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I wish I had known a year ago how happy I would end up being, or how much I would enjoy this boy.

When he was born I thought he looked like a spaceman, someone who has come on a long journey and from far away. He had deep-space eyes. Undersea eyes. Dark grey and liquid and unfocused. He wasn't my son as I know him, then. He was a cranky traveller complaining about the service.

I adore Matei, but I feel little sense of connection with him. We are so different in our appearance and our interests that I most often feel that we're barely related. When I see him I don't see myself, I see someone who is his own person and has been from the beginning.

Matei didn't come into this world to please me or bond with me. I am part of the scenery for sure, but laregely I feel superfluous. I am the flesh that housed him, the tunnel through which he barged into the world. I am the meal-provider, the comforter, the supervisor, the cheerleader, the orifice-wiper. He is very fond of both me and his father, running towards us multiple times a day to hug us and our legs, but we are still small fry, the ballast.

Matei's primary interest is the world. He is the rock and box climber, the intrepid explorer. Beyond the reaches of the playpen jungles wait for him, the mountains beckon, the seas shift and stir for him. I know what he hungers for is so much larger than what I can provide. I am a stepping stone, always have been.

If any of that sounds sad, it doesn't feel sad. He doesn't need to be gazing at me with fanboy love for me to find him delightful. It is enough to watch his passion for bottle caps, or his precariously stacked block towers, or his love songs to the cats. It is enough to listen to his high-pitched laboriously-crafted words (Gimme and That at the beginning, followed by No and All Gone and Cat which led me to wonder who those mythical children were who chanted Mama; however as of last week Z and I are also part of his vocabularly, he grins widely and presents us with our names offers them up with outflung arms like a gift of bright flowers).

I remember how a year ago I wanted to punch in the eye every single person who told me to 'enjoy it because it goes by so fast!' because time couldn't pass fast enough for me and each endless night dragged on like a punishment.

I wish I could go back in time and find that despairing, sleep-deprived me. I wish I could give her a hug and stroke her hair and tell her to go have a nap while I watched the baby. I wish I could tell her that everything would work out all right, and that he'd learn to sleep and stop demanding food every 3 seconds and that he'd turn out to be beautiful and fierce and charming and sociable and more clever than she'd dare imagine. Of how proud she'd be of him when he learned to walk, and how much prouder still when he stopped trying to throw himself bunjee-style off high surfaces in favour of descending feet-first instead. How he'd stop arching his body back like a bow every time when she tried to soothe him, and how she'd stop resenting getting woken in the night. How on a perfect cold, bright day they'd stand together in the garden and how he'd be self-importantly picking up leaves one by one and putting them in the bin and how she'd be clapping her hands and laughing and he'd be grinning and looking fit to burst with pride at his accomplishments, and how the sky above them was vast and clear and exultant with winter light.

It is difficult to equate the person he is now, with the irascible infant he was last year, or the newborn with his cross wavy hands. It is similarly difficult to picture who he will become - the talking toddler, the self-sufficient boy, the surly teenager. I look at him and I see all the other ones waiting, stacked inside like Russian dolls.

And above all I feel this immense, sweeping gratitude at having been granted this person, this child. Having been allowed to watch him moving ahead excited and determined, throwing out his arms to meet the horizon.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
rainsinger
Feb. 27th, 2009 11:44 am (UTC)
Hello! This is a pleasant surprise - I didn't know you were still on here.

How are things with you?
dubaiyan
Feb. 25th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
It was difficult to read your posts then too D: SHELL SHOCK.
rainsinger
Feb. 27th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
? Convoluted, or boring, or something else?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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rainsinger
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