Whoever coined the expression "sleep like a baby" obviously hasn't spent very much time around infants. Babies are not renowned for their positive sleeping habits. They wake up every few hours to eat if they need to be changed. Sometimes they fuss between feedings and some even cry incessantly. To sleep like a baby suggests a night of frequent disruptions and discomfort.
The amazing thing about babies is not their ability to sleep but their parents' ability to put up with the lack thereof. A miracle of hardwiring, we jump at the piercing sound of a baby's cry (specially formulated by the Almighty to be impossible to ignore) and run to attend to his/her needs.
We feed on demand, burp on demand, change on demand. We are completely devoted slaves from day one. Only the Almighty could have created such a phenomenon.
And from our children we learn the depth and potential of our love and capabilities. We know that we can go long hours without sleep. We know that if our children need us, we have a reservoir of strength within us that we can draw on. And that we will continue to draw even as the reservoir runs dry.
We know from those middle-of-the-night trips to the Emergency Room that our love is boundless, that there are no limits to what we would do for our children.
We know from our struggles with children over so many issues -- physical, psychological, you name it -- that we will never give up, that there are unplumbed depths to our love, that we have strength we didn't even recognize.
And part of the blessing of having children is gaining this understanding, is learning who we could be and what we could do if we fully understood the untapped potential of each human being.
Another part of the blessing is what we learn about our relationship with the Almighty. For as much as we love our children (As I used to tell my kids "I love you so much I can't take it!"), He loves us more. As much as we would do for our children (and we've all heard the stories of superhuman acts of strength by parents to save their endangered children), He would do more. And as much as we never give up on our children, the Almighty believes in us even more. He sees our potential more clearly, He knows our abilities. He recognizes the goodness in our souls.
We think that we are doing all the giving when we parent. But this is what parenting gives us -- a true and deep recognition of the good in all of us. And the knowledge that there are no limits to our ability to act on it.