The numbers glow white in the darkness and reach my tired eyes.
I try to push my thoughts into the prayer chamber but they come leaking out; dripping, streaming, pooling. Just like the driving rain that’s the soundtrack to this nightly vigil.
I listen to him breathe. In and out. In and out. This innocence lying in my arms.
Oh. This love you have for a child… It starts out tentatively. You love him because he’s helpless. And because he’s part of you. Because he needs you. And, honestly, because you have no choice, really. It sometimes feels like a forced love. It didn’t come naturally; not to me… It was detached. A stranger, this little life I had to look after.
Months go by and he changes and grows and becomes someone. As he develops, I start to see him more clearly. His little mannerisms and personality; his way of relating to the world and to people. I’ve got front row seats to this beautiful production playing out in front of me. It’s like the fog is slowly lifting to reveal more and more of the intricate landscape that is my son’s soul – the mountains and valleys, the streams and bridges, the horizon… Every day I see more.
And the love I have burning inside me for this precious boy is wild and untamed now. And it’s spreading. Consuming. Blazing hot. He’s such a part of me now… So much more than when he was actually growing inside of me. So much more than when I held him for the first time after the gruelling marathon of birth and we were connected by a pulsing cord.
I couldn’t bare to part with him. Not now. Not ever.
These early years are sacred years. Years when we can live such connected lives. When I will be his first love. The one he wants to be with. The one he wants to share everything with. The one he can’t wait to see. The one he wants to be comforted by. The one he talks most to. The one who knows him best.
I get to love him completely. Unashamedly. Boldly. Profoundly. Deeply. Fiercely. I don’t have to worry that I’m overbearing or too much or too intense.
I can’t believe how incredibly favoured I am.
I know of so many who are aching to experience this miracle. This tiny piece of God-made wonder.
I recall our own struggle. The months of rollercoaster emotions: the despair, the hope, the disappointment, the sadness, the anguish, the elation… The loneliness, the cliches, the pain of not being understood…
How quickly I forget.
Most nights I fight against myself, tenaciously holding onto my fraying sanity with both hands. Usually my temper, resting on the hot plate of exhaustion, is only seconds from boiling over, ready to hiss and spit ugly anger and frustration all around. It leaves a sticky mess that is hard to clean up…
But not tonight.
Tonight I see the complexity of love. The oxymoron of life. The profound mixed in with the ordinary. Frustration fused with compassion. Revealing the ugliest bits and bringing out the most beautiful ones – sometimes all in one instant.
It’s wanting to give up but always carrying on. It’s having too much to bear but always finding strength for more. It’s never wanting it to end and wishing it would just be over. It’s weakness and courage, it’s vulnerability and resilience, it’s painful tears and uncontrollable laughter.
It’s all blended together. Kneaded into one cohesive whole. Rainbow colourful. Sweet. Sour. Bitter. Salty.
I want to treasure every moment. Even the ones teetering on the edge of the deep dark hole of despair.
I want to make every moment count.
I want to remember that every minute is a special gift straight from the hand of God.