18 March 2014



She was blue when she was born.

Stef never knew until I mentioned it, years later; she was, understandably, otherwise engaged at the moment. But I saw my daughter emerge from the birth canal, and she was blue, with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

You hear the old cliche about your heart skipping a beat; well, mine did. But i watched, fascinated, as the nurse-midwife immediately went into action. She clamped the cord in two places, got a scissor, and neatly clipped the cord and started clearing the baby’s mouth and nose, even as the feet slipped free and our daughter was in the world.

Her color returned right away, and she let out a healthy cry. And just like that I was a father for the second time in my life, and we welcomes Eleanor Frances Whelan--Ella, for short--into the world.

This is her, just after she was born:

And of course, I couldn’t not mess with that last image:




That caption was a bit prophetic, as it turns out: Ella's a tough little booger and fights with her brother a lot. I mean a lot. I sometimes think I should set up a ring and bleacher seats in the living room and charge admission. But there are other times when they are reading together or sitting next to each other and they are clearly a loving brother and sister.

I was going to write more about Ella--about how funny she can be, about her tendency for melodrama, about how she loves to sing and dance, about how she loves He-Man and Jackie Chan Adventures, about how she also loves the Disney Tinker Bell movies. She contains multitudes. It’s too much to write about. I can’t capture the sheer force of her personality in just a few words. So here she is in images:

Seriously, how can you not adore that face? So: That’s my girl. She and her brother and their mom are the best things in my life and that smile (which is totally my mom’s smile) can brighten the worst day and make me feel better. And I hope that never, ever changes. I never knew I needed the light from that smile until I felt its warmth in my heart.

Daddy loves you, Ella. You and your brother. Always.

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