It's not what I have[.] It's what I have to give. A blog about resources--gaining, giving, and sharing.

14 February 2011

Belonging

12:29 PM Posted by steve flores No comments

I’m impressed with Dassah’s growing vocabulary.  She surprises me really.  Not every word is pronounced well, while others are over-pronounced – WAH-TER.  She’s in, what I call, the parrot phase.  Everything we say she says and then there are words I’ve never said, yet somehow she knows.  At times, I have her repeat words in order to understand what she is requesting or informing me.  I’m sure we frustrate each other, but I finally repeat back what she said and she nods in approval.  This is definitely a fun phase.  I remember telling Natalie when Dassah was just a few months old, “I wonder what her voice is going to sound like.”  I don’t have to wonder anymore. 

We have a routine.  When she gets out of bed, I walk her over to her grandparent’s pictures on the wall and say, “Dassah, who’s that?”  She’ll respond, “Nana, Papa, Ampah (her version of grandpa), and Ita (her version of abuelita),” the names of all four grandparents.  Then, we walk down the hall of our home and hanging on the wall are pictures Nat and I took when Dassah was in Nat’s belly—they are those cheesy saloon pics.  Dassah will say, “Mama!  Papi!” and then she’ll wait for my question, “Who’s in mommy’s belly?”  Emphatically and excitedly, she responds, “DASSAH!”  I love that routine and will miss it I’m sure.

Last night, Dassah’s words, stilled my heart and brought me back to the moment when I first held her after she was born.  I remember that moment like it was yesterday; holding her for the first time, made me want to cry.  I’m surprised I didn’t.  But I remember feeling connected in a way I’ve never felt before.  Responsibility, love unending and overwhelming, a sense of purpose and destiny all wrapped up in one embrace as I whispered to her, “I’m going to love you forever.”  I was overcome with those feelings again, like a tsunami, last night.

In Dassah’s bedroom, on her wall, hang her initials (pictured to the left).  You’ll also see her very first painting (that was a messy, but fun experience).   As I’m lying my head next to Dassah in bed telling her how much I loved her today, Natalie said, “Hey Babe, check this out.”  Natalie pointed to the “F” on the wall and said, “Dassah, what’s that?  Is that an ‘F’?  That’s your last name.  Can you say Flores?” 

Dassah raised her head up from her pillow, looked at Nat, and then looked at me and said, “Flores”.  I was taken aback.  I’ve never heard her say her last name.  My heart sunk and I couldn’t say a word.  I couldn’t have been more proud, humbled, and in awe of that truth.  Her words froze me.  I had no thought, no concept of time, no complete understanding why I felt as I did, but I knew I was a part of something special.  Natalie knew something magical and wonderful happened in me.  When we left the room, she helped describe what I was feeling, because like I said, I was speechless. 

She simply told me, “Babe, it’s because she just told you she was yours.” 

I witnessed as Dassah acknowledged to whom she belongs.  Ultimately, I know she’s God’s, but for this brief life, she’s been given to me.  I’m her Papi.  She’s my daughter.  Her words acknowledged that truth.  I don’t know how God feels when we decide to acknowledge that He’s our father, but if it’s anything like I felt last night, I’m sure it leaves Him speechless too.

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