a series on the pursuit of happiness
Ella was meant to be my love. She’s changed everything in my life. So here begins her story.
I often remember it as a surreal, out of body experience. I’m seeing everything from the doorway, and it’s me standing there, under the numbing buzz of fluorescent lights, nothing registering in the background except for the bed, all the tubes and the blinking, beeping machinery. It’s just the two of us.
I was there immediately after surgery, standing at her bedside, my heart shattered into a million pieces, devastated by what she’d already endured. It was Ella, and she was barely two days old. Not yet been given the chance to indulge in her mother’s embrace, so quickly separated and sent with others before even the first hello.
We were worlds away from anything considered home, and I was feeling so helpless, overwhelmed by the piercing, burning guilt. I knew then I’d suffer an eternity for her to experience a world without torment. But, I also knew those hopes were in vain, that regardless of the burden I chose to bear, this was her introduction to life, and my foray into fatherhood.
Three days passed by, and we all pushed forth. Like the miracle she’s proven to be, Ella looked more beautiful than anything I’d seen. She’d done the greatest job recovering, free from the tubing, breathing on her own, and sometimes even screaming out loud. We were finally able to hold her for a few minutes, and kiss her, and tell her how much we loved her. Our precious, little dumpling.
Another five weeks of intensive care, recovering and growing, and being able to take the smallest amounts of milk, we were blessed enough to leave the hospital, and take her home. This was the next step in our journey together and fortunately, by that point, our makeshift life in Birmingham had become somewhat endearing. I found myself slipping and calling it home, forgetting how fleeting it actually was, at the same time realizing these seemingly out of place memories would eventually form the essence of our new life.
It’d be strange to say without context, but Birmingham is never far from my thoughts, the whimsical nature of it all stubbornly lingering in the background. It has, and will forever define our life together, as the most remarkable, most frustrating, most emotional journey.
Little did I know that what we started with Ella those years ago, was really the prelude to an ongoing pursuit of happiness, a story we’d go on to tell, with intertwining chapters for years to come.
P.S. This is the first of three. Please go on to read Verse 2, and share with others as we continue learning more about one another, one story at a time.