I noticed on Resolve’s Facebook page an article “How To Tell a Story That Doesn’t Make Sense” about memories we will one day share with our children about our journey to bring them into our world.
Then it asks the question: Will they understand?
It made me think of the note Elliana wrote me a few years ago that she left on my desk on a piece of lined paper printed in turquoise colored ink:
Thank you daddy for never giving up on me.
Those words are a constant source of inspiration to write about infertility and parenthood after infertility from the daddy or aspiring daddy perspective.
Elliana is very aware of how she came into the world, especially since her daddy wrote a book about the entire experience.
Although she rolls her eyes when I introduce her at infertility events as our formerly frozen embryo, she always gives me a little smile that lets me know she’s okay with it.
I’m not sure why we decided to be so open with Elliana about our path to get her, but then again, we’ve been open about our infertility ever since we started attending support groups all those years ago.
At the Walk Of Hope just this past Saturday, I found myself telling the story about how stoked I was about finding out I had a sperm count of 1 million—until Lisa shared with me that was not a good thing.
In fact, I brought up my low count as part of my Emcee bio introduction about myself. I never even thought twice about NOT talking about it. It’s not a character flaw to have a low count. It’s just the reality of my reproductive system.
I remember the first time Elliana said “Thank you for not giving up on me Daddy”.
I was lamenting another re-write of a chapter with the literary agent I was working with, and Elliana had been asking Lisa a lot of questions about the book that was keeping me locked up in the computer room so many nights.
After a few weeks of percolation, I got the first thank you on the way to school one morning.
I was so surprised by the words that I choked up and couldn’t say anything back.
That is one of those moments that made it worth every single day it took to get Elliana into the world.
Besides hearing the words “I do” from Lisa when we got married, hearing our formerly frozen embryo say those words completed me.
And I thought I was already “complete” after Elliana was born.
But once thing I’ve learned in the last 10 ½ years is that I’m in a perpetual state of being “Almost A Father”.
I don’t have the primal connection Lisa has to Elliana, where I can feel things before Elliana says them, know something is wrong even though I’m not with her, or just orbit around her the way Lisa does.
I have to work at it.
I’m okay with that. Given everything Lisa went through, and all the boneheaded things I did to make it harder during our infertility, I’m more than happy to be in a constant state of evolution as a dad.
My transformation from whiny baby boy to partner with Lisa to get Elliana helped me to value the need to change and adapt in life.
I think women do it more easily than men. Lisa always seems to intuitively know when it’s time to move on, whereas I can stay ingrained in the same routine for years, even if that routine is no longer productive, or even becoming destructive.
But that’s a topic for another post.
Every time Elliana thanks me for not giving up on her, which she still does out of the blue, usually when I least expect it but most need it, I know I am doing my dad job right.