A Loving Relationship
The relationship between Maddie and myself has been a very, very special one for each of us. Maddie connects with me as being "Mommy's Friend," and once when I introduced Maddie to someone I was struck by her immediate question: "Is he Mommy's friend too?"
I think that most of the time, males probably tend to not have as much patience to hang out with infants --- even loved ones --- in the same way that mothers are able to do so 24/7. I never used to be able to understand how a mother could devote such round-the-clock time to an infant without going crazy. But in Maddie's formative years I spent so much time with her, that I actually developed a motherly-sort-of instinct towards her. I think that Cec secretly had me in mind as a babysitter :-), since Cec would never have left Maddie with a "for hire" babysitter! Cec would always ask me repeatedly if I really loved her baby, taking great joy in hearing "out loud" that her child was so loved by others. In an ironic and bittersweet twist, Cec wanted to feel certain that Maddie would never know the pain of abandonment and loss that Cec had felt as an infant and throughout life (being the child of a celebrity divorce).
Above: a somewhat dated photo that I took of Maddie after having her weekly Pizza-In-The-Park lunch, (current photos of Maddie are not placed on this site). As a result, I named her "Maddie-The-Pizza," and sang her that song to the theme of the Winnie-the-Pooh song. She just loved it, always saying to me "Marky ... sing "She's Maddie-the-Pizza"!
Cec discussed with me the different schools of thought on disciplining children, especially if they tend to cry in bed at night, and told me that with Maddie she would always rather err on the side of showing too much love than not enough. The bond between Cecily and Maddie cannot be described in words. And even in hours of video, no image could possibly capture the joy in the air when the two were together in each other's arms (the same is quite true when Maddie is in her Daddy's arms too. Maddie just adores her father. And it gives Maddie great joy to save a slice of pizza, and then run in the door calling out at the top of her lings "DADDY! I HAVE PIZZA FOR YOU!).
When Maddie was about 2 1/2, I bought her a Valentine-themed Winnie-The-Pooh DVD (I would sing the theme song to her as "Maddie-The-Pooh" or "She's Maddie The Pizza" --- I began to take a pizza to the park for lunch with Maddie every Friday, and it soon became her favorite food; having her face smeared with red sauce soon became a frequent part of Maddie's "look"), and I promised her that I would get her a Valentine Cake just like the one that Piglet gave to Pooh Bear. I wasn't around at Valentine's day to do it --- so I owe her, big time. :-)
Cec was my dearest friend in life for almost 2 decades and beyond, and from the moment that Maddie was born, I loved Maddie as my closest family. A few times while in the hospital, Cec would look at me and say "You know, Maddie really loves you." And I'd just reply, "And I really love Maddie." Nothing more needed to be said. I would give my life for Maddie, as I would have for Cecily, and I will always be there for Maddie throughout her life as she wants and needs me.