March 24th, 2006
The chalky, sweet smell of baby powder. Soft, delicate skin and contented cooing. A baby looks up at you with complete trust, and when you look back into those beautiful, innocent eyes, you feel so much love that your heart aches. Your devotion is total.
The light odor of socks and urine from a three-year-old boy while he uses the toilet, barely awake, as you sit on the edge of the bathtub next to him, barely awake, because he needed your help finding it in the dark and quiet after midnight. Breathing quietly, together, in the darkness.
Shouts of “Daddy! Daddy!” and the sound of tiny feet clomping down the hallway as they run to greet you. Giant hugs from little arms. Unbridled, unconditional love.
Crying in the night for a comforting touch. Holding her against your chest as you stumble in circles at 3am, the only thing that calms her and allows your spouse a few minutes of rest. Living in a constant state of near-exhaustion.
Overwhelming pride when they start to do things that you taught them. Tying shoes. The first time they read a story to you.
Washing clothes. Making dinner. Tiny bandages and tiny kisses for tiny knees. Making it better.
And it doesn’t end. And there are no breaks when you are ill. And every day it goes on and on and on. And it’s a wonderful privilege.
This is what being a parent is.