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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

The Parent of All Virtues or How My Son Saved My Life

By the time I hit 40 I was utterly over myself. Tired of the sound of my own voice. Bored stiff by my too-often-told lame jokes. I yearned more than anything for the renewal of a child.

The road to that child was long and tortuous. So much so that I thought the lights might go out in my eyes forever. So when, at last, that child arrived, I first began to understand the true meaning of “we.”

I joined my wife, Jodi, on the post-partem room bed and we watched our hours-old son fall asleep with Jodi’s nipple in his slightly opened mouth. His baby blues hid behind miniature eyelids and his fingers rested gingerly against Jodi’s hand. It was the most serene moment I had ever seen in forty-four years, and it triggered another tidal wave of what Cicero called the parent of all other virtues —gratitude. You could have poked me in the eye with a kabob skewer and I would have said, “Hey, did you see my healthy son?”

And in the midst of this wonderous sense of thankfulness, another new sensation began to emerge, one equally as potent. I knew absolutely that if faced with the awful choice of him or me, I would plunge the knife into my own chest without hesitation. Now that, grim as it sounds, felt refreshing.

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