It happened late one night July 2. The fourth of July fell on the weekend. But my little treat was all I could think of. My first memory of Charelle being born was the first time I had a few moments with her shortly after birth. I was the only one in the hallway and most of the lights were off. I was holding her and looking into her eyes, glancing over every part of her face. She was all bundled up but I already knew she had all her fingers and toes. What was strange was that as I stared at her she seemed to stare back at me. Right back at me. I know kids aren’t supposed to be able to see. I’m not saying she recognized me or anything. But it seemed as if she knew exactly who I was. And all I kept thinking to myself was, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I have a daughter.”
This wasn’t the, “Oh hell naw!” I can’t believe it going through my head. I had been married a little over two years and wanted this child badly. I even wanted a little girl on top of that. And there she was. I don’t quite remember what I said to her, but she kept looking at me and I think we both fell in love on the spot. I was practically in a daze the entire 4th of July weekend.
The next memories were when she would sleep in her playpin. We only had a one bedroom townhouse so she was there on the other side of the room. She was an early riser and wanted to play immediately. Before she could walk she would stand herself up on the railing and look at the direction of the bed. If no one looked her way she would shake the playpen and try to talk. I learned not to move and pretend as if I were sleeping because if she made eye contact, it was a wrap. She would crack up in hysterical laughter and demand that I get her out of the playpen so we could play.
Sometimes I would have to put her to sleep on the real bed. Not only that, I’d have to lay there like I was sleeping too. I would wait and wait for her to be still hoping she would fall asleep so I could watch the game or whatever. She would put her arm around my neck. Slowly I’d back away gently dislodging her arm from around me. And soon as I got out of the bed, QUICK in an instant her head would bop up like it came out of a jack in the box and look at me. I’d have to start all over again as she was hip to my game. Sometimes it actually worked and before I knew it, I would be the one sleeping first.
Charelle grew up to be a brilliant student. She was always in honor’s classes. During parent teacher conference, it got to the point where the teachers would just say, “I don’t need to talk to you. You know the deal.” She also displayed great creativity in writing poems and drawing pictures. I’ll never forget when she made paper dolls and cut out outfits for them. They were so awesome they could pass for Vogue. I’ve always complimented her on how she amazed me. But too often she would just look at me and say, “Daddi you’re supposed to say that.” “No no,” I’d say. “I really mean it. You are amazing!”
These days Charelle is growing into womanhood quite well. She is a loving and devoted mother to her family which now includes two beautiful children. I am very proud of her. We have grown folks conversations now. But she will always be my baby, my first born, my little girl.