I really don’t take as many naps as I did before my wife and I had a child, but I am becoming a master of watching my son take naps. He is incredibly gifted at slumbering, and he recently started sleeping in his big boy crib. All things considered, the reason I blog about naps today is because I was thrilled by what Brooks did yesterday.
When he was only a few weeks old, Brooks would sprawl out across my chest a few times each week, eventually settling into a nice nap, and even drooling on my shoulder at times. It was adorable. However, as he underwent some growth between those initial days and his current nine-week old status, he matured. He grew into a bigger body, and I went back to work. Naturally, he became more and more accustomed to naps with mom, as she has a bond with him like no other and remains on maternity leave for a few more weeks. But last night, when I returned home from work, I was reminded that he isn’t all that big quite yet.
Often, if Brooks is going to have a cranky period, it seems to fall during the hours of my return from work. For a little while, I thought that my coming home was sending him into a frenzy–after all, what was I doing interrupting his peaceful day with mommy?!? But yesterday was so different. Not only was I allowed to sooth him, but I was able to hold him on my chest, reclining on the sofa, for an extended period of time. I hadn’t felt him spread over my torso so freely in weeks, and I was so happy that he decided I was again nap worthy. I was again comforting. Below is an image of him basking in glory of being totally at home with me:
These moments define my day and remind me how much my Brooks needs me. The truth about being a parent, and my truth about being a father, is that sometimes it can feel like your best efforts fall short. And maybe that is the case–but at least one can rest knowing that they gave each opportunity their finest attempt.
Having taught for the last eight years has informed me of the deep impact that one can have upon another, and that such an impact may never be verbalized. You might often hear the phrase “thankless job” in reference to a profession, a volunteer post, a relationship, or anything in between; however, the reality is that what may appear thankless is often something that is simply difficult, for whatever reasons, for people to communicate. I wonder how many years it took my parents to finally look at one another and say, “You know, we’ve done a great job. It’s apparent how much he appreciates us, too.” I’d like to think they felt that way for a long, long time, but having spent a great deal of time with teenagers over the past decade, I can say that it might be unlikely. I can say that they might have gone to bed some nights with great frustration, some nights with great joy, and some nights with bewilderment and confusion.
I guess what I can say with great confidence is that when taking into consideration all of the phases of my own life and that which I have witnessed my son undergo, I now understand why my mom sometimes still looks at me and says, “You’ll always be my baby.” When I look at Brooks, even though he is very much still a baby, I can see the boy that came to us in the delivery room the morning of February 16, and I can see just how much he’s grown in such a short span of time. So I guess I’ll be okay with less naps–I wouldn’t want to miss his.