Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Daddy Named Jar

This is my hubby, Jar. Aside from oddball talents like juggling, tap dancing and balancing furniture on his chin, Jar is pretty much a regular guy. He likes the Mets, CafĂ© Bustelo, nerdy sci-fi TV shows and reading three newspapers a day from cover to cover. Unlike me, Jar happens to be a Republican—despite the fact that he’s a minority AND a non-profit employee in New York City, which sounds like the textbook profile of a liberal.

Jar is a big “routine” person and can be frustratingly set in his ways. Yet he also has a whimsical side, which means he’s not afraid to belt out show tunes at a piano bar, dress in costume for the occasional Ren Fair, or shake his booty on the dance floor at a wedding. For these reasons and many others, he’s often referred to as a “character.” It is also for these reasons that I love him.

What I love MOST about Jar, though, is that his heart is much more pure than mine. While I’m not exactly a shrew, I can definitely be moody, critical and tortured at times—the hallmarks of a perpetual soul searcher. Jar is even keel and sees the best in people. He knows what he likes and knows what he wants, and he’s not going to apologize for it. I’m pretty sure this attitude comes from his upbringing, which was far from easy. But Jar (being Jar) would never complain about it.

I always knew that Jar would be an incredible father, but he’s surpassed my expectations to a humbling degree. Gilly brings out the little kid in him, and the sheer delight in his eyes when he’s with her is probably the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen. Feedings, diapers, laundry? Jar is on it, often with a lot more patience than me. Oh, and he can make Gilly smile more easily than anyone else, which in turn makes me smile. So yeah…I’m pretty lucky to have these two.

A Girl Named Gilly

Meet Gilly. With furrowed brow and fisticuff hands, it’s plain to see that she’s no shrinking violet. I know this is going to sound strange, but when Gilly was first placed on my chest at her delivery, all matted and covered with blood, I took one look at her and thought, “Well, aren’t you a little broad?”

Instead of the bow-lips-and-button-nose look of many baby girls, she had these fierce little flared nostrils and the loudest cry in the nursery. She was breathtakingly beautiful, but not nearly as vulnerable as I'd expected her to be. She was already her own little person.

A month or so after Gilly was born, we received a note from the wife of my husband’s boss, a New York sophisticate. Someone at the office had sent her Gilly’s picture, and this was her reaction: “This child faces the world with a direct and assessing gaze that you really want to be on the right end of. Or, should you fail her test, at least you know she is too young to blab your failures around town.” That’s our Gilly. Yet she's also quite sweet and shy and decidedly girly...a well-rounded little lady, to be sure.

Shortly before we were discharged from the hospital, I started peppering our nurse with rapid-fire, neurotic questions while my husband Jar made awkward jokes in Gilly's "voice." The nursed looked at our daughter with a sympathetic smile while shaking her head. "Oh, Miss Gilly," she said. "You're going to have fun with these two." I hope you will, too. This will be a simple place to record our adventures while helping me make sense of mommyhood. As a full-time working mom with a pretty full plate, I'm sure I won't post as often as I'd like to, but you know what? That's OK. The Internet is already saturated with mommy blogs, but maybe you’ll make room for one more.

*That’s Gilly with a hard “G,” like “Good.” And no, it’s not her real name.