Benediction for parents of young children
Blessed am I for the crying. Really. Blessed am I for that very first piercing wail, for the sniveling and blubbering, for the anger and drama, for the whimpering and singing, for the yodels in sleep. Blessed am I for these triumphs of health and vitality, these clear, if grating gifts of communion and trust. Blessed am I for this silken skin, these pinching fingernails, these wide eyes. Blessed am I for this full diaper, this crusted nose, this spitty bib—life is being lived, this is its smell.
Blessed am I for the food I will prepare, for the bites that go into our mouths and for the bits that land on the ground. Blessed am I to have a dog, or if I do not, blessed am I for the opportunity to get down on my hands and knees three times a day and wipe up, noticing how big and strange the world is from down below. I give thanks for friends and family who cook well and share the spoils, for leftovers, frozen veggies and takeout. Blessed am I for my helpful appliances, for the electricity they need, for running water, toilets, washing machines. Blessed am I that in my worst moments I can still give thanks for my advantages, or at least shortly afterward, or at least now.
Blessed am I for help, for those who share the burdens of my caretaking and for the partner, friends or family who take care of me. Blessed am I for my own strength, innovation and creativity as a parent but also for public television, free libraries, highly infectious mall play areas (which ultimately enhance immune systems) and for public parks.
Blessed am I for the swings in the park, for the queer and lovely snow, for the lively leaves, for the warm grass, for the fascinating mud. Blessed am I for rain boots, mittens, sunscreen, hats, tricycles and wagons, balls, sticks, slides, and all the other little children who are more energetic and fun than I am. Blessed am I for these children’s parents, for their helpfulness and warmth, for the times they kindly keep their mouths shut.
Blessed am I for wheels—whatever child-conveyance they’re attached to. Blessed am I for carseats, seatbelts, safety harnesses and helmets, even if their straps twist maliciously and their buckles give me blood blisters. Blessed am I for doctors and nurses, even when they are wrong or rushed, and for band aids and antiseptic and tissues. Blessed am I for snacks. Blessed am I for a voice to sing with. Blessed am I for ears to hear invented languages and first words.
Blessed am I for bathtime and bedtime, for bubbles and squirt toys, for stories and clean diapers and stuffed animals and tired eyes. Blessed am I for the patience it takes to close these eyes. Blessed am I for the sleeping world, for evidence that nighttime is not playtime. Blessed am I for nightlights and monitors, for swings, slings and rocking chairs and vehicular transport, if necessary. Blessed am I for the moon and stars, for city lights and recorded classical music, for late night television programming and morning caffeine.
Blessed am I for chairs, for the sofa, for a bed.
Blessed am I for these moments of quiet.
Blessed am I for the noise.