Year 01 | Week 03

Dear Kaylee,

I got angry with you for the first time this week. Angry, and frustrated, and, saddest of all, disappointed. It had been a long day and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be dealing with a shrieking, inconsolable newborn. The next morning, I would weep, recalling how I’d felt toward you before I set you down safely in the Playyard and walked away. But on Monday night, when nothing would soothe you except for a damned pacifier, I was angry that all you did when you were with me was cry. I was frustrated that you had broken down your mother with your attitude and that she had given in and let you have the pacifier. And I was disappointed that you needed it, at all. Couldn’t you be more self-sufficient? Hadn’t you learned by now where your thumb was, if you really need something to suck on?

It was ridiculous, the way I was feeling. But even knowing that it was ridiculous—and I did know, even then, even if it was only deep down inside—didn’t keep me from feeling that way. So I did what I’d been told to do when you were frustrated with your baby: I put you down in a safe place, took over cooking dinner, and asked your mother to tend to you.

I think it’s important that you know that things weren’t always easy in these first weeks. I guess part of me would like to think that you’ll come back to these letters when you’re ready to start a family of your own, and that, when your own baby is screaming her head off, you’ll take comfort in the fact that you aren’t the only one who’s ever dealt with this, that your mom and dad once dealt with it, too.

The rest of the third week of your life was far more pleasant. You had a nice enough week with your mom and we received visits from your Aunt Anisa and from your Grammy Julee over the weekend. On Saturday morning, your mom and I took you and your aunt out for your first stroll along the New Hampshire Heritage Trail in nearby Bedford. I snapped plenty of pictures with our digital camera, which had been on the fritz all week but was treating me nicely again. And I blabbered on about the novel I was working on for most of the walk. And, generally, we had ourselves a good time.

By the end of the day, you were absolutely pooped.

On Sunday, we had your Grammy Julee and her boyfriend Mike over. Actually, it seems a slight to Mike to call him simply a “boyfriend”, especially with the way he held you, the way he looked at you as if you were his own flesh and blood, a true sense of grandfatherly love in his eye. He’s really an honorary grandfather, I think, just as your Grampa Steve’s wife Lesley is an honorary grandmother. Or maybe the word honorary isn’t necessary, at all. Maybe it’s okay to have more than four grandparents. The more, the merrier, right?

Anyway, that was a nice enough visit, as well. You spent most of it asleep on your grandmother’s chest and you spent the rest of it on your absolute best behavior. I think you were still tired from Saturday’s walk, but that’s just my opinion.

It’s hard for me to admit that things got as rough as they did late in this week. I’d like to believe, and I guess I’d like everyone else to believe, that things are always rosy in the Clark home. But the truth is that life have never been tougher for your mother and me. You’ve been the one constant source of light on an otherwise stormy horizon, and when your outlook grows cloudy, especially for prolonged periods of time, it makes the days that much harder to get through. I guess what I’m coming to realize is that you’re allowed your share of bad days, too. And that when your bad days happen to coincide with mine, it’s my job to suck it up, set my own personal baggage aside, and be your dad.

Love, Dad