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Happy Birthday Sweet Sweet

Photo by: Jonella Culmer

When Ayren and i found out that she was pregnant with our first kid, Trey, we waited literally until he was born to know if he was going to be a little boy or girl. If he was a boy, everything was set. His name would be John Robert Cannady III and we would call him Trey. Now if it were a girl, we had a little more work to do. We had a few names picked out but ultimately, settled on something. Once Ayren was finished checking the doctor's phone messages who delivered our baby (while she was pushing him out.....true story that maybe I'll share at another time) crisis was was a boy. Boom....Trey it is. Once Ayren found out she was pregnant again, we immediately wanted to know what the sex of the baby was going to be. Ayren SAID she didn't care, but I really think that after the doctor showed us the image of Eliet in Ayren's belly and showed us that she was a girl....Ayren's whole demeanor changed! Plus, this probably also signaled that we were done having boy, one girl!

So now that we knew it was going to be a girl, I pretty much let Ayren take the reins on everything: how her room was going to look, what type of clothes she was going to wear, and......naming her. If you haven't noticed, Ayren's name the way its spelled with rather unique, but you say it like you would if you were just saying Aaron or Erin. I new that Ayren was going to pick a unique spelling of a 'regular' name. When she gave me a listing of names and 'Eliet' was on it...I knew that was the one. Ayren's pregnancy and labor came and went with Eliet and before you knew it, she was back home with us. A few of my guy friends were fathers that had daughters and to hear them tell it, it was a love story between them at first sight.....well, it wasn't exactly like that once Eliet was born between me and her...

A couple of things to know about Eliet: She's extremely smart, she's extremely dramatic, and as you can tell by the many pics of her that I post.....she's extremely cute. She uses all of these things to her advantage. She also has a personality similar of....ahem....yours truly. I know what you are probably thinking as you are (hopefully) reading this....'but John....she's only 3 how could you guys have already butted heads? You just wait until she's (fill in a difficult age group for girls here)'. You see, with my own father and sister as a template, I expected to have that tight bond right away and for her to be 'daddy's little sweet' RIGHT out the gate. It would hurt my feelings if Eliet would only stop crying once Ayren took her, or if she only gravitated to Ayren (or even other people) more than me. 'I am daddy! You should want to be around me, right?!?' was my thinking. Add that to the fact that Ayren is an editor for a kids event website where its her job to go around and look at all of the cool things around DC and take pics, I would be looking at Instagram like 'Mannnn.....I wish that were me!' With me being off at work during her really early years, I only got to see her when she would be winding down for the night. Eliet and I became a little cooler, but we still weren't like all of the other fathers that I've seen where their daughters worship the ground they walk on.

But then, something happened. I just stopped worrying about that fairy tale relationship I was looking for with her and just started to enjoy her whenever I got the chance. Eliet has like five or six nicknames from me....Scoop Scoop, Sweet Sweet, Lil Minnie (she LOVES Minnie Mouse), lil Love Bug, and Lil Ayren (she looks exactly like Ayren). I now get random 'I love you Daddy' statements followed by kisses from her. When I'm sitting on the couch, she will climb all over me, when I try to slip away to the bathroom, she will follow me, etc. She is now also climbing into the bed with Ayren and I at night and taking over my side of the bed. We are definitely in that territory that I thought we would be right when she was born. I think that's probably one of my biggest lessons so far as a sounds simple, but you really shouldn't base your experiences off of other people's experiences. At this moment, my relationship with Eliet is probably as close as the relationship I was basing what I thought a father/daughter relationship should look like. And, just a hunch...but she may even be more into sports and athletics than even Trey. I guess what i'm saying is.....Eliet is definitely now a 'daddy's girl'! And i couldn't be more in love with my little Sweet Sweet.

Now, do I still get jealous of when Eliet (or Trey for that matter) screams out 'MAMA SAID' and totally ignores whatever I told them to do.....well...yeah, yeah I do. But then again, I'm super sensitive like Trey! But, I am an example of sticking with will come! Happy Birthday Eliet Glo daddy loves you and I hope year 3 is the best one yet!

Please remember to take care of yourselves

John Cannady

#Fatherhood #feminists

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