I had been talking with my friend.
I’d been up late the night before, rocking my infant son to sleep. I was complaining to my friend about how tired I was.
He brought me up short with the comment, “That’s a privilege I don’t have anymore.”
I’m pretty sure he was refering to the fact that his kids had already grown up. Which would have been enough, right there. But the thing that had brought me up short was the fact that it was only just a year before that I had lost my only child, my daughter Olivia. Only just a year before, I really had lost that privilege, and as far as I knew at the time, could easily never have that privilege again.
And there I was complaining because I’d gotten to stay up a lttle too late late rocking my son to sleep.
I remember for the next few weeks, I whispered over and over to myself, “This is a privilege, this is a privilege,” as I rocked him in my arms. Wanting to be different just wasn’t enough. I had to have practice.
And I still do.
And I get to.
Over the last several years I’ve gotten to do some really hard things.
One of the hardest of them was deciding to raise my three sons on my own.
It was absolutely the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But given the circumstances in our home, it was exactly what I had to do. And there were still oh so many days when I didn’t want to, when I knew that they disn’t want me to, and when I didn’t think that I could, and when I didn’t think I would even get to.
But I did.
And I couldn’t be more grateful.
It’s taken three and a half years. From that decision to where we’re at now, of just doing the next right thing, of just letting it be, even when it hurt, even when it hurt them, and just watching and listening to that still small voice inside of me, and letting it all unfold, to get to a place where we are now, and know that everyone is safe, and we get to live a life that has actually kind of settled.
And it’s nice.
They’re too big to rock to sleep now, but I still get to read to them, mostly. Julian, the youngest is already getting pretty good at reading on his own. Maxwell, the middle child, climbs down from his bunk and sits with us as we read together. Nicholas reads on his own in his bed. Then I get to lie down with each of them, and tuck them in and tell them that I love them. And they tell me I’m the best dad a son could ever have.
And I just get to say thank you.
And that’s really pretty nice.