Monday, August 13, 2012

A Sublime Parenting Moment

One of the things that kept me sane during many of those sleep deprived evenings I spent rocking Lukas in a seemingly vain attempt to get him back to sleep when he was a newborn was thinking of all the amazing experiences I would someday get to share with him.  I would imagine the excitement he would display when Mrs. LIAYF and I finally introduced him to his first taste of ice cream, or took him to his first baseball game, or to his first movie in a theater. Those sorts of things.

Of course, what really sustained me during those wee hours was imagining what I  myself would be feeling as I stood beside my son as he experienced those memory making events.

Well on Sunday night at 10:30 PM - long past Lukas' bed time, while the three of us were on our annual camping trip far from the lights of the city, we stepped out of our small cabin which sat at the edge of a rocky beach on Washington's Puget Sound and listened to the waves slap against the shore.  It was a warm afternoon, with the temperatures reaching into the mid 80's but had cooled quickly with the setting of the sun.

We brought our pillows, blankets, and a sleeping bag for Lukas which we lay upon the top of a picnic table just outside our door.  Lukas crawled in and laid on his back as instructed.  Mrs. LIAYF and I each also laid on our backs on a bench to either side of the table to make sure he didn't accidentally roll off.

Then, looking up into the sky, we waited.

Before long a streak of light shot across the sky in an amazing display.  "Did you see that buddy?!" I called up to him.  "Yeah! I saw it!" was his reply.  "Wasn't that pretty cool?" Mrs. LIAYF asked.  "It was! It was" he responded.   After not too much longer, another star shot across the sky headed towards the horizon.  We all let out a collective "Oooooooh!" as the flaming rock glanced off Earths atmosphere. 

A couple minutes later a bright light, too high to be an airplane and with lights not flashing, steadily made its way from West to East across the night sky.  "Do you know what the light is Lukas?" I asked him.  After getting no reply I told him it had to be the International Space Station.  As it moved further East, we watched the reflecting light of the Sun dim until it was no longer visible.  "Wow, that's cool" he finally responded. "And do you see that white streak running through the sky? That's the part of our galaxy of stars.  It's called The Milky Way."  "Mom, we can see Milky Way!" Lukas excitedly called out, even though she was right there for the entire conversation.

This night of watching the sky was the embodiment of what I had imagined 5 years ago as I held my newborn son in my arms.  To me this was sublime.

We stayed there, the three of us, laying on that picnic table for another half hour or so watching the Perseid Meteor Shower on full display.  In that time, we saw perhaps a half more dozen shooting stars, a few satellites moving in random directions, and also a couple of passing jetliners. 

Then, it was time to gather up our son and take him back to bed.

But before I left him with Mrs. LIAYF, who lovingly read him a story, I held him in my arms and told him that I loved him.  I might have even rocked him back and forth slightly.  We've certainly come a long way in the past 5 years.

Afterwards, he slept the whole night through.


Hey Monkey Butt said...

Awesome, our bright city offered us no chance to watch the shower. Sad a little but it is what it is. Maybe next time :/

Mrs. M said...

I bet Lukas will never forget that night. Sounds amazing.

neal call said...

I'm jealous, and eager. My daughter's still only 2.5, and she isn't going to sit/lay still long enough to watch for shooting stars anytime soon, but I can't wait until I can do this with her.

And there's nothing better than a good cuddle. My daughter has recently been asking me to rock her to sleep at night, ever since I explained to her that after she was born I used to put her to sleep at night by rocking her on my shoulder and singing songs. So now from her bed she says,

"Pwease wok me daddy? Yike a baby. Daddy wok Addison when a baby."

daniel said...

That was cool. I have a moment with my oldest at Yellowstone that I hope he remembers but I sure always will. It's sunrise over Old Faithful as it erupted. Point being to recognize these moments as they happen, not 30 years later.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Monkey - It's still going on, if you can take a trip outside the city for an evening.

@Teri - I hope not. I know I certainly will not.

@Neal - That's cute. No worries brother, your time will come soon enough.

@daniel - Yep, these moments are as much for us as they are for them.

J-Tony said...

Very awesome Dad moment. I too think about all the "firsts" with my kids. It's such a great feeling to watch them experience life. Way to go SeattleDad.

Just A Normal Mom said...

So awesome. We watched it with our almost 18 year old son while visiting family in Reno. Grandma even watched with us. It was a pretty cool moment, even with a teenager!

momnextdoor said...


jetts31 said...

Those are the moments that take place in one night but will last a lifetime. I love those moments. I wish they came more often. How great it was you were able to share it with your family.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@j-tony - Thanks. It was great for me for sure. And Lukas too.

@Just a Normal Mom - Cool that you got the whole family involved. It is Awe inspiring to watch on a clear, dark night. Made me feel small.

@Jetts31 - Thanks, it was. I am glad I can write about it and help it to live on.