Firsts, every single one I remember in perfect detail. Each one astonishing that bring me pride upon remembrance, and tears as well. I didn’t know I could fall in love again, but Noah proved me wrong, again and again.
Her brown eyes like her mother stare up at me as I pretend to bite her toes. She kicks her feet away when suddenly a burst of laughter comes from her. Her tiny belly shakes up and down. I nibble on her little toes as she laughs again, tears of happiness come streaming down her face to mix with her brown hair. Cynthia comes running down the stairs. “Did she just laugh?” she asks in a huff. I smile at her and nod. Once more I nimble at Noah’s little toes. She chuckles again. Cynthia comes beside me and does the same. Two grown adults kissing a babies feet all so we could her that cute laughter. It melts hearts. I am sure of it then that they could end the Vietnam war just by her laughter. Of course, it would take more than that.
I come home, she’s already crawling, she leaves a wake of destruction everywhere she goes. I follow the path that leads me to her. I pick her up and spin her around. A stink flows to my nostrils, something unbecoming but familiar. I take her the long walk upstairs to the changing table. She twists around as I try to remove the diaper from her, but soon her plans are foiled as I get it off. A small success. Cynthia joins me, sweaty from the exercise bike. “When did you get it?” She asks kissing me on the neck. “About a minute ago. Whoa, have you been on the bike forever?” I ask knowing full well. “Yeah, trying to get some time in before dinner.” I turn to Noah on the changing table. “Mommy is stinky huh, yes she is, she’s stinky like you.” Noah giggles then mutters; “Momss.” The air out of our lungs is stolen. “Did she?” I ask Cynthia needing confirmation. She nods with her hand over her mouth.
Those first few steps were tricky ones. I wanted to give her advice on how to walk, but couldn’t remember learning in the first place. She walks better when she’s walking to her Mother. I’m not jealous, she’s momma’s little girl. She falls down with a matter of fact style, like she knew she was going to fall and it was ok. A brave little girl. Jasper and Olive come over for Saturday lunch as we sit there on the lawn having Noah walk back and forth between us. She sees her Nana Olive and makes a slight adjustment in her walk and tries to reach her. Olive with a surprising youth catches Noah right before she falls. “So she’s walking.” Olive says giving kisses to Noah’s cheeks. “Good luck stopping her now.” She says. Oh boy, she was right. Everything moved a bit higher in the house after her new found ability.
The first night she slept the full night, we didn’t get any sleep. We sat there expecting her cry at any moment. We make the door our bed as Cynthia leans against my shoulder. “We’ve made something special.” She whispers to me. I kiss her on the forehead. “We did.” I say. I stay up the rest of the night as Cynthia sleeps on my lap. Morning comes and Noah wakes up, a slight cry and Cynthia wakes ups. With some effort, she helps me to my feet. “Did you get any sleep?” She asks me. Drowsy I shake my head no. With a pat on the back, she sends me off to get some. I’m asleep for about an hour when there’s a poke on my nose, then my lips. I open my eyes and see a little brown head girl duck out of view. “Oh, who’s there?” I lean over and she has her hands over her eyes trying to hide herself. “I guess it was… Nothing!” I pick her up and lift her up onto the couch with me. I rest my head onto the pillow and feel tired again. I feel a slight peck on my cheek and she gives her best whisper. “Night daddy.” First time I ever slept that well.
She sings her ABC’s as we walk down to the beach. I was tired from the excessive hours I put in, but I wasn’t going to miss the beach day for anything. Noah tells us how sand is just little rocks, and rocks can be very tiny. I listen to every tidbit of information like it was the first time I heard it. We get to the beach and I lay down. Cynthia and Noah run into the water then away from the waves. I watch them, admiring every second, questioning if I could ever love something as much as them. They come running back. “Daddy, I found something!” She says excited with her fist closed. “What is it?” I ask. She opens her hand to reveal a tiny seashell. “Oh wow!” I say. “If you bring me five of those you get a treat.” Her eyes go wide and she runs off. “What’s the treat?” Cynthia asks me as she lies down beside me. “Only if you bring me five seashells.” She kisses my head. “We’ll see.” Cynthia says. Moments pass and Noah comes back with her hands clasped together. “Alright, let’s see, how many do you got there?” She puts them on the sand in front of me very carefully. “One, two, tree, four, five.”She says pointing at each one. I stand up and pick her up. “Alright, here we go ready!” She points her hands to the sky. “Blast off!” She shouts. I throw her into the air and catch her. “Again, again!” she demands. I sit back down. “I need another five sea shells. ” I say frankly. She runs off to collect more.
With pockets filled with seashells, I carry Noah back home. Olive comes by as dusk quits and night takes over. Noah is asleep on the couch still in her bathing suit. “Thanks again.” Cynthia whispers to Olive as she hands her Noah’s overnight bag. Jasper walks in to see what’s taking so long, he assesses the situation quickly and doesn’t make a peep. I hand Noah’s sleeping form to him. We exchange nods and they leave to their car. We watch as the old Buicks taillights disappear. As if ravaged by built-up passion, Cynthia’s tongue is in my mouth before I had a full grasp of her legs. We knock our way upstairs, like twister we leave behind a debris field. You never want to catch yourself in the path of parents with alone time.