Tuesday, October 20, 2009
First or Last?
My heart is breaking as I write this.
Ever since we went on a two week family vacation where my wife, son and I found ourselves crammed into one bedroom accommodations, we have grown accustomed to one of us snuggling down and falling asleep with our son. After stories, one of us will lie with our little boy until he falls asleep. Sometimes that takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes an hour. We’ve been doing it for over a year.
As you can imagine, when one is trying to work, maintain a household and have some sort of relationship with one's spouse, giving up an hour a night to lie with a squirming child is not a luxury that most of us can afford.
The problem is, despite the regular frustrations and the time constraints, we love it. It is glorious to feel a little hand slip inside the sleeve of my t-shirt and squish my arm, or to hear a great big contented sigh followed by, “I love you so much, Daddy.”
We are about four weeks from the birth of our second son. We know with the impending birth will come the inevitable sleep deprivation, the exhaustion and the short fuse. We know that one of us lying down with our eldest son will be next to impossible. However, we want to get him used to sleeping on his own before his little brother arrives so he won't have something else to blame on his sure to be less-than-popular-already sibling.
Tonight is the first go. We set up a fountain with soothing gurgles and soft glowing lights. He thinks it’s beautiful. But when I just left his room seconds ago and told him to look at the beautiful lights while I go work on the computer in our bedroom, he said, “But daddy, I can’t feel you when you are in your bedroom.”
My wife is currently taking a moms writing course. The assignment the other night was to write about a “first”: a first step, a first word, anything to do with baby’s “first.” It got me to thinking; we are great at recognizing firsts, but not so great at recognizing lasts. How would you look at things differently if you knew you were holding your child’s hand for the last time? If you knew this was the last time he’d want to play catch with you, or kiss you goodbye in front of his friends?
Try to savour the simplest little pleasure you get from your child like it might be the last. It will force you to slow down, make you focus on the present, and deepen the love you have for your child.