When You Sleep

Dear Son,

“The Flash” is a TV show I’m sure I’ll introduce you to when you’re old enough, maybe both versions, the current one playing in 2017, and the one that was on air in the early 90s, when I was the same age I imagine you are when you’re reading this letter for the first time.

The third season concluded a few weeks ago. It was okay, at best. It definitely didn’t come close to the brilliance of the first season, and I doubt any future season ever will. But there was one moment this last season that sticks with me. It makes me think of you.

Minor spoilers ahead, son. But that’s okay. Life is short; you have to read some spoilers every now and then.

So there’s this scene late in the season where Detective Joe West is sitting on the couch with his adult daughter, Iris. They both know Iris is destined to die in a few days at the hands of the season’s Big Bad, Savatar. They know this because of, well, time travel shenanigans.

Joe feels helpless to protect his daughter, and to convey his helplessness, he tells her how he would watch vigilantly over her when she was lying in her crib while she slept when she was an infant. He was terrified she would stop breathing and die, because sometimes, sadly, that does happen with newborns. He would watch her sleep every night, and often times, even place his hand on her chest to just will her to keep, keep breathing. (The actor who plays Joe is the unsung hero of this show, able to deliver such great, touching moments like these.) You were a couple of months old when it episode first aired, and when I watched it, it was like a punch in the gut.

I know how Joe felt.

I don’t dramatically watch over you as you sleep at night, but oh, how often your mom and I check on you. Even though you sleep in our room, we have the baby video monitor on the bed between us so we can check on you. If you sleep more than a few hours, I’ll awake anxious, and sneak over to your crib and place a hand on you to make sure you’re still breathing.

When you go down to sleep a little too quickly, I worry about that too.

I so often feel neurotic about this worry your mom and I have, but I’m told it’s perfectly normal, and it goes away a little more and a little more as the first year mark approaches. Knowing your mom and I, we’ll keep on worrying even longer.

You probably don’t understand this just yet, and likely won’t until if and when the time comes for you to have kids of your own.

But the silver lining: Every morning, when I hear you stirring and I walk over to your crib, and I see your eyes light up when you see me, it is a little miracle. Pulling you into the bed with us and snuggling as a family – Jessica Jones too – for a few minutes is my favorite part of the day.

Love,

Dad