The Language of Love and Fatherhood

My latest moments of pride rest exclusively on seeing our daughter grow and develop into her own person.

She doesn’t know all the negativity of our COVID reality, the canceled vacation plans to see family in North Carolina, or the dark specters of doom that fill our newsfeeds every day.

She knows happiness, eating with mama and papa, bathtime, riding her red scooter bike, and staring at fluttering birds.

She’s able to distinguish French words from German ones, connecting them where necessary and repeating them when she can. “La vache” goes MOO just like “die Kuh” goes MOO.

It’s not that I thought it wasn’t possible. I’ve grown up with two languages my entire life, learned another in school that I was passionate about, and I’ve lived in as a foreigner in a German-speaking country for over 7 years. Humans can learn and adapt to language very quickly, especially if it surrounds them. Even more if they learn it from someone they love.

But how can I verbalize the joys and sheer pride and love I feel seeing her articulate, differentiate, and learn to maneuver with ease? How can I share the absolute thrill of dad-hood in a way that others could understand? How can I transpose the smiles, laughs, and warm feelings that flood my emotions when she gives me a kiss or runs to give me a hug?

In a way, that language is the most difficult of all.

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist, writer, and consumer advocate. His writings and interviews have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online outlets across the world in multiple languages. He is the founder and editor of Devolution Review and deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) from the CEVRO Institute in Prague, and a Bachelor's in Political Science from Concordia University, Montreal. He currently splits his time between Vienna, Austria and Charlotte, North Carolina.
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