The weather in the Bay Area has been pretty great the last few days. The sky is blue, the sun is out, and the hills are green. The hills around Fremont are gorgeous during the last bit of winter and most of spring. The rain keeps them a verdant green. I've never been to Ireland, but a friend of mine who has says that Niles Canyon in the spring is as beautiful as anything he saw on the Emerald Isle.
Belle is still too young to really know what's going on around her or even what she's seeing. She's five months old as of yesterday and has just recently started to become very aware of her world. She tracks objects really well, cranes around (in often hilarious ways) to see things she's curious about, and wants to touch everything (subsequently placing it in her mouth for further inspection). The last week or so she's had some sort of cold and the last couple of days she's been quite grumpy and had an especially hard time sleeping, which is out of character for her. So far the thing that's worked the best to mollify her when she's upset is taking her outside. Her little eyes get incredibly wide as she is taken into the outside world; she begins to coo and giggle at everything, even the wasteland we call a front yard.
This is one of the best things about being a father so far. Belle finds wonder in the most mundane things. Her eyes light up when she sees the juniper bushes in front of our house. I'm not a big fan of those bushes. To me they are a haven for spiders and other such undesirable things. Belle looks at the world around her and marvels at trees and dirt and bushes and lawns and cars and bricks on the sidewalk. It brings me a particular sort of joy to see the way she reacts when Belle looks around at these things for the first time.
She doesn't see a tree as a plant sucking up water from the soil, processing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. To her it is something entirely different, something mysterious, wonderful, and impossibly huge. To her a dandelion isn't a weed - it's a bright attractive yellow splash on an otherwise uniform ground. Seeing the wonder and joy in her eyes as she observers her world is amazing. It makes me want to show her so much, to take her so many places, just so she can see and experience new things. It's a partially selfish desire - because my heart warms up every time she lets out a squeal of delight upon seeing something I'd consider mundane.
Being a dad is pretty great. I've said it before, but it is both the most difficult and most joyful thing I've ever been a part of. Even with the lack of sleep, added stress and complication to my life and marriage - I'd rather be Belle's father than have a simpler life. I can't imagine myself as not being Belle's dad. It makes life harder, but it makes life better. I am a special kind of blessed to be the father of a beautiful little girl and the husband of an incomparably fantastic woman.