It’s been a really long time since I blogged here about the comings and goings of life with two little boys. When the blog began (9+ years ago) I journeyed much more of the day-to-day raising, the emotional swings and glories, the experience practicing pediatrics, and the maneuvers it took to endure it all. And to enjoy it. I shared so much with the public then because I was learning that it could both be beautiful and meaningful for me to do so as a writer and pediatrician, but also could position the relevance of new science and bring the importance of believing it when making decisions (hint: vaccinate) into scope.
Work and life and my mind have gotten busier. The boys have gotten bigger. I’ve more fiercely protected their privacy in not sharing as many stories here. I’ve moved ideas and storytelling to other more constrained channels (TV, Instagram, Twitter, Alexa, speaking, new work). In the beginning, there were loyal readers and commenters; I would think about them when moments happened and I’d sit down to write in part because I wanted to share with them how I felt and why it mattered. So we could raise our children as best we could, together. And I know we haven’t grown the blog up over time, in fact, the way it looks today is exactly the way it looked when I wrote the first post in 2009. So in some ways it’s slowed down as my efforts at work and in digital health have really picked up.
But this morning there was a moment that swept me sideways a little. It was just so pretty. All of the sudden I wanted to share it here with you. And some of those long-ago loyal readers. So if this reaches you Viki, please enjoy.
Like a twinkle you see in a dark sky, the one you can sometimes feel might have traveled through the universe at the speed of light just for you to notice the change of light, my little boy did something he’s always done. And it felt as big as that kind of twinkle in a far-off sky. I know I’m possibly the only one on the planet, maybe the universe, who could see the history in it. Who could feel gravity in it. The bounty in knowing it’s just he who it belonged to. A fingerprint of who he is and who he has always been. And it was one of those triumphant moments in being alive. I’m not overstating that, I know you know them. One of the moments in being a parent that is so big and yet so undetectable to anyone else it’s hard to hold in your mind. Or even share with someone else. It could look trivial at first glance. It could feel small or irrelevant to another when spoken. But when you raise a child this is something you know….that regular life, regular little moments, can fuel the empire of your soul.
I’ll try to explain it. And I may not be able to. But I know you know these moments and I want to connect with you knowing them. The ones where you’re reminded that the love you have for your child and the devotion you feel to your child amasses something almost uncontainable.
It was a regular morning this morning. We were buzzing around, readying for school, walking the dog, making the coffee later than we wanted, ensuring the plan for the school day and pick-up and work schedules were intact. Like the middle of January every year, the sky was darker than anyone wants it to be. The air in the house just a tiny bit cool as the heater worked it’s way up to the set temperature. And the moment, the twinkle, the one that happened for me came quickly. But I’ll remember it a long time and I know I’ll get to see it again.
My sweet 10 year old was eating oatmeal. Moving the sticky around in the bowl and occasionally taking a bite. I had that truly blessed feeling I can get when I watch my children eat – the divine pleasure in being a part of nourishing and growing them. So I suppose on some level I was primed for this to happen. I was already feeling so connected and content being at the table with him. But then he did this thing. The thing that he’s always done and I’ve never seen or known in another. He did it the very first time I put a spoonful into his mouth. It’s always felt an emblem to me of his spirit, his willingness to enjoy almost anything that happens to him in a way bigger than everyone around him. And this little bite of oatmeal was no different. He took his spoon, filled it up and then brought it to his mouth. But just before he put it in, both of his eyes opened up a little wider. His eyelashes raised up and his eyes –like his mind and his soul — seemed to take the moment in. Like his eyes were saying just what he feels about so many things, “yum.” His anticipation for the oatmeal as his anticipation for the rest of his life.
And it was just that.
That little thing that only he does. That his eyes bite his experiences just before he does. The involuntary fingerprint way he enjoys and eats up his life. And in that moment when I recognized my sweet Oden just as he is, I felt so whole. In love and present and washed with the enormous bounty at once in being a parent and being alive.