While They Sleep

by Frederick Egan Castleberry

It's this thing that parents do...watching their children sleep. It's like an out of body experience, hovering above an unconscious version of yourself. Everything becomes clear—your purpose, your existence, your wonder of angelic beings, because this is what they must do...hover...wait...watch. The only sound the gentle exhale of two collapsing lungs.

Sometimes I'll bring my ear down to his chest. Within that soft shell swells an ocean, waves beating the shore like a distant drum. It's ataractic. Out of that tranquility surfaces a hope bottled up in these little ones. A hope they'll do more than I have or ever will. A hope they make a path with fewer mistakes. A hope they will just be...better. Maybe we watch them sleep at night so that we can.