Wishing everyone a wonderful day of celebration as we honor our fathers.
Now, in the spirit of fatherhood I am sharing a few excerpts of Mr. Darcy, Father, in action! The first is from My Dearest Mr. Darcy, taken in the hours after the birth of Alexander. The next two are both from In The Arms of Mr. Darcy, also involving Alexander. Enjoy!
Darcy lay asleep on the narrow, short sofa before the smoldering fire. His vest had been discarded and the linen shirt loose and gaping open over his bare chest with a blanket haphazardly covering his lower body. His feet were also bare and one long leg had fallen off the sofa onto the floor while the other was draped over the arm and dangling from the knee on. His beautiful face was turned toward the bed, lips parted, and he breathed in a deep rhythm.
Lying on his ample chest was Alexander. The baby was swaddled and dressed, one arm free and hanging over his father’s side. His tiny pink face was visible, full lips parted just like his father’s. Darcy held his son securely, even in sleep, one large hand resting on the infant’s rear and the other hand wholly encompassing the curly brown-haired head.
Lizzy lay awake for a long while watching father and son in peaceful slumber. It was a picture more moving than anything created by the greatest artist. The new mother studied the scene in the finest detail, reverently hanging it in her mind’s gallery to be remembered for all of her life.
~ * ~ * ~
Darcy particularly enjoyed this late night snack, as Alexander was not so ravenous and more apt to willingly play with his father. He walked slowly into the bedchamber, Alexander placated for the moment with his father’s little finger. “Have you been a good boy while I was gone, my sweet? I believe you have gained another half a pound, you gorger. You nearly have two chins!”
He laughed, Alexander pausing his steady sucking to gaze into Darcy’s eyes. He had a firm grip to the index finger, chubby fist curled tight, and his legs kept a regular rhythm of strong kicks. He was always moving, Darcy had discovered. Unless asleep or completely satiated with mother’s milk, his body was in action. The day before Christmas he had kicked so hard that he flipped from his side to back, limbs flailing wildly and eyes wide in amazement at the abrupt change.
Darcy sat on the bed beside a reclining Lizzy, not ready to relinquish the lively bundle cuddled in his arms. With eyes locked onto his son’s face, he asked of his wife, “Has he had any bouts of colic while I was away?”
“No. He was a bit fussy two nights ago and slow to suckle contentedly. I gave him a few drops of tonic and we rocked. I discovered that gazing into the flames soothes him. Finally he nursed and slept well. I was relieved it did not ripen into a serious episode, as you were not here to sing to him.” She chuckled at Darcy’s wry smile. “I would not count on him being musically inclined, as he seems to prefer your singing voice to mine.”
“Have no fear, love. Georgie adored my singing and she is incredibly talented. Maybe you will be the Darcy male to break the mold, my darling.” He brought the baby to his lips for a number of tender kisses, Alexander patiently enduring. Darcy ran a hand all over his son’s round body, marveling anew at the combination of vulnerable softness and solid strength. Developing rolls of fat could be felt on his arms and legs, his entire body dominated by an enormous abdomen, and his head hard was still covered with a mass of brown curls. Darcy removed one thick knitted bootie to nibble kisses to a plump, pink foot. “Praise be to God for keeping you so healthy and perfect,” Darcy whispered, kissing the baby’s brow. “I love you, my son, my precious, precious son.”
~ * ~ * ~
Well, that was not entirely true as Darcy was happily in charge of the baby. He sat on the sofa across from Richard, far forward with long legs spread wide and bridging the gap between cushioned edge and table, acting as both confining barrier and firm support for the nearly one-year-old’s unsteady gait. Walking was a new and marvelous phenomenon, the toddler now preferring the glorious view of the world from above six inches, but still not too graceful with the procedure. The numerous tumbles and near misses from colliding with a sharp piece of furniture when the legs gave out or chubby upper body propelled ahead of the yet uncontrollable lower extremities in no way caused Alexander to be cautious, but gave his parents shivers of fear. So Darcy did his best to restrain his young son’s movements, especially in the cluttered lower level rooms.
At the moment, Alexander was content with the arrangement, happily cooing and babbling as he played with the assortment of brightly colored toys strewn across the once shiny tabletop that had previously graced a gorgeous four-hundred-year-old vase from China. Darcy absently played with the springy curls and stroked the smooth skin, unconsciously prepared to respond to his son as appropriate while carrying on an adult conversation with Richard.
It was natural now to slip from serious dialogue uttered with typical resonant tones to the simpler words spoken in a gentle timbre. It made Richard chuckle, but Darcy was barely aware. Nor was he cognizant of the tender expressions, silly faces, and dotty smiles that frequently lit his face when gazing upon or communicating with his firstborn. Furthermore, he only mildly winced when tiny but firm fists grabbed onto trouser cloth and snared a few leg hairs in the process. It was normal and embraced wholeheartedly.