Beyond the Land of Alarms

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In a couple of months, our little girl, Hadley, will be born.

Graham is almost two now, and running has become his primary form of communication.  Baby proofing the house was a funny joke.  And personal time and space was, I think, a course I took back in college—a long, long time ago.

For all their clumsiness, though, toddlers are blazingly fast.  Almost as soon as I heard the plunking sound of the paci hitting the toilet water, a dripping little hand had already retrieved it and put it back in his mouth.  I’ve prayed more than once that the 5-second-rule was something we didn’t just make up.

But I’m very excited.  I’ve learned that these kinds of parental failures live on the surface.  When all is still and quiet, I’m racked with thankfulness that I’m able to be a part of this little (and now second) life.

The other day I remembered what my nights were like just after Graham was born.  It was a period of a few weeks or a few years—it easily could have been either.  I was living from 8pm to 6am on a kind of fuzzy autopilot.  Some of it was awake and some of it was asleep.  But your guess is as good as mine as to which was which.

I’ve learned in the last couple of years that all that–that’s real.  Some people (usually grandparents) will listen to our war stories, and instead of responding with the appropriate horror, they’ll just give a kind little smile—the type that tells you that a story or two from their own young-parent days is about to come.  And then, almost inevitably, words like “miracle of life” and “little blessing” are being thrown around.  Let me tell you—the only miracle happening here is that that little bundle of joy is still alive.

Why is it that nobody tells you about the other stuff?  The sleepless nights that turn into endless days?  This is the real stuff.

But in a way—in a completely unexpected way—it’s this same stuff that makes that whole miracle-of-life talk real.  As I’ve reflected on these things, it’s the hard times that give it all its gravity.

What I can say this time around is that we are no longer naive.  At least that’s what I mutter as I rock my own self to sleep these nights.  Alarm clocks are sulfuric reminders that the hours of life are still moving, regardless of how hard the last few minutes have been.  And you know what, these little ones are totally worth it.

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