My son Jacob came home today. He is amazingly small and pale. I am shocked by how fragile he is in every way. I know everyone says these sorts of things when their children are born, but when it is your child that you hold in your arms, feeling the rise and fall of his tiny chest, these words take on a deeper profoundness, something you cannot quite explain, but finally, completely understand. His mother continues to amaze me. Her strength and courage at such a young age is inspiring to me. Ha! Like I am any older, though at times I feel to have lived centuries. So much changes when the child comes. Of course you find yourself thrilled beyond what you have ever experienced before. You are also equally afraid. So many things you can do that can harm this child. What of all the things you have learned in life should you pass on? What things should you never let him see or know? Is it possible to limit the mistakes, or only make ones that will not leave lasting damage? Will he forgive me for not being perfect? I am forced to think of my own father, his life that I remember and how it shaped who and what I became. I think he never forgave himself for not being a better man. He left my mother when I was only 10 and really, beyond what he was forced, never got involved in my life. I don’t blame him, don’t have some latent guilt that rears up every now and then, making me hate him or wish I had never known him. Instead I find myself thinking of the things he did give me. A sense of purpose, that my ideas mattered. Even when he was away for years he would send letters, words to me that were like gold. Telling me to always be strong, to be proud of who I was and to live my life as it was the only one I was going to get. I never doubted my fathers love, though his commitment was obviously lacking. He stood and was counted, never apologizing for his actions. He knew the consequences and never shied from them.
Of course I want to be there for my son in different ways. I want him to want for nothing. I want him to know his mother and father love him more than their own lives. I can see that love in my wife’s eyes, in the way she almost stops breathing when she reaches to pick him up. She cradles him with a carefulness that melts me. He must feel like he is still floating on clouds. Sometimes I catch her when she is not aware I am there. She whispers to him. I never hear the words, they are so quiet. I feel them though, as they leave her lips and enter his tiny little head. I wonder what he thinks, if he thinks or if everything is just swimming in that perfect oneness. He must not see himself as separate from all of this; me, his mother, the breast that feeds him or the hands that lift him when he cries. They must all seem the same to him. I wonder if his eyes will turn brown like his mothers, or if they will brighten to that brilliant blue. So much potential in this little body, these tiny hands.