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Is there an event more challenging, more mind-boggling, more awe-inspiring than holding your first child in your arms for the first time?

Not that I can think of.

2008 saw many firsts, but none so firsty as the firstness of having a child.  Lucinda Carmichael Rouse entered the world on August 27, the ground shook and life hasn’t been quite the same since.

Tracey and I are in the unique position of me being Lucy’s daytime care and us trading off for me to work in the evening.  As such, Lucy and I have gotten a lot of hangout time.  We talk about the future and I tell her to stay away from all boys and reality TV.  She tells me that she doesn’t mind wearing diapers as long as she gets to poop in them.

Every second of your child’s life is echoed by the gonging Life Clock you hear in your head, or at least a person like me who’s still trying to figure out what to do when he grows up does.  And yet you try, in vain of course, to preserve every new squeak and sound, every new smile and wink as this little person who even now is not the same as they were 5 months ago is developing into Your Child.  I’m reminded often that Tracey and I are just caretakers for Lucy; here to show her that Life is worth living and to live it fully.  To make sure she knows who is rooting for her.

My last Year in Review entry was about Renovatus, the church we attend here in Charlotte.  I want to close out this series of articles with a little story that illustrates both the community we’ve found here and the joy Lucy brings.
I’ve recently been cast in a production of Hamlet.  It will occupy my daytimes for 4 weeks – daytimes that are pretty taken up lately with care for Lucy.  My awesome wife (who you can read about a few entries back) encouraged me to go ahead and take the part I was offered (you can also read about that a couple posts back) and that we’d work out something for Lucy in the meantime.  We really can’t afford regular daycare at this point in time and though Tracey’s job is flexible, it’s not that flexible.  So Tracey sent up a flare: an email to a number of women in the church who might either be able to help during this time or might know someone who could.

Last night I got home from work and Tracey and I were checking her email to see what responses there might be.  There were 4 or 5 different women who had responded willing and able to keep Lucy at various intervals and times over the coming weeks.  When the dust clears I think we’ll be able to make this happen.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity of people we’ve only known 2 short years.  I’ll be honest, I got kinda teary.  We are so well taken care of and as I sat reading about the people who wanted to help us in this time of need, I was humbled but also sad.

Tracey asked me if I was alright and I could only say two things.  One, “I’ll miss her.”  Even though it’s only for 4 weeks, Lucy and I have been inseperable for about 5 months now.

The second thing I said was, “She’s my buddy.”

Welcome to fatherhood, I guess.

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