Friday, February 8, 2008

Max (1/?)

Having one child and the potential complications that go along with graduating that child into an unpredictable world in a predictable space takes more effort than I anticipated. I figured raising and living with my child would be difficult but rewarding. In reality the difficulty comes from me stretching to understand pain expressed in a quiet but far reaching cry. Interpreting not only my child, but my wife as she passed through moments of what seems to be unending undulating pain in the delivery room.

When my wife, Alyssa, had contractions she would squeeze my hand to have something tangible and physical to hold helping her to endure the internal pain of active labor. I was fortunate enough to see a chart of each contraction that would spike when Alyssa's contraction peaked in intensity (Alyssa would clench my fist during this period) and flatten out when the contraction neared it's end, tying me in a profound way to the initial and painful sacrifice necessary for birth. I mistakenly figured the times between contractions were times for Alyssa to rest free of discomfort.

When Max was born, I looked forward to performing an amazing rite -- watching a child clench it's fist on my finger. The feeling is always surprising to me because I get to understand the contrast between soft fresh skin and the force coming from a newborn's hand over an inch of space.