This blog post was originally intended to be a reflection on how the beauty of shared parenting reveals the true design of parenthood. I was going to discuss the many times when Alison has been there to help ease my struggles with caring for Benedict and how our system ensures a consistent experience for Benedict. As I sat down to write this post a few weeks ago, Benedict was crying. Usually he's asleep at 5am on a Saturday morning, so this behavior was unusual. I waited a few minutes to ensure that he was actually awake, not wanting to disrupt what may have been just a momentary expression of emotion after a bad dream.
I concluded that he likely just needed some clean pants. I intended to briefly get him up, change him, and then lay him back down for the balance of his rest. As I opened the door, the waves of heat hit me. I immediately looked down to see his space heater had not shut-off as it should have, and instead was giving me a reading of hot, hot, hot! Benedict was hot and unhappy. Who could blame him?
I got him up and placed him in bed with Alison, who until that moment was asleep. I got him a cup of cold water and a cool cloth for his forehead. He cooled down and calmed down, but was awake and playful. Alison, still tired from a week of work, asked me to take him back and so, at 5:52am, with less than half of my writing complete, I stopped working and took him downstairs.
For me, this story is the embodiment of what it means to be a parent. More than that, it demonstrates the innate code that each one of us carries within ourselves to be nurturing parents. The situation was urgent and, without thinking, I acted. Although Saturday early morning is my one time during the week to write, there was something more important afoot.
Alison, though tired, made the same sacrifice. Sleep is crucial to health and wellbeing, and yet she was willing to give it up to comfort her child. She asked me to take Benedict at the appropriate time when it was evident that he wouldn't be going back to sleep, but she was nonetheless willing to sacrifice her sleep to care for her child.
Just as there are clues within nature that point to the ordered way in which we are to live our lives, so too are there clues within our behaviors and choices that point to the way we are to care for children. I'm thankful to have Alison by my side as my wife, teammate, and partner in life to care for and raise our children.