Saturday, December 13, 2003

I think it's cruel irony that with a new birth, all I ever obsess about as a parent is death. Now before you file this away under "disturbing", I have to disclaim that this is entire a parent thing to do. Perhaps it happens more to neurotic writer types like myself, but I doubt it. I think a good percentage of moms and dads out there share the same kind of obsession about death.

This morning, after feeding him at six in the morning and setting him back to sleep, I slept in almost till ten in the morning. And the only reason that I got up was because I was worried because he was being so quiet. This only happens when he's on my watch, when he's on my wife's watch, I sleep, well, like a baby. But when he's on my watch, I pick up all my wife's worries and just worry if he sleeps too much, or not enough; eats too much, or not enough, poops too much, or not enough, and on and on.

I think part of it is because SIDS is such an unknown thing. There are ways to prevent it, but even those preventions are simply just to ensure lower incidents, not actual preventions. It is such an unknown that - I've read it in the news, that sometimes horrible people can suffocate their infants and blame in on SIDS - and get away with it. They only get caught because it's happened more than once. So I worry about that.

Earlier in this blog, I sorta touched on a weird notion that we as a society seem to value the very young perhaps more than we value the elders - meaning that we can see thousands of on screen deaths and be entertaining, but when a child dies in the movies its almost taboo. We place more value on children's lives than adults, even though adults have more intrinsic value in a sense - they've learn more, can do more, and so on.

And now, I still have that feeling, although I've come to understand the other side of it as well. It's more than protecting the innocence in children, and more than just ensuring that the bloodlines continue on. In a way, children are an extension of yourselves - they're more than just offspring with your blood, they're also all your hopes and dreams, all your desires and wishes, and all your love that you've always wanted to have as a child. Not that my family wasn't loving, but being a good dad to my son is important to me because it's important for my soul. It validates why I am here on this earth, drinking water and breathing air. It makes my existance important because without me, perhaps my son will survive nonetheless, but he will not get all that I wish for him.

A smile from my son certainly beats any compliment I've ever received, I'll tell you that much. It is simply one of the purest joys I've ever experienced. So, worry about his life is just going to be one of those things. My wife used to worry about him when he had quiet days in her womb, and she felt like he wasn't moving too much. So at least I'm not alone.

Anyone who hasn't tried it, should do it. Kissing a baby on the cheek. It's the softest, sweetest smelling thing to do. And sometimes if you're lucky (or unlucky), he'll turn at the right moment and he'll kiss you back a sloppy formula-enhanced smooch.

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