Once you are a parent, your heart is on your sleeve. Never again, are you wholly your own. Whether your baby was with you for decades or only for a fleeting dream, there will always be part of you that can be torn away. Parenthood is like that.
During pregnancy, we mothers hold our babies inside. Pelvis and ribs are boney arcs that encircle our little-ones-under-construction. While they grow bones, tendons and skin, we surround them with stretching uterus and ligaments. We bathe them in fluids scented with our own meals. We carry them everywhere. Even after they are born, we carry them everywhere, baby on our hip, heart on our sleeve. Mothers are like that.
Being a father is so different, your babies grow outside of you. The tiny seed that escaped your groin, grows of its own accord, nestled in another. Then, one day, that being becomes the child that grows into your heart. Fathers carry their children on their hips and inside their beating hearts. Fathers are like that.
This week I learned that a old friend’s son died. Our babies once played together for hours at a time -running, chasing, building, jumping! The towheaded boy that I remember became a beautiful man. After a long, terribly hard and courageous struggle, he took his own life. His incredible life is suddenly gone. Life is like that.
As a sweet babe-to-be, his mother carried him in an ark of bone and muscle. She carried him just under her heart as he bravely journeyed into this world. Now, decades later, his father meticulously crafted a pine box the size of a grown man. He carefully lined it with aromatic cedar. With muscle, sweat and love, this father made an ark to cradle his son on his last earthly journey. Coming and going, big or small, we parents carry our children. Through joy, pain and sweet wonder we carry our children. Love, oh glorious love is like that.
May all babies be born into loving hands