When I was younger and had no wife and no child, no girlfriend, no job, no prospects, I sometimes imagined what it would be like to be a dad. After lamenting for a little while, since being a dad seems to entail the rest of that list, I imagined that probably one of the best parts of being a dad was letting your son or daughter sleep on your chest, while you, too, slept. I imagined this being such a good part of being a dad in part, I think, because of the blurry memories I had of sleeping on my own dad’s chest.
Lately, rather than put him down in his bed for his morning nap, I have put Jonah on my chest. We sleep together on a reclining chair, his baby snores putting me to sleep, his little fist clutching a snag of my T-shirt.
Let me tell you, it is every bit as good, even better, than I’d imagined. At times I reflect that I have come through all kinds of painful things, had to endure years of things I won’t talk about here, but things that are nonetheless very painful. Then, sometimes, especially when I am lying down with Jonah and he’s sleeping on my chest, I am aware that all that past pain was worth it, that I would do it all again in a second, if it meant that I could arrive again at getting to be Jonah’s dad. What a gift he is.