The look that nearly killed me

Elise left last night at 10:30 for Luling so she could get a hotel room and be ready bright and early for a photo shoot with Marc. I woke up bright-eyed today and did my usual morning ritual. I heard Maly playing in her crib a little before 8. Riley and I went into her room. Immediately she asked, “Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”

I told her that Mommy was on a photo shoot and would be back tonight for dinner. I told her a couple jokes, played with Riley, made some funny faces and eventually got Maly into a really happy mood. I then picked her up out of her crib and we started our day. We changed a diaper, ate a banana and and a tangerine, and put on camo cargo pants and Maly’s favorite pink UT jersey.

Then we went back into her room and read her Gossi the Gossling book, which we’re using as a tool to learn how to share. It was then that Carla pulled into the driveway. The driveway can be seen in plain view from Maly’s room. Carla is our nanny that we used a few weeks ago when Elise had a week-long photo assignment. I said to Maly, “Look! Carla’s here!” Maly immediately stood up, about faced and threw her arms around my neck and commenced pouting.

I picked Maly up and we walked to the front door to let Carla in, Maly still clinging to me. I talked to Carla for a few minutes and then it was time for me to head out to work.

I tried to pass Maly over to Carla like I would to Elise. I found this first attempt to be rather awkward and difficult. This was a new experience for me as a dad. I’d never been the one to engage in the process of leaving my daughter with someone who wasn’t family or a close friend. Elise has experienced this quite a few times and has become quite astute in the technique of prying off latched-on offspring.

I tried to hand Maly to Carla again. Maly clenched to the back of my neck with her hands. I budged and reeled her back onto my chest. Finally the third time I got Maly far enough from me to where her arms were still outstreched toward me, still reaching for me while desperately not wanting herself and me to be parted. Carla jumped in, with apparent knowledge that this was my first time leaving my daughter with a sitter, and took Maly from me.

The moment I was just a couple feet away, I could see Maly in Carla’s arm. I immediately noticed her face. Her eyebrows sloped down, her bottom lip stuck out and made for the most heartbreaking frown while her eyes looked in my general direction, but as to not make direct eye contact and read, “Why would you EVER do something like this to me, Daddy???”

I will forever remember that look on my daughter’s face. As heartbreaking as it was to endure, it made me proud that I was needed.

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