The warmest month …

February has always been my most hated month. The bitter cold, the short days and the lack of good produce… What’s to like, really? If any month forgot to pay its rent, then it’s February.

That’s the way I always thought; at least until two years exactly to the cover date of this week’s issue of Antique Trader. You see, on Feb. 13, 2006, at exactly 10:59 p.m., my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our daughter Fiona Anne. I had hoped she would hold on another hour and be the best Valentine’s Day gift I could have ever received.

Noah and Fiona AT 2-13.jpgFiona, however, having had a mind of her own since the moment of her emergence – and much to my wife’s relief – would have none of it.

When I saw this cover date late last year I started scheming some way to tie her birthday in with something wildly clever and related to antiques. The truth, however, is that I’m at a loss.

Knowing Trader’s readers, and knowing how dedicated so many of them are to their families and friends, I’m asking for your patience.

Sure, I could – and have – pointed out the contrast between the newness of everything relating to Fiona’s process of discovery and the aged, valuable artifacts of epochs past that populate my working day. I could also point out that my daughter, in her brief stint so far on this planet, has amassed a collection of antiques of far greater volume and value than I have ever had. I don’t begrudge her that, though, and am sure that she’ll continue to receive gifts of this ilk from her many admirers – her old man chief among them.

She’s too young to know it now, but I’m envious of the early start to her journey. She’ll grow up with an awareness of material history, and its creators, in a way that few of us get the chance. It’s my hope that this grounding in the creations of the past, in the things that have made the world what it is, will temper the ever more hectic technological spiral she will inevitably have to immerse herself in. If this will keep her feet more firmly planted in the real world, and less dependent on the cyber one – or at least equally grounded in both – then I’ll count my work in this life well done.

None of these things, however, can possibly ever express just how deeply thankful I am to have her in my life, and just how much I love her.

Let me amend what I wrote earlier: My wife did indeed give me the greatest Valentine’s Day gift ever when Fiona was born on Feb. 13, 2006. In fact, it was perfect, for I was able to get a few hours of sleep that night – the last for many months, if not years – and then spend the whole of that Valentine’s Day with my sweet baby girl.

Now I no longer dread February. I anticipate it as a month to remember the day of my daughter’s birth, the day before the greatest Valentine’s Day ever, the day that I was given a gift more precious and infinitely more valuable than any antique could ever be.

I hope Trader’s readers will forgive me for not knowing what to write about this week, and hang on while I think about it just a little more…

Noah Fleisher