20 July 2007


"Where's Na-Na"? Little A's head tipped sweetly to the side, her hands stretched out in front of her, palms up.

"She's at her Daddy's". And, as soon as I said it, I knew what was coming next. She's developing an immense vocabulary of late, primarily from mimicking every word that she hears.

"Daddy"? A question still, her head tipped, her hands out, reaching for an answer that I cannot give her.

I stopped putting my files in my briefcase and looked down at her; those blue, blue eyes taking in and questioning everything that I do nowadays, how small she looked, peering up at me, the wood floor beneath her feet, her pink toenails. All of it, a snapshot; a snapshot of things to come that I'm not prepared for.

Again, "Daddy"?

I knelt down to her.

"You don't know that word, baby". I kissed her forehead and stood back up. It was 6:02 and I didn't have time to breakdown. I had to forge ahead, applying the salve of "Things That Must Be Done" over the gaping wound inside of me.

"Daddy. Daddy. Daddy" Again and again as she looked under the couch cushion, then meandered back to her toy chest and opened it, "Daddy"?

God. Damn. It.

What could I show her? What could I tell her? This word, so new to her, now an even greater curiosity because I had nothing to give to her or point at to demonstrate what she was saying.

She walked back to the kitchen where I stood, clutching the island, staring at the vase that my mother's mother had given her, trying not to think about family and legacy and the things that we keep, but thinking about it nonetheless, and she looked up at me, a purple plastic toy in her hand, "Daddy"?

"No, baby. That's not Daddy".

Just then my husky Simba came alongside her and licked her cheek, "Oh God. Oh God. Bimba. Oh God," her laughter escaping her as she tipped her head back.

Yes, Little A. Oh God.

Oh Dear God


jen said...

oh honey. oh friend. ouch. she is so lucky to have you to navigate this with.

ps. you have a briefcase?! that's kinda hot.

T with Honey said...

And I think it is hard trying to explain to Princess who that man in the pictures of mommy as a baby is and that she will never get to meet her Grandpa.

I do not envy you and the tough conversations ahead with Little A, but your love with help both of you get through it.

Maggie said...

It's not going to be easy, especially when you have hurt feelings of your own still, probably. I think age appropriate and honest is always the way to go. So for now, telling her she doesn't know that word and that her purple toy isn't daddy is dead on. Good job, mom.

I just had a talk with Slugger the other night about an incident with his birth parents. It was incredibly hard but he amazed me with what he can handle. Little A will handle it well. It's her reality. She may not have a daddy, but she's got an awesome big sister, a loving mom, and a great extended family. She's a blessed little girl, daddy or not.

InTheFastLane said...

You can do it. Although it doesn't come up often, I talk to my 12 year old about her "birth father" who she has never known. I am sure the questions will get harder soon.

Christine said...

It hurt to read that.

(btw, I am blogrolling you)

flutter said...

Um, or way hot on the briefcase front.

But you have given her the world..when the time comes an explanation will appear.

slouching mom said...

I remember being just as confused as she is now.

It will pass, promise. She'll get it. And if my experience is any indication, she won't find it painful until adolescence (when everything is painful anyway; there's that!).

Christine said...

this is rough, huh?


i'm with jen-she has such a good mom in you and you'll get her through it as the years pass. i we'll get you through it.

Her Grace said...

Gah. I'm sorry. Little A is getting big.

Do you have a picture of him that you could show her? Then when she hears Daddy, she knows that word applies to him? Or does that seem like too much information right now?

She says Oh, God? Hilarious.

Hang in there, sister, you're doing right by her and that's all that matters.

Jenn said...

Yes, Grace, she says, "Oh God".

No idea where she could have gotten that from.

The picture? Really? Do you think that's a good idea? Because that would be all that she'd ever have of him.

Not that I have one, hidden away somewhere. Not that at all.

Her Grace said...

I have no idea if that's a good idea or not :). It's just a thought.

Go with your gut, it seems to be working for you so far. They're gorgeous girls with full, happy lives.

JMA said...

We think the little baby stage is hard, with its exhaustion and unrelenting pace. It just gets more complex as they age, doesn't it?

Positive thoughts coming your way.

Major Bedhead said...

That was tough to read. I am not envying you that conversation down the road.

I have a POS dad and sometimes I feel that life would have been easier if he had just left rather than doing this back and forth dance that he has done for the last 28 years. I finally feel at a place that I can just not let it get to me, but I am 40 years old and my father left when I was 13.

Orangeblossoms said...

Deep cleansing breath.... you'll know what to say when she's really ready to receive it.

I think you did really well today.

Hard stuff is, well, hard.

I agree about the briefcase. Very Hot.

Angela said...

It is hard to put some things into words that littl ones will understand.
Thinking of you

Ally said...

Shedding a few tears for you right now. And sending you some big, squishy (on account of my chubby belly) hugs.

bjover said...

When she gets older she will understand why Daddys not around. :-)

Jonas said...

This is a very poignant post, Jenn.

Amanda said...

F*ck. F*ck, f*ck, f*ck.
Jenn. Damn. If I knew where you lived I'd be there yesterday, baseball cap and tissues. You are a strong woman. Breathe. You'll get through this. Both of you.
You alone is so very much more than a lot of children ever have. You alone, dear friend, is pretty incredible.

KC said...

Well-timed dog. I have a feeling though that this path will be crossed with grace and love.

Becc said...

You know I read daily and love your posts Babe. I just have no words for this one. I will say a prayer for you instead.

I love you!

bgirl said...

i too have that salve of "things that must be done".....

this is tough. there is no easy way to think about it. you have my support. and a bit of my envy since my little dude's daddy sucks. (whoops did i type that?)