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The Midnight Smile

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

I never thought that being sick and up past midnight on a Thursday could be so awesome.

Vinny, our little guy, had caught something at day care last week, and by Tuesday we were both sick. I had a cough and congestion; he had a runny nose and respiratory issues. By Thursday night, his breathing had become labored and he was wheezing. My wife was more concerned about his breathing than I was. Chalk it up to a difference between moms and dads, I guess.

So she decided to call the doctor’s office (the answering service actually), and when we got a call back from Vinny’s doctor, she suggested that we take him to the all-night medical clinic.

We got there at around 8:30 p.m. After filling out many forms and waiting for many long minutes, we finally saw a nurse and a doctor. They put Vinny back on the nebulizer, making this the third time he has had to use it. They also gave him a dose of steroids to reduce the inflammation.

By the time this was all done, it was midnight. We were finally at the front desk checking out, and I was filling out more forms. My own congestion and coughing were getting worse, and I was falling asleep on my feet.

You may be wondering where the “awesome” part of this comes in...

Well, as I was filling out some medical form, I looked over at Vinny sitting in my wife’s lap. He was about 20 feet away. When he saw me looking at him, he flashed the most beautiful smile. I smiled back at him and said, “Hey Vinny!”

With that smile, my discomfort from the last 4 hours disappeared. My congestion and fatigue diminished.

I realized at that moment that this was not about me.

So what if I did not get to sit at home watching TV. So what if I did not get to surf the Internet or read a book. I had spent the last four hours, with my wife, making sure that our son was ok. And when he smiled at me, I knew that I had done something that was infinitely more important and fulfilling than any “self actualizing” activity I could have done with “my” time.

I get miniature versions of this feeling when I look at my son sleeping at night. I realize that even if I thought my day was “bad” that it was actually perfect if, at its end, my son is sleeping peacefully and comfortably in his crib.

In light of recent articles about “hating our lives, but loving our children,” which I blogged about here, my son’s midnight smile at the 24-hour medical clinic reconfirmed to me that when you love your children, and you are dedicated to their lives, nothing can make your own life less than beautiful.

Vinny's perfect smile

Topics: new dads, Baby Vinnny

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