Friday, January 27, 2012

To my youngest and happiest

Dear Maddie,

Today you gave me one of the best days of my life. I spent most of it with you. According to science, you will probably never remember anything. You're too young. I just wish that maybe today will come to you in a dream. And I don't think remembering it or replaying will be good enough. I wish you could have felt today. If you can feel it in your dream, that will be cool.

You dream that we went to the pool. You were afraid to go down the alligator slide because you don't like getting water in your eyes. We bobbed together and did all the cool things dads do with their kids in pools. And then we came home. You had half of mom's peanut butter and jelly sandwich (she packed you a lunch) and a whole banana. One day you were trying to figure out how to say the word banana and you looked at me while you were figuring out like it was an algebra question. Then you cried because you didn't want to take a nap only to fall asleep within five minutes of laying down in your bed. You woke up and watched Nemo. And then we went to your Father Daughter Day. We both wore pink. You were supposed to play hot potato but you loved the music so much, you decided to dance instead. You made me dance with you. It's hard to dance to children's songs, especially when people are waiting to play hot potato. Your happiness is so infectious that you got everyone to stop playing hot potato and half the party danced. Hot potato be damned. You are only two but you got twenty or so people to dance because you like to dance. A lot of dads dancing and Maddie, let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. But it was beautiful to me. You created it all. Your happiness.

The thing is, Maddie, this will all end for me. In a couple of months, I'll have to stop getting treatments. It was my last good bullet and I really enjoyed my time. The side effects have caused me to have extreme pains in my hands and feet. The pain has traveled up to my knees and to my shoulders. My lower legs are lumpy and it's hard to walk. Every step hurts now and I'm running out of drugs to help it. Every day I have to wake up and relearn how to ignore the pain. This must be what it is like getting old. But it's been easier because of you. I swam and danced today. The pain was somewhere but it wasn't on that makeshift dance floor. It was still one of the best days of my life.

Don't lose your happiness for anyone. Nobody should ever take it away. I hope that includes me.

I'm sorry, Maddie. I wish I did something different to change what is happening to us right now. I will cheat you. It hurts really, really bad to think of that. I can't now. You're sleeping. I need it too. I'll see you in the morning. Maybe we can have a better day. I have a feeling the closer I get to ending my last magic bullet, the better my days will be. let's keep laugh. Stay happy. Always stay happy. That will be your gift to the world. Maybe it is my gift to you.


Your Dad