Show me that smile again…

It’s one of my clearest memories.  I’m three years old and I’m on gurney at Children’s Hospital downtown — there are no photographs of this moment, so I know the memory is all mine — so I’m three years old, and the gurney has bars like a crib, to keep me from wiggling out.  The doctors and nurses are all in scrubs, and they’re moving pretty fast.  My Dad is there – he’s moving just as fast – faster maybe, because in my memory it’s almost like he’s floating next to me, smiling his big infectious Larry smile, he’s young – not much older than I am now – so he’s still kinda skinny with his sticky-out-y ears and wild curly hair.  I know I’m on my way into head surgery, but I’m not afraid at all, Dad is smiling and it’s kind of fun feeling the gurney go over those rubber bumps in the floor at this speed.   And then, we’re there –  I don’t remember anything else.  Just my Dad smiling at me as there’s a quick shuffle and the elevator doors are closing with him on the other side of them.

He recently confessed that as soon as they shut he broke down in tears.

Parenthood changes everything.  It’s as if your children are a piece of your soul walking around outside of your body.  Like the good version of horcruxes for the Harry Potter fans.  But they are part of you, I now understand, in a way that doesn’t end even when they start breaking off their souls into wonderful little horcruxes of their own.

My postpartum depression, and ensuing recovery, have been really hard on my Dad.

My heart aches when I look at Delilah and think of the tiny newborn she no longer is.  I can’t fathom what it is to look at a grown adult child and know you can never cradle them in your arms again and protect them from pain.  I know my Dad wishes he could.   I know it’s as hard for him to watch me learn my own life lessons and suffer my own struggles and failures.  But I’m growing up, Dad.  And I want you to know it’s okay. These growing pains feel like they might kill me some days, but they aren’t going to.  I’m OK.

Delilah will be two on Saturday.  At two years postpartum, I certainly count myself as a survivor as postpartum depression, but {at the risk of making myself appear unstable – which I assure you, I’m mostly not} I’d be doing a disservice to the illness if I didn’t admit that I’m not exactly back to my old self again either.

She calls my Dad Poppa.  She’s bossy, and noisy, and loves to dance.  I think seeing that tiny curly blonde child running around is both amazing for my parents, and possibly a difficult reminder of the not so tiny not so blonde anymore child, and the demons she has to fight on her own.  But like the three year old who had to have a portion of her skull removed before it leaked fatal infection into her brain, I’m a trooper, remember Pop?  A few nasty thoughts aren’t going to keep me down.

Feed Me Seymour