Saturday, January 29, 2011

A mother's diamonds and pearls

This week has been hard for me. This week has been a week of firsts and fear. My eldest child, my first baby, started Year 1 this week. He loved the thought of being a part of the big school. I on the other hand had severe separation anxiety. To know that the next 12 years of his life will be filled by his education is the realization that this is the beginning of the end, and that try as I might, I cannot make time slow down for me. I fear that I have missed so much of my blessed child, that I do not want another second to pass. But I know that it will. To see him dressed in his uniform like one of the big kids, with his black polished shoes and his neat and tidy haircut, tears sprang to my eyes as my heart flew out of my chest. My baby was no longer a baby. To prove this point, time flew by too quickly again, and on Thursday we celebrated his sixth birthday. The birthdays of my kids are great for reflection, to remember who they were and how far they have come. To remember those feelings that washed over me.

The first time I laid eyes on my son was one of the hardest moments of my life. I knew that I should love this being, yet I felt nothing. That night while I held him close to my chest and felt his perfectness, still there was nothing. I knew the feelings I had were not the feelings I was supposed to have, but uttered not one word of it to anyone. I was ashamed. The first year of his life is difficult for me to recall, because of the depression I suffered, but I don’t really want to write about that. I want to remember those beautiful moments especially those around the time that I really began to love my son.

I remember that we lived in our little love nest flat, that was so small that Master Mushuu slept on the floor in the lounge room. Not much a cradle, but a cradle wouldn’t fit in the flat. I remember how intrigued and protective of him our little kitten was. Snuggling down not far from him and keeping a lazy eye on anything that might be a threat to his welfare. I remember the pride I saw in his father eyes as he bathed him on top of an old, chest of drawers that still sits in our home. I remember the way he would lay on his belly and curl his legs under himself, with his head resting on his arms, looking very much like a little frog. I remember having him in bath one night, and him taking aim, and peeing right in my face, and even a slightly smug look on his face.
I remember a first birthday party, when I finally loved my son the way a mother should. Watching him with his Grandma opening presents and not all that interested in anything around him. I remember his first few tentative steps and the look of surprise on his face when he succeeded. I remember him pulling himself up to the coffee table when his Daddy was eating tea, and slyly stealing food of his Daddy’s plate. I remember caging him in  a playpen with some toys, and him playing quietly while I went about my business. I remember him grabbing chips from my hand, and him falling asleep while eating his dinner. I remember him seeking out any pair of shoes that weren’t his own, and him trotting around the house, very proud that he had put his shoes on all by himself. I remember the fear I felt when he wouldn’t speak, and thinking that my beautiful baby may be deaf. I remember a slightly subdued second birthday, with cousins and friends.

I remember boarding a plane, and flying for 23 hours to see my Dad in Africa. I remember my son’s fear at new people. I remember him nearly springing into my arms when he saw not only a stranger, but one with black skin. I remember the way the he clung to me as though I was his a life boat in the middle of a vast ocean. I remember feeling that I would always be there for him to cling to me. I remember his precious little tears, spilling like diamonds when he had to say good bye to his Grandad, and get on the palne to come home. I remember the way his face lit up when he saw his Grandma waiting at the airport for us. I remember the way his Grandma’s face lit up as well. I remember he spoke for the first time and used his words carefully, as though he only had a certain number for his lifetime. I remember a timid little boy who would hide behind his Mummy, whenever new people were near. I remember telling him that he was to be a big brother, and how he tried to talk to the baby in my tummy. I remember he wanted a brother. I remember the intrigue, when he first laid eyes on his baby sister. I remember how he laid on the bed next to her and spoke to her, kissed and loved her form that very first moment. I remember realizing how lucky I was. I remember a third birthday party, where my shy little boy cried when everyone sang happy birthday to him.

I remember him making new friends at Kindy. I remember he wanted independence. He wanted to dress himself and put his own shoes on. I remember he was as excited as anyone else when his baby sister sat up herself. I remember him sitting with her and explaining how the world worked. I remember a little boy who was still shy and timid and would play for hours by himself. I remember stepping on cars in the middle of the night. I remember him laying on the mat lining his cars up over and over again in perfectly straight lines. I remember that amusing just about everyone in the vicinity. I remember a fourth birthday filled with water and fun. I remember a little boy sitting and chatting and laughing with friends as he ate birthday cake. A boy I didn’t recognize.

I remember a baby turning into a boy. Growing into arms and legs that were once to long for his body. I remember a little boy who started to fight with his little sister, but still loved her beyond anything else in his world. I remember a tired Mum and Dad breaking up yet another rough and tumble fight. I remember falls that left bumps and bruises and required kisses and cuddles to make them feel better. I remember a little boy who was happy for his sister to take the spotlight. I remember a little boy who was still quiet and timid and cried at almost anything. I remember giving lots of kisses and cuddles. I remember a birthday party by the river, and  I remember a little boy who slipped on a wet step and ended up with a scrape on the side of his face.

I remember a little a boy all dressed and ready for his first day of Prep. All smiles and sunshine, and ready for the big bright world. I remember how it tore my heart out to say good bye to him that morning, and I remember small sobs that escaped my throat on the long drive home. I remember picking up a little boy who I no longer recognized as my own. One who was slightly more confident in his ability to interact with other people, and made friends so easily. I remember a little boy who’s fights with his sister became more dramatic and violent, and a Mum who figured that they would work it out. I remember a little boy who didn’t need to hide behind me from the world anymore, and that hurt. I remember a little boy who still loved nothing more than to wrap his arms around his Mama’s neck and squeeze her as tight as he could. I remember a little boy who learned to read and write, and a Mum who realized that another milestone had been reached in the bat of an eye. I remember a little boy, who was no longer a little boy, now he was a boy.  I remember a little girl who worshipped the ground her brother walked on and wanted to be just like him. I remember replicas of the Eiffel tower in lego bricks strewn all over the floor. I remember wanting to stop the clock.

Now to those memories I can add the one of a sixth birthday with friends playing the wii and talking about stuff at school. I can add to those memories that tinge of sadness I felt when I sent him off with his new teacher, and his Daddy driving me back home. These little moments are the ones that I will hold to me so dearly. Ones that I have now been written down, so that they are never forgotten. Over the years I will add more memories, but these ones will always be the most precious, my diamonds locked safely in the vault of my mind. Where no one can ever take them from me. Happy Birthday to my Baby Boy. 

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