There is nothing like the picture of a sleeping child to make you believe in the good of the world again.

And there is nothing like the experience of holding a sleeping child that makes you believe the good in you as a parent. It is the confirmation at the end (or in the middle) of another long day, that you have done your job. That all the battles that need fighting have been fought well, and that once again, you have endured and overcome, with both panache and  pluck, the arduous demands of child-raising.

The (messy) preparation and (messier) delivery of sustenance, of some nutritional value.

The dramatic yet believable portrayal of certain fictional characters while drinking air and eating plastic cake.

The cleaning of (wet) crap-covered butts.

And at the end of it all, you are rewarded with a warm little face nestled against your chest in a trusting, restful embrace. The slow, rhythmic breathing, with the occasional snort or snore, that evokes such strong feelings of love that you will almost always let out a thankful sigh, while saying a silent prayer of gratitude to whoever it is you believe has given you this precious gift.

There’s no other job in the world that makes you work so hard, and yet makes you feel so damn blessed to be able do it.

Both my daughters have spent a considerable amount of time clinging on to me in slumber in the last four, five years. I remember spending most of the 36-hour journey from Malaysia to the US with both my then-three- and one-year old girls hanging on to various parts of my body that by the time I reached our new home, I’d slept for 12 hours straight. My husband thought that I’d slipped into a coma from lugging around all that extra ‘baggage’.

A sleeping child is a sign of a job well done. It is the one thing that assures us that for all our flaws and shortcomings, that there is at least one little person on God’s green earth that loves us enough to trust us so much, as to make us their mobile hammocks.

And that is the truly unique relationship of parent and child.


This is September’s Self Portrait Challenge is entitled With Someone“.