Last weekend we went to the Science Museum. It was excellent, fun on a whole new level because he kept pointing up at things and we kept explaining 'stars' 'airplane' 'light' and he found it all amazing - so much so that he was unwilling to abandon all the marvellous things in order to indulge in something as mundane as an afternoon nap. And then afterwards we went to the Under 5s area where he had a marvellous time putting hardhats and giant legos in a box and then removing them again, and later still we all sat on the steps of the cafeteria and Z spoon fed him goo and that right there is my purest source of happiness in this life.
In the months after he was born I thought of looking after him as A Meanwhile State, a thing I had to do before I could be on to other (by which I mean better) things. I was filling in as a full-time carer to Inconsolable Monkey but that was just a temping job. I was meant for greater things. A vocation, my true life's purpose, unwritten books, unpainted art- all fretful and restless inside me, waiting to be born.
But on the steps of that cafeteria looking at the patient man and the goo-smeared child, for the first time I thought differently. Realised that even if the rest of my life I stay only this (supervisor/feeder/cheerleader) and my star never rips the sky with its blazing I will feel a sense of achievement from knowing that I made this being, this child. That I have watched him grow, guided his steps, admired his efforts, held his hand when he was frightened in the dark.
Perhaps I will never be the therapist I know I can be. Perhaps I will be thought brilliant by a handful and beautiful by one man and one child, but truly perhaps they are the only ones whose opinions matter. And I wonder if this is how my father felt when he chose not to follow the path of his talents but instead had me.
I thought before I had this child that I would try hard not to change my life, but that was the most misguided thing ever. I might as well have been forbidding the rivers from flowing. But the sky has split open and the earth has shaken and stars have wheeled and turned.
My life has changed and I with it am completely altered. Maybe I am being unfairly treated and criticised and judged, but to one person I am the world. And his hand reaching up towards the lamps and lights pulls my heart with it - both puppetmaster and deepest source of joy.
Originally uploaded by rainsinger.