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It doesn’t look like this always. It doesn’t look like this usually, even.

But the days it does, when the sun peers out for a quick hello (even if it’s just as the day is ending), the view from my living room sofa is as good as it gets.

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So this is parenthood

Years ago, on my first go-round in the East, a friend lent me her copy of Anna Karenina. At the time, I remember thinking: “Ah! So this is what that feels like!” Tolstoy’s descriptions of life, from birth to marriage to death to infidelity and everything in between, struck me as the genuine article. I had no idea what the moment of being married would feel like, but in reading, I lived it. (Isn’t that the beauty of literature? The opportunity to live experiences you haven’t had yourself through the written word?)

Following Stella’s birth, I looked up the passage when Levin, one of the main characters, becomes a father. I was curious if my memory of the vividness and truth of that written moment matched lived experience.

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“The feelings which this little being awakened in him  were entirely different from what he had expected!  There was neither pride nor joy in the feeling, but  rather a new and painful fear. It was the consciousness  that he had become vulnerable in a new way. And this  consciousness at first was so acute, his fear lest this poor,  defenseless creature might suffer was so poignant, that  it drowned the strange feeling of thoughtless joy, and even pride, that rose in his heart when the infant  sneezed.”

–Leo Tolstoy

Although there is (much!) joy and pride, the ring of truth is there as well. I think, perhaps, that this may be even more true for fathers than mothers.

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Anyway. These pictures are from Stella’s 100 Days Celebration last week. She is wearing a traditional outfit that local infants wear, but unfortunately I’ve forgotten the word for it. Michael’s friend, the local mechanic who fixes our scooters, gave this to us before Stella’s birth.

Her actual 100 days (we were a little early last week), by the way, is tomorrow. Happy 100, Stella B!