Tonight I had a moment. One of those that is both often and rare for parents. A moment of pure joy. I read somewhere that all we get are moments, and it is very true. I will tell you about this one, but first we have to go back to when our boys were still in the NICU.
If you’ve never had children in the NICU it is hard to explain the feeling. It is one of the most trying and painful journeys a person can undertake. You are alone in many ways. I had my wife and she had me, but we also had ourselves and all our own feelings to unpack and we dealt with those in different ways which made it all feel like a very solitary journey.
During it I found comfort in music. I had a playlist of songs to sing my children. None of those helped, but a song my mother sang to me as a child, Candle on the Water by Helen Reddy helped a great deal, because I did feel lost and drifting. I felt alone and scared among an angry tide that had turned against me.
There is much more I could say about the NICU stay and much I have said on this blog and in private journals, but understand it was an isolating time. A time when I needed much comfort and Helen Reddy was there for me.
Tonight when I was putting one of the boys to bed he decided he wanted to be held and rocked to sleep. These are the precious moments all parents long for and fight for and want to last as long as possible. As I clung to my son and he clung to me I put on the Helen Reddy song. The song that gave me such comfort when he was in the NICU and I was uncertain that my son would ever come home.
While the song played I thought both to the future and the past. There will come a day when my son is a teenager and he will tell me he hates me, his life is terrible, and it is all my fault. There is no avoiding this and any effort to is a vanity beyond all vanities. At the same time as my mind wandered towards that frightful future it thought back. Back to his NICU stay and all that dread and fear and longing. It was then that I sobbed. I wept with my child in my arms thankful he was home. Thankful that I had him to cling to. Even if it was only for a moment. Only if tomorrow he will resume is efforts to climb on table tops and jump on couches and many other things that raise my ire. For that moment, in that chair, listening to that song my son was mine and I was his and we were forever.