366 days ago was a strange time. I was toasting English muffins for your mother and playing Angry Birds. I think it was Angry Birds. Maybe it was Candy Crush… We had a bit of time to kill you see. Your birth was going to happen soon, but we didn’t know how soon. The initial excitement of the commencement of labour had passed and the waiting was going on in earnest. I was taking some notes about it at the time, ready to write the story of your birth up on the blog somewhere-or-other.
I remember feeling relatively calm, trying to focus on doing things and being useful. I remember a sense of anticipation and a stalking fear in the back of my mind. I had been here before, you were our second baby, but even a text-book birth is still harrowing.
I remember a shadow on my mind. A malaise drifting around the periphery. A sense of concern that it wouldn’t be as special and that I wouldn’t be as devoted a dad to you as a result. I sinking sense that I wouldn’t love you as much as your brother. He was nearly 2 and for that nearly 2 years he had been the centre of my little universe.
It wasn’t overwhelming, just a vague potential dread.
I remember that night, trying to get him to bed. Trying not to let my angst and nervousness leak out of me as I tried to calm him down and settle him. I remember he slept. I remember he slept and once he was asleep I remember forgetting about him for a time. Only for a time, but I still remember it.
I remember making muffins for your mother, muffins with jam. I remember forgetting things, travelling back and forth to the car. I remember flurrying islands of activity popping up amidst a sea of waiting and anticipation. I remember driving and breathing deeply.
I remember the sounds. Your mothers grunts and moans, how she sung. That’s not a metaphor, she actually sung. She said later it helped her focus and helped her breathe, makes sense when you think about it. The room was calm, she was in control and all happened as it should have.
I remember when 366 days ago became 365 days ago. I remember seeing you. I remember seeing you seeing me. You came out with your eyes open, you looked and gazed as you stretched out for the first time, unfurled in the air you were now breathing.
I remember desperately trying to tell your mother that your eyes were open because while you looked around you were silent. There was no noise issuing from your gaped mouth. I remember her confusion because she thought it couldn’t be over yet, so what was I talking about? I remember when she held you. I remember holding you.
I remember your smallness. A smallness so powerful that it blew my fears into oblivion and gripped my heart and made it grow. I remember learning that while I didn’t get extra arms or extra hours in the day to handle two kids, love isn’t divided, love grows.
But that was 365 days ago. 365 days of growing, of laughing, of playing, of learning and of pure joy. 365 days of total love. 365 days for me to forget that there was a life before you. and 365 days of you gazing dotingly at your big brother.
1 day ago I was late home, parent teacher interviews at school. The Mamanator tells me that at dinner time you pointed to the door and said “dad” over and over again. I remember feeling heartbroken that you were depressed, while secretly feeling elated to know I was missed.
And today. Today you had cake and a candle. Today we sung to you and ate Indian food to celebrate your first orbit of our yellow-white star. Today you were one. Today you lay across my lap as I typed this thinking of the year gone.
But 365 days is not long. There are tens of thousands to come. Days of fun, days of laughter, days of beauty. But no doubt days of tears, days of anger and days of fear. But don’t worry about that, mum and dad will be there for those.
I can’t believe it’s only been 365 days nor can I believe it’s gone so fast. I can’t believe we’ve made it.
And you my gorgeous little one, you’ve got it all to come. Happy Birthday, for the first time.
Love for the years still before you