Best laid plans are made to be sabotaged. And babies are made to sabotage them.
On Sunday night I was bound and determined (and frankly a bit excited) to wake up and launch into my recently resuscitated blogging pursuits. Early the next morning, I drank my first sips of coffee and collected my wits after an overstimulated night watching the Super Bowl and its garish accoutrements at my parents’ house, where we had slept over. But at 5:30 as I headed toward our laptop, repository of all my morning ruminations, I heard Danielle coming down the hallway with a baby in tow. Our wriggly, sleep-averse daughter had tossed and turned all night.
We exchanged groggy good mornings and Danielle headed for my parents’ sunroom in hopes that Violet would re-settle herself in a new location. Our mama’s girl is fond of me during daylight hours, but she loudly rages against being held by me (or presumably anyone else) during the graveyard shift. Our wee Violet only wants one person in the wee hours.
But something surprising happened in this moment. In the pre-dawn darkness, Violet reached her tiny arms out toward me. I gratefully took her snuggly little body and, as is my instinctual habit, inhaled a whiff of her sleep-scented scalp. I figured I would have about 1 minute, 2 tops, before she insisted on being returned to her mama, at which time I would launch into my blog.
I nestled onto the couch to enjoy that fleeting minute, but I could barely believe it when Violet made herself comfortable. Was she really going to fall asleep on my chest? That physical pleasure of parenting that surpasses almost all others? I vividly remember the few times that Greyson has drifted off in my arms while we were on a walk, and it’s a priceless feeling to cradle a tiny body as it surrenders to sleep. Pretty soon, Violet was breathing those slow, deep breaths that every parent knows (and loves) quite well. I felt honored and weirdly humbled.
But what about my best laid blogging plans? I had resolved in no uncertain terms that I would start this week strong, writing about the wonders and joys of fatherhood during the quiet morning hours before the kids woke up. On this morning, Violet clearly had different ideas.
So here’s my takeaway, which should go without saying but which I think we all (and especially I myself) need to be reminded of in this modern age.
Parenting is vastly superior to writing about the joys of parenting. Experiencing a thing is vastly superior to posting on social media about experiencing a thing. Being present in a moment is vastly superior to taking a picture of that moment. Living life is superior to reflecting on the wonders of living life.
Blogging and all other forms of reflection are not ends in and of themselves. The moment you prize the public documentation of an experience, or even the careful written reflection about an experience, ahead of the actual climbed-into, lived-in reality of the experience itself, is the moment you lose the plot entirely.
Violet slept on my chest for more than an hour and a half that morning, and we woke up together in the dawn’s early light. Other than the times we spend out in nature together, it was one of the most special moments I’ve ever shared with her.
Our children give us gifts when we least expect it. And I’m grateful that my little girl gave me the gift of that moment by holding her arms out to me in the darkness.
Blogging can wait. Facebook can wait.
The world can wait.
P.S. Violet is a very sweaty sleeper. 🙂