ON PARENTING: As If I Were Your Mother

Awakening to an unconditional love

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MY SON WAS less than twenty-four hours old, and I knew he was going to die. The yellow cotton hat snuggled on his precious head, the brown handknit blanket securing his winging arms, he lay silently in the neonatal-ICU clear plastic crib. Veins no longer pricked, oxygen hood gone, lungs finally clear, he was healthy. Skye was coming home, yet I knew he would die. Some day.

I had studied the face of mortality before, my twelve-year-old mind racing in the dark of my room, momentarily grasping my inescapable death. I envisioned a time before me and a time after me, and the finality of it lay on my chest, breathed in my face. I wrapped its shrill cry in a blanket and rocked myself to sleep. But no amount of future thought or reading could prepare me for realizing simultaneously my son’s life and death.

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