Tuesday, December 17, 2002

A Tenuous Link But It's All We've Got

Can't sleep and it reminds me of the night I had my son and also, couldn't sleep. Just reading about Gary and Fiona Turner's new baby and remembering that gigantic step over the threshold from non-parent to parent. I remember looking at my tiny baby, it's tiny finger wrapped around my massive pinky, noticing how completely vulnerable it was and that this link between us -- this strange new presence of life and spirit in this tiny baby package -- and my care and consideration for it -- this was the link that all of humanity, every generation, human life itself and all history was resting on. And I was stunned and shocked that this was possible. It seemed so tenuous.

Rank amateurs in the sweat of passion in the backs of cars or quickly rented hotel rooms were in charge of making the world as we know it. It was more than tenuous -- it was frightening. And more miraculous still that these same girls in ponytails and boys in leather jackets were entrusted to become moms up late in cold kitchens testing too hot baby formula on their wrists and dads shaving 365 days times 50 years and going to work every god damned day to keep their families afloat. It was all built on this. Surely there had to be some more solid underpinning to this world of rocks, dirt, oceans, stars than this tiny hand in my big hand.

I shuddered as my baby nuzzled me in his first moments on Earth, in the firm belief that he could find succor there, at my breast, and he could thrive in this world and all would be well. And looking down at him, I finally had to yield to the notion that maybe he knew better than I, knew better how to simply live. He really believed this could all work. He looked up at me and his dad and trusted that we knew what the hell we were doing. We weren't at all convinced at that point. But soon enough, he had somehow talked us both into it. And here we are, still making the world, reaching out, offering an open hand and kindness to anyone who wants to grab hold.