Of course, the little hairless tyke was pretty much in a carrier all day and besides the occasional diaper change and feeding, she mostly slept. No real problem. I could go about my day albeit lugging a basket around with me.
Month after month rolled by and the blob started to actually look human. Red hair, smiles, tears and yes, the ever looming diaper changes. Still, not too bad, as these things go. Crawling beats walking and walking beats running. My days still provided me with lots of free time, I just had to watch where I was walking. "Red" could find endless fascination with about anything she could come in contact with on the floor. Once in a while that would be a cat, which would turn into a bit of a problem, but usually it was just the usual crawling, maybe a slobber and then nap time. Easy days. Didn't have to really do much.
And the months rolled on - well now, aren't we growing. The crawling turned into walking and this also meant climbing, and occasionally falling. And then we discovered our vocal chords and how we can modulate the noise. Food no longer came in a small jar - now I had to actually get it mixed, cooked or warmed, but not too warm, and not too cool. The crib made nap time a little tougher because you really modulated those chords when I put her in and walked away.
Walking gave way to running and now we had to go outside because she learned that if she grabs your thumb and pulls it, the rest of you follows. So now we would take walks outside and when tired you had to be carried clear across Shawshank to get home. And you knew about the pool so I had to get you all dressed in your swim suit and swim undies and off we'd go. It just seemed that the red head now wouldn't ever get tired, wouldn't always eat, always pulling my thumb and wanting endless play with a gray haired old guy.
Now this was becoming an awful lot of work. My free time vanished, and my joints are sore from hauling, moving, picking up, playing tag, removing from my back and elsewhere. An old guy trying to keep up with the fountain of youth. Up and down over to the fridge, up and down the stairs and up and down the street where at some point she will falter and require a lift back home.
And then, it all seems like the greatest accomplishment of my life, when she quietly lifts her hand…reaches over and touches my cheek…looks straight into my eyes and without saying anything at all…whispers to my soul, "I Love You, Papa."