After moments of grief and relief he wouldn’t suffer any longer, my brother-in-law turned to me. “Now you can go take care of your family,” he said. He was right. I’d zipped from Charlotte – where my wife dealt with complications in pregnancy – to Duke Hospital in Durham, to be with dad.
I stopped at home in Greensboro only to shower and eat.
That November morning, I woke still weak from an illness of my own and heartbreak after dad died. I yearned for beauty. I found it in crystal skies, and a beautiful woman with intensifying contractions. I was supposed to cover a local football rivalry game between Greensboro and Guilford colleges that day.
Instead, I met a girl who would change my life forever.
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Before noon that day, Marie came into this world, battered and blue.
“Should I call in the team?” the nurse asked the doctor as she cradled a newborn blue as a Smurf. “No, she’ll be fine,” he said. With a calm I’ll never forget, he gave Marie oxygen, and we watched the blue and still baby give way to healthy pink and an ear-piercing cry.
She met parents who loved her. To know the arms of a mother who carried her through choppy waters, and a dad who needed to feel good in the world again. She inherited a sister who couldn’t wait to be a big sister, and wore the sentiment on her T-shirt.
It’s a major deal to become a dad of two, anyway. For me …
It meant one baby on the hip, another holding my hand.
It meant stark differences, and noticeable similarities. To her sister, and to her parents.
It meant a sisterhood that began with protectiveness and trust. Even now, through harsh words and rough soccer play, that protectiveness and trust endures. (I hope it will forever).
It meant hand-me-downs and some new clothes.
It meant cries different from her sisters – but which netted similar results.
It meant growth spurts and times of closeness. It meant alienation at times. It meant friends who endured and friends who faded. It meant daddy-daughter dates and time spent with two girls in tow.
It meant an emerging personality that was all her own – made of dresses and tiaras, progressed to scarves and soccer cleats. College T-shirts and mascara, too.
It meant an expansion of heart I never worried about. Even before her blue-skinned debut, I knew my heart held enough love for them both. Four years later, it expanded again for Grace. There’s plenty for everyone. A dad won’t always understand his girl – but he will always love and cherish her.
And it meant I had a constant reminder of the legacy she represented. Although my dad never held Marie in his arms, she is part of his legacy, just as I am, and my sister, and Elise. We don’t always notice it, but when we do, it’s remarkable. When I look back on it, being a two-kid dad feels like history, too.
Not ancient. It wasn’t that long ago.
But it changed me forever.
When he isn’t imploring Jesus to help his Rockies or pondering a career as an NFL quarterback, Eli Pacheco is father and soccer coach to three girls. He writes the blog Coach Daddy. Follow him on Google Plus, Pinterest and Twitter.