On Facebook today, I was perusing the photos of a newborn baby, Laikyn Reese. She was born prematurely and she was finally released from the hospital when she was about two weeks old. Once she'd made it home, her parents had a set of professional photos done. One particular photo caught my eye. It was the one wherein Adam, who was dressed in black, was holding his daughter. Her head was in his palm and facing the camera and her body and legs were draped over his forearm. Her little bottom was only about two inches from the crook in her Daddy’s arm. It is really a lovely photo.
Seeing it brought back a memory of my Daddy telling me that--when I was born--I was nearly that small. He said he could hold my head in his palm and my bottom sat right there in the crook of his elbow. When he told me that memory, he was smiling and it was clear that it was a memory which he cherished. I also cherish the memory of him telling me of that day--greatly.
This picture is poignant to me for other reasons. Did y’all know that I was born prematurely, also? I was born somewhere between six and seven months gestation. I imagine I was about maybe two weeks or so farther along than Laikyn was when she was born. I weighed six pounds. I’m sure you can imagine how big I might have been if I’d gone to full term!
There is another ‘didja know’ in this story. Didja know that many people in my family thought I was the child of someone other than my Daddy because of my early birth? They believed that I was actually born between seven and eight months, thereby disallowing Daddy as my father because he was overseas in Thailand until January of 1969. These ideas plagued me for many years. In fact, when my mother told me that this ‘rumor’ was true, I was devastated. I felt as if all the things that made me good in the world came from him and—if I wasn’t his child—then I was worth very little. Of course, now I know that this idea of my worthlessness is absolutely ridiculous, but I was young and very saddened by these new ‘facts’ I’d learned.
At one point, my Mother told me that the rumors were true. And who knows, really? It is true that I look like neither one of my parents, except that my hair is the exact color of my mother’s hair. I was bothered by the fact that I don’t look like anyone for a long time. Strangely enough, as the years pass, I have come to the conclusion that Mother was just telling a story—as she often did—and she started believing it. The older I get, I see him in my forehead and--every now and then--in my face, especially on the days when I am tired. Weird, huh? And I was teased my whole life (I can’t believe I’m telling y’all this!) with the following song—
o/’ o/’ Daddy butt, Daddy butt. Lori’s got a Daddy butt! o/’ o/’
Super embarrassing, I know—but it begs the question: If he isn’t my Daddy, why did I have to endure that song for so many years? It is true that I don’t exactly have the biggest backside you’ve ever seen, yeah? Anyway, so there were things here and there through the years that made me wonder if Mother was wrong. And eventually, it didn’t matter. I am Paul Ford’s daughter. I know Daddy loves me and I know he was my Daddy, no matter who donated to my DNA.
But the thing about that picture of Laikyn—she weighed only six ounces less than I did when she was born at 34 weeks. I weighed exactly 6 pounds—or so I’ve been told. Her backside was only inches away from Adam’s elbow and I was right there in Daddy’s elbow crook, according to him. Why couldn’t I have been born between six and seven months, seeing as I was almost as small as Laikyn was?
I realize this whole blog might be considered super silly by some, but I’ll tell you the truth: I love the moments when I see Daddy in my face! I greatly appreciate ANYTHING I see or realize that makes the idea of Daddy being my father more probable. I know it doesn’t really matter, but—somehow—it does. It matters that I belong to him, ya know?