more ladders than snakes


Two years ago today. There is no exit.

The sign on his incubator said INGLIS TWIN B and Hello! My name is Ben and I realized I had never known despair. Sixty mornings I turned from the elevator and down this hallway. Sixty times I had to remind myself it was real.

With finger and thumb, guess at three inches. That is the width of the diaper. Now imagine changing it.

Two months old, one month away from being considered full-term, and words like beauty and grace have new edges.

He came home at just under five pounds. In the mei tai people would point and gawk openly, unable to believe he was real. That can't be a baby one passerby hissed behind her hand. That's a doll.


Do you ever think to yourself what a glorious thing, I am alive today! You should. But you don't. Humans are never truly content, because we aspire for more than what we have. And so gratitude is fleeting. Which is just what it is.

With your eyebrows up there, you see, you soak up more good stuff. Try it.


We almost lost him and yet, I know this now: none of us have time to waste on fear. It doesn't matter what we believe, where we live, what lines we draw to exclude one another. There is no one alive who does not revel in the fart of a baby.

The night before his party I held him as he drank his milk.

Ben, can you say 'night-night'?

He pauses his gulping. Night-night.

I've never heard him say it before, and so I ask him for a favour. Ben, can you say 'Liam'?

Night-night, Liam

There it is. Gratitude.