Earlier today, I started to write a post on my 6-month anniversary at UTSPH, and paused to attend to talk at a conference. Before I came back to finish the post, the news broke of the tragedy in Connecticut. I think I was numb when I first heard, and just pushed it out. Then I got home, home to my Sam, and I fed him, watching him sink with need into my breast. I went to work in my room, laid him to play next to my desk and sat him across my lap when he fussed. He had our usual bath together and then I nursed him, but not to sleep. So he came downstairs while we had dinner and sat on my lap after. When I nurse, I am absorbed in Grey’s Anatomy, stopping only occasionally to check that he has a good latch, and half heartedly balance the burping / sleeping ratio. Today, as he was downstairs, I just gazed at his soft skin, his little baby curls of blonde hair and how children sleep differently to adults; how even their sleep is so carefree, so unhindered, so innocent.
Now I don’t want to write about grants, and papers and useless academic ambition. I don’t want to think about how I am going to keep my job, how I am going to beat other academics and spend so much of my time in these pursuits. I just want to write how grateful I am for every moment with Sam. How yesterday – even before I heard of today’s events – I was telling a dear friend that I had been wrong: Sam is enough. I thought a child would be part of the tapestry that made me happy, but he is every thread in the tapestry. Everything else: my job, my home, my hobbies… they contribute, I am grateful for having them in my life, but they are not necessary. Sam is all that necessary and sufficient for me to feel complete.
I will hug my baby tighter tonight. And tomorrow morning when he wakes up with tummy ache and, as every morning, I bring him into bed to soothe him. I will appreciate his innocence and grace a little more. I will appreciate the unique beauty that belongs to all children.
I used to think that if anything happened to my child I would be so angry I would do something I would regret. I now think I would be so broken, so empty, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I am finding it desperately hard to pray tonight… but if I could, I think I would leave the prayers for the parents in CT to other voices, and just give thanks for every child the Lord blesses us with.