Ten fingers. Ten toes. Oh, thank God!
That is pretty much the immediate thought that fires through your head when your son is about to enter reality and your mind is suddenly swimming with the amount of narcotics masqueraded as living life while in your early twenties.
If only your concern for a healthy, happy child ended in that instance.
For the first few months of Jack’s life he reinforced a supernatural belief I had always secretly maintained for my first born: he was immortal. He was big (99 percentile as far as height). He was healthy (weight was completely average for his height). He was strong. He was Jack. After receiving his first round of shots you would have thought that some one was merely tickling his foot with a feather. He was everything a guy could want in a son. A superman. A superman that I touted and celebrated as a country that had just swept the Olympics might celebrate their athletes. He was Jack. He was invincible. However, then (as it does) the world went and took him down a few notches.
On some random Tuesday, Jack bit his lip. He bit his lip and I saw something that I was not prepared for. For the very first time I saw my son’s blood. He didn’t even seem to notice, and though I adopted his passive demeanor, I was emotionally floored by this sudden eruption of fragility. Jack was not immortal. He was one of us. He was human and he was just as susceptible to the same injuries and ailments that we all are. Soon after, my sister (against my better judgement) gave Jack his first egg. Our doctor had mentioned slowly introducing eggs into his system, so we had given him pancake before. So, we didn’t object. He loved it. He licked his fingers with each delicious handful of scrambled goodness. An hour later he had a full on allergic reaction. Red faced and breaking out in hives I looked at my miserable looking son and apologized. He looked down at me with a “What the fuck were you thinking?” face and I cradled him as his skin quickly cleared and his jovial nature returned.
Once again, Jack was not immortal. He was, despite his strength and size, still a baby. Even though he can kick me in the stomach with a blow that would’ve killed Houdini, he is still only 10 months old. He still needs the protection of his mommy and daddy. So, that’s what we’re here for. Even when he hates it. Even when the only reason we can give him for making him cry is “it’s for your own good”, we’ll be there for him. He will continue to be strong and healthy so long as we are as well.
Jack is mortal. So are we.