I wanted to post about this last night but I decided to stay off my computer and give my baby’s daddy 100% of my attention.
Yes, I waited until the last moment to pull a gift together. No, I wasn’t able to make it to the store and buy the finger paints and frames to make a card with Lil’ J for her daddy. It was going to be a hand print on one side, and a picture of her making the hand print on the other side of a double frame. An idea given to my by Mary.
I had to work from 4:30 (yes A.M.) until 2:30pm, but when I got home his gift was finally ready. I woke up an hour earlier (yes, around 3am) to get to work on it. I
stole borrowed his phone for a few hours the day before and emailed myself a dozen photos and videos I had never seen that he had taken of Lil’ J during his time as an at-home dad. I complied those, along with about a hundred hand selected photos from my thousands, to add to a video montage.
I don’t only anchor the news, I also have been trained to shoot, write, and edit video. I planned to use my editing skills to mix all of the photos together and time it to music, but a friend at work saved me week of work by telling me about animoto (I totally recommend it by the way!), which essentially does the hard part for you. Since I had so much footage I edited two songs together: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder and “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross, uploaded the pictures and video, and put them in order of when they were taken.
I got teary eyed looking at pictures of her being so small. If this doesn’t make him want another, I don’t know what will. I thought to myself as I put it together.
Most of the photos I chose weren’t ones I took with my DSLR all gussied up in photoshop. A good majority were iPhone photos either he or I took. Photos from the hospital, first bath, first meal, silly pictures he took with her standing in front of a mirror, or videos of her laughing and saying “dada.” I knew he’d love it.
Just before I went home from work I noticed the thieves had managed to spend $300 on my credit card minutes before I canceled it. I was livid all over again, and I took my anger out on him. But as I ranted on my way home I promised I’d put those emotions aside and celebrate his day. I thought seeing him watch the movie I made would cheer both of us up. That was an understatement.
I had watched it all the way through a few times, and imagined how he’d react when I showed it to him. We’ve been married six and a half years and I pretty much have his emotions down. I knew what parts would make him laugh, and when he’d give a really big grin. I worried a little that some of the pictured he’d sigh at and ask “why did you put that in there?” because he’s not a big photo guy, and probably didn’t know I snuck some of these pictures of him and our girl.
I thought at the end he’d give me a big smile and say “Thanks, that was really good” very sincerely, and lean over for big hug and kiss.
Lil’ J was down for a nap when I got home. I asked if he was ready to have his first gift and he said he was, so I played it for him.
Instead of watching him, I watched it with him for my 50th time. He laughed when I thought he’d laugh and told me he hadn’t seen a lot of these pictures. “She was so small” he said and “So that’s why you took my phone!” He was loving it, and I was so happy! But about half way through, out of the corner of my eye I saw him rubbing his eyes. I stopped the movie for a moment so we could both get it together, and eventually we made it though.
“I took a lot of those pictures,” he told me all choked up. I told him how much a fantastic dad he was, and seeing him now, and his reaction, made me realize this even more.
The gift was a hit! I knew he’d laugh but I didn’t think in a million years it would bring that emotion out of him. He didn’t cry on our wedding day, the day our daughter was born, or any other day that I’ve seen in our seven years of being together. But on his first father’s day, memories of his first year with our little girl brought him to tears.
I would share the movie with you, but part of the gift was the fact that it was just for him, so no sharing on my blog. Sorry. I think you’d be bored with it anyway, it’s kind of one of those “you had to be there” kind of things.
No idea how I’ll ever top this year’s gift but at least the first one was a success. And now he’s not running away from the camera when I ask to snap a picture of them two. He posed for this one without as much as a grumble and asked me to email it to him asap.
Not many dads get the experience my husband has had with our daughter. Not many babies get the one-on-one time with their dads every day that my daughter does every single day.
When I went back to work after maternity leave I was terrified to leave my daughter alone with him. Now, sometimes I trust him with her more than I trust myself. He is amazing. He teaches her new tricks, but is careful not to share them with me in a way that would make me sad for having missed it the first time, and she brightens up when he enters the room we’re in. I’m sad the rest of our children won’t get to experience what Lil’ J did her first year of life, but so glad that she was. They’ve made memories that he’ll never forget, and a unique bond that’ll keep them close forever. I love my hubby. And Lil’ J loves her Daddy.
|My dress by Shabby Apple, via Ebay; Lil’ J’s dress via Monkey and Friends; Bow via BebeRose|