::the center of the universe

20 11 2006

For probably a month or so now, my son Liam has been getting up in the middle of the night and getting into bed with us.  He comes to my side of the bed and gently wakes me up and climbs up on top of me.  It makes for quite a crowd and sometimes I try to convince him to go back to his own bed, but it is very sweet and I have a hard time not really liking it.

This morning he followed this routine and came to me about 1:30.  “Daddy,” he said as he put his hand on my chest, “I want to cuddle with you.”

I lowered the covers and pulled him into bed with one hand, and he nuzzled down into my neck as I covered him up, and was almost immediatly asleep on top of me.  This is probably one of my favorite parts of the day. 

A few hours later the alarm went off and reminded me that, being Monday, this is one of the two days per week that I drive 100 miles to San Jose.  I got out of bed and decided to snooze the alarm instead of getting up right away, and Liam lifted himself up and snuggled against me as I got back into bed.  He whispered “I love my daddy,” as he wrapped his arm around my neck in, frankly, a really uncomfortable way and gave me a kiss.  I rubbed his back and gave him a squeeze.

The Sun, to turn a phrase my wife uses, shines out of my kids’ asses.  This can be kind of awkward when changing an early morning diaper, but is generally pretty cool.  I worship my kids, all three of them, and try to let that fact be known with frequent affirmations and the occassional ritual sacrifice.  I constantly tell each of them that they are the best ever.  Liam is the best Liam ever, Zachary is the best Zachary ever, and Elliot is the best Elliot ever.  I even have stupid little songs that I make up for them as I go along.  Though Zachary has long since moved on from this sort of thing, and recently rebutted with “Jim is the dorkiest Jim ever.”

So this morning as Liam was falling back to sleep he whispered, “Daddy is the best daddy ever,” and I just about cried. 

When I finally surrendured to the alarm and got out of bed, he was fast asleep and stayed that way as I padded through the house and got ready to go.  I was about to leave and I heard him stirring and talking.  I went back to the bed to comfort him so he wouldn’t wake up the baby.  He immediately clutched my arm and told me I couldn’t go to work.

“I have to go to work today, but I’ll be back soon.” I reassured him. 

“It’s not working time yet.  It is still sleeping time, and you have to get back into bed with me.”  He firmly told me. 

“Close your eyes, and I’ll hold you until you fall asleep,” I told him.

He rolled over, holding onto me firmly, and closed his eyes.  “If you got lost I would be sad,” he said, and I could tell he was on the verge of tears. 

When I get home from work every day, Liam, and recently Elliot, come running.  Liam throws his arms around me and gives me a bear hug and a rough kiss, and usually tries to pull me down and pounce on me.  He’s totally over the top with excitement.  Elliot squeals and practically stretches his face grinning.  In the last week or so, he’s started chanting “Da, Da, Da,” as I pick him up.  I have to hold him for at least 5 minutes, otherwise he follows me around crying until I pick him up.  Sometimes I even get lucky and Zac enthusiastically throws me a hug, overacting it like he hasn’t seen me in months. 

I don’t remember what it was like to be overcome with love for my dad.  To think he was the coolest thing since sliced bread and to want to include him in every moment of his day.  I do remember still being very young and already feeling the distance between us.  I remember going to Science Camp and telling my mom that I knew he would be happy to have me gone for a week.  I remember dreading his arrival at home from work, knowing he would be in a bad mood because he hated his job.  I remember–or think I remember–wondering if he hated me too, because without me he wouldn’t necessarily need to do what he hated day after day.  This seems like a very big concept for a child to grasp, so I very well could be wrong about it.  Maybe I’m just projecting back a little too much.

I remember so desperately wanting to be loved by him, wanting to feel the love coming from him, and so desperately not wanting to be the disappointment that I was (and am?) to him.

I want my kids to know, despite the fact that I am sometimes one of the worst parents ever! and sometimes inspire so much frustration and rage that they really have no alternative than to throw themselves to the floor and flail about, that the sun shines out of their asses each and every day. 

So I climbed into bed next to him and spooned him, despite being late already and having a huge chunk of work to do this morning before 8AM arrived and the barrage of meetings started.  “If I am lost,” I told him, “I will always find you.  You’re the best Liam ever, and you’ll never lose me.”  

And when I could tell by his breathing that he’d drifted back to sleep, I kissed his cheek and wiped away the saltiness of his tear. 

I love my boys.  They are the best boys ever.