18 December 2010

Strange Devotion

Tomorrow, it will be nine months since I met the little stranger who has become so dear to me. How close can one person grow to another in nine months? How permanent can such an affection be? What sort of bond grows this fierce this quickly?

I suppose there's really not much special about him yet. Yes, he makes cute noises and does cute things. No, he's never said a hurtful word or done a malicious thing, as far as I know. But in these respects, he is no different from any other infant. Or kitten, for that matter.

So why do I ache for his life to be beautiful? Why do I long for him to have his heart's desire? Why would I do literally anything in my power to spare him pain?

This morning, I sat on the couch reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (an excellent read, by the way). My little boy was standing on the floor, supported with his arms on the couch, making charmingly ineffective essays at walking.

When he stopped trying to walk and laid his tired little head against my left arm, the strangest feeling rushed through me. It was an overwhelming urge to protect, to sacrifice, to eliminate anything that might sadden this child. I think it's the closest I have ever been to wishing my soul could perish so another might live.

I'm sure there are many reasons why the Lord makes babies so attractive to parents. Probably the main one is for survival -- the cuter a baby is, the less likely we are to begrudge him the innumerable inconveniences he necessitates. But I'm convinced that another reason is the one I experienced this morning. Somehow, in some small way, this baby has taught me what it means to love my child so much that I would gladly sacrifice everything for his good.

And if I would sacrifice everything, then I will surely give him all the good things I can for as long as I am entrusted with his care. Sort of reminds me of something...