You’re five months today and I’m still not sure where the time has gone. Maybe before you were born I had all the time in the world, even though I thought I possibly couldn’t have less of it. I didn’t understand less time until August 8th, the day you were born.
I’ve been meaning to write to you again, there are so many little details that I wanted to capture before I’d forgotten them. I’ve failed to do so. I watched you lying on your back the other day and I remembered this little thing you did when you were first born. It was something you and I shared on those endlessly long nights while you suffered with food allergies and the pain that came with it.
But I’ve forgotten what it was, and I can’t remember now for the life of me.
So, before I forget, I’m immortalizing you in the now. Because you won’t always be this way, or even for very long.
Life has changed, for the record. I look back at the romanticizing, aggrandizing pre-father me and want to punch his cloud nine dopey face. Because he has no idea what he’s in for. While everything I wrote was through a pair of glasses with broken rose coloured lenses, I know I meant them. I was excited for you, and I couldn’t wait to meet you. I just wasn’t ready for how much of an impact you’d have on my life, good or not so good. But I’ll talk about that in a moment.
It was a bizarre experience. We didn’t go through the process we’d been training for in our pre-natal classes because we skipped past all the labour and screaming and gushing blood (I might owe you for that one). Your mom was insanely calm and focused. Giant needle to the spine? “No problem.” Opening her up and ripping a living creature from her insides? “Shhh, I want to hear the doctor talk!”
Meanwhile, I just tried to focus on anything but the idea that the woman I loved was laying on a gurney with a gaping belly hole. The protective sheet that blocked my view didn’t extend to my imagination, unfortunately.
It wasn’t long, though. There was that brief moment in time where we crossed a line; life without you and life full of you. And in between there existed your very first sound in the world as you cried.
We still had to wait, mind you. You were getting cleaned and weighed. Screaming your head off all the while. I still hadn’t seen you yet, just heard that you happened upon our lives from behind a sheet.
And then you came to me, all wrapped up and pudgy, like a marshmallow given a heartbeat. I held you. I think I was stunned. I was unsure of it all. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a long build up to the moment. Hell, your mother and I had an expensive French dinner at a beautiful restaurant not 16 hours prior.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t feel anything. I just sat there, trying to take it all in.
And it kind of went that way for a few more days as we eked out an existence in the hospital while your mom recovered. To this day I have no idea how she managed. Not just the physical pain of her surgery, but the emotional and psychological change she had to go through while healing. Her frustration at not being able to move. To lift or hold you properly without feeling excruciating pain.
She did, though. And she’s the best mom you could ever have.
The following two months were the hardest I’ve lived through. I will tell you this, though: I cried when we returned home from the hospital. That’s when the emotion hit me. That you’d arrived and that you were mine. But there wasn’t time for that because life was only going to become more insane.
I don’t want to go into all those details, it hardly matters now that I’ve come out the other end alive and forged by the hellfire. You were sick and cried a lot. You screamed at two helpless parents for eight hours a day, you tried to tell us what was wrong in the only way you knew how, but we were clueless.
Dr. Internet was the saviour.
Since then, you’ve grown. You hardly cry anymore, even when you cut teeth at four months old. You’re downright rude if you don’t get your food exactly when you want it, but most days are good now.
You smile like your mom. You have giant ears like me. Your eyes light up when you’re happy, like mine do on the occasion positivity cracks through my scowl.
You love a bath more than anything. From the time we set you in the water, you kick and flail, stopping only to make sure we’re watching you before going right back to it.
You like when I sing to you in the mornings, Josh Pyke being a favourite between us.
You love your mom more than anything. You smile when she enters the room and cry when she leaves it. Not jealous. Nope.
You love people. Anyone can pick you up and you’re just happy to be held. I hope that comfort with people stays with you and you don’t struggle with social anxiety like I do.
You refuse to sleep when we have company because you know something much better is happening outside your crib.
You take the stinkiest shits.
You rub your head in an awkwardly euphoric way while you drink from your bottle.
You intentionally stick your legs out of your crib when we put you down to sleep because you know we’ll come get you.
You smile every time we come get you.
You enjoy doing an inhuman growl that makes my skin crawl.
You would live in your oversized puffy coat if we let you.
I know I’m missing things. I know there aren’t words to encapsulate everything that you are and all that you mean to me. For anyone to understand, they would just have to spend a bit of time to find out why we love you.
I suppose that’s what the five months has taught me, if anything. Every moment I spend with you matters. It means something. To you. To me.
And when I woke up this Christmas, I looked around and saw something new.
And I’m so glad you are part of it, Willow. I couldn’t imagine life without you.