There was instant love.
In our high school history together, I had come to learn that my child’s father loved many things.
He loved the latest kicks that were out. It was no question that he loved being adorned in the “flyest” outfit. He loved analyzing the witty metaphors and punchlines buried in rap music but this love… this was a whole ‘nother kind of love. (as the country folks like myself say)
It was an unseen love.
It was a love that I didn’t even know he was capable of possessing.
It was a love that I had never seen him display… a genuine love.
In this moment, my child’s father was an open book. He wore his emotions on his sleeve allowing all in the hospital room, family and friends, to witness his adoration for our first born child. He didn’t say a word. Truth is, he didn’t have to. His eyes told a story all on their own. He held baby Santana ever so gently as if one wrong move would break him. He gazed at baby Santana intensely, barely blinking.
They gave way to his inner most thoughts. It’s as if you could hear them saying, “Did I, little ol’ me, create something so wonderful? Is this little person REALLY mine? Does he really share my DNA?”
“I love you boy,” my child’s father whispered. I continued to watch the two bond. He coddled baby Santana in between kisses and one-sided conversations. He rambled to baby Santana about how great he would be when he grew up.
“Aye, y’all can hold him but don’t be kissing him on the face and stuff,” joked Santana’s dad with all of our family and friend visitors who were begging to get their time with baby Santana. With pleading eyes, visitors finally convinced Santana’s dad to “let someone else get a turn”.
Look at this here Meisha. All that stressing during the pregnancy…All that worrying about the possibility of being a single mom…All of those tears you shed because you felt alone…Just look. See! He just needed to see his son. Childbirth just helped make a lightbulb go off in his brain that he’s REALLY a dad. Momma, there really is a happily ever after, after all. Your friends love Santana. Your family loves Santana. His family loves Santana. HE loves Santana. It’s going to be alright. Only up from here…
As day turned to night, visitation hours drew close to an end. Doctors began instructing our loved ones to clear out of the room. They went on to explain that I could only have one other person with me. Before I could make a decision, Santana’s dad eagerly volunteered to stay with me. Members of my family were hesitant to leave us alone, especially my mother. It’s as if she had a sixth sense kick – telling her that I needed her. I intentionally chose not to look at her directly in her pleading eyes. Santana’s dad deserved the opportunity to at least try to be a good dad and helping hand. I let him stay.
As a result of having a C-section, I was in dire need of help. Under doctor’s orders, I had no choice but to be bed-rested and spend some days in the hospital. After birth C-section pain was horrible. It was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt in my life. The pain in my abdomen felt as if someone was stabbing me with a knife. To even try to sit up my hospital bed forced me to tears (and I’m one tough cookie). I dared not try to stand up straight as it felt like my stomach was ripping to shreds. I feared that my incision would completely open up.
There was just no way virtually possible that I could feed baby Santana, change his diaper, or even get up to rock him. I could only whisper to him as he lay in the hospital’s open crib beside my bed.
Santana’s dad and I found ourselves conversing as the night grew deeper. We joked about being hot parents with swag. (Yes, conversations were extremely premature. Can you blame us? We were both STILL teenagers). He continued to adore baby Santana in between diaper changes and bottle feeds. But he kept looking at that phone…
“Hey. What’s going on? Get off your phone boy.”
“It ain’t nothing. It’s just some of the boys telling me congratulations and sh*t.”
“Oh. Tell them I said hey. They can come visit tomorrow if they want to.”
“Yeah they will… but aye look. Don’t be mad at me. I’m about to go somewhere real quick. I won’t be gone that long I promise. I just need to check on something.”
What?! Are you kidding me right now? He knows I can’t possibly get up to pick up baby Santana if he starts crying. I physically can’t. Please tell me this is a joke.
“Okay. Just please come back soon. I need you. I can’t get up”
I don’t know what it was. Maybe I was too shocked to really digest what he was telling me. Maybe I was mad at myself for letting him stay the night with me. Maybe I was just trying not to overreact and rock the boat. Whatever it is, I laid there. I didn’t put up a fight.
I watched as he kissed Tana, kissed me on the forehead, walked out of the room, and vanished into the night.
The night is still young Meisha. He’s going to come right back. Just chill. He’s been here all day. Whatever you do, don’t run your big mouth to your mom. You know she is never going to forgive him for this. Never speak of him leaving.
An hour passed.
Two hours passed.
Confined to a bed, the only thing I could do was think.
And think some more.
My thoughts started racing. I wanted my mom
Out of nowhere, baby Santana started to bellow out in a cry.
Oh my gosh. What was I going to do… alone?