It was around 2:45 in the morning, and I was holding my sleeping 14 month old foster son in my arms. The house was still, and of the nine people within its wall, I was the only one awake. The fever in the sweet boy I held had broken, and he was resting peacefully.
I looked out the windows and marveled at the amount of light still present, nearly enough to read by, and the trees outside were fully visible. Song birds continued to sing the night through. A mere few months ago it would have been profoundly dark outside by five or six pm, and if a bird was to be heard, it would certainly be an owl.
If there is sweeter experience than holding a sleeping child, I don’t know what it is. My first child just turned 29, but I can still almost feel him in my arms. Over the years, and through the many seasons, there have been other children, other nights. It felt as if all those times weren’t long ago, far away, but more as if they were closer than the thickness of a gossamer curtain.
It is commonly believed that being a parent involves sacrifice, but I see it as an exchange. I give up some of my “self”, and I get to participate in the start of a new and profound being. I become tied to the cycles of life in an intimate way, and the exchange is more than fair. The loss of self and the discipline of parenting are not to be taken lightly, but there I sat, a beautiful boy in my arms, and I am the world to him. I am complete.