There's a slew of sick babies on my facebook news feed. This is one of the reasons I tend to avoid facebook. I prefer to remain ignorant of sick babies.
These generally are sick babies who are born to families that love and adore and very much want them. Often they're born to parents whose marriages are intact, and maybe there are older siblings. These are stories that were supposed to be good and are ending in tragedy. It's heartbreaking.
But for me, it's also terrifying. Because I don't have an adoring husband right now. There's only one pitter-patter on my floors. And as much as I'd like that situation to change, the fact remains that for now, it's just the two of us. So if my baby were to become a sick baby, I would be the only one left. I can't look at the photos without seeing my son. I can't read the stories without playing the scenario out in my personal situation. I can't breathe for all of the "what if that happened to us" crowding my lungs. So I look away, scroll down, close the browser window.
Maybe this shows just how self-centered I am. And I do struggle with my own selfishness, every single day. I think that's what being a parent is -- a daily confrontation with your own selfishness. If you're a parent and you give a rat's behind, then you know exactly what I mean.
When I read about sick babies, dying babies, babies that didn't make it, I cry. I say a prayer for the child, for the caregivers, for the families left in the wake. I pray for the parents and their marriages, sending them strength in the face of unspeakable, potentially destructive pain. I pray for any older and younger siblings, that their heritage not be one of shadows, loss, and shoes that are impossible to fill. And I find my little boy, catch his eye, and try for a smile....ever grateful that he is there and smiling.
The truth is, though, that I very rarely read about these tiny children fighting their enormous battles. But their stories are never far from my mind -- the ones I know and the ones I don't. The heartbreak, the fear, and the gratitude, always braided together in the background.