(“Togetherness” is not a word, I know. It should be though :))
It’s our son’s birthday. For birthday present he has wished for a red racing car. Unclear what kind. After a half-hearted searching, he instead got a Super Mario game and two floorball sticks. It was also ok. For his birthday party this weekend he wants to have balloons and an ice-cream cake of the King brand, because his friend had this on his party. Of course he gets it.
The big 4-year-old-day could not come fast enough, according to the son. I myself begin to experience what all parents are talking about, that the life with children goes by so fast. Up to now, everyday life has advanced so quickly that we sometimes have difficulty keeping ourselves above the water level. Between sleeplessness and diaper changes, there is no time for rest or reflection. It is nice to now approach some kind of calm, with more room for afterthoughts.
Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City explains it well when she holds her baby after birth: “It’s like an elephant walked into the room”. It’s a very weird feeling to see your child for the first time. It’s not possible to take in. It’s also strange that the experience of me giving birth is happening in a room full of spectators, but I myself am staring into a green sheet on an operating table, with little ability to move.
Four years ago today at 09.38 he was placed 46 centimeters long on my chest. Henry. There and then we were parents. I cried. Not the rampant cry of happiness. But a trembling cry of relief when a giant tension lets go in the body. For my husband, there were a couple of tumultuous first days at the hospital by taking care of both of us, leaping back and forth between the wards. I was treated for my Caesarean section but also a nasty spinal leakage that made the whole environment feel like a crowded pounding engine room. Henry was treated for two not fully developed lungs that made it difficult for him to breathe. Skin against skin, with a lot of tubes around them, my husband sat for hours and held our son. Promised to always protect him.
It took me a few weeks before I really felt the bond. He lay next to me on the couch and I could not stop looking at him. My very own baby. His steady eyes looked deep into me and opened a stream of emotional feelings. After all we had been through – transplantation, IVF, embryo insertion, a 35-week-long pregnancy (which I did not really dare to believe) – it finally hit me. I am mom now. Tears of happiness ran down my cheeks and I whispered over and over again, “you are mine.”
It´s been four eventful years. Intense. Challenging. Joyful. Henry is, to say the least, a determined and persistent little guy. Stubborn. Emotional. Born with the greatest integrity and sense of right and wrong I have ever met with a child. He is careful, thoughtful, wise and incredibly loving – when he wants to be. Early we discovered that simply telling him what to do did not work, he needs to be in control of everything he does. He loves pasta, Super Mario and dressing up nicely in a shirt and tie. What he does not like are pushy people or when something differs from the ordinary. Most things of his everyday life must therefore be prepared and foreseen. Or encouraged. He requires a lot. But he also gives incredible much. In many ways Henry is completely unique – and in others he is just like any other child. Most is he … Henry. An amazing guy with a great mind of his own.
The little we knew about parenting when he was born, we were soon reassessed. Methods that work on most children simply failed to apply on Henry. In the beginning we were stumped, but today I am grateful. He has taught me patience. He has taught me about humility and respect even to the little people. Strengths and weaknesses in myself. Things I did not even think I would learn. Still, he makes me question everything I’ve ever believed in – in a good way. Being a mom to him is by far the best thing that has happened to me.
Today it’s hard to imagine what life would look like without him. Gone are mornings sleeping in and a relatively carefree life. Taking care of yourself. Gone, on the other hand, is also the void in the soul, the life as infertil. The anxiety about not become a parent. The twoness and being one with your partner have been replaced by a constant sacrificing of yourself. At dinner, he gets the last of everything although I’m still hungry and at tea time he gets the biggest cinnamon buns. When I’m tired or sick and the body wants nothing else but to lie flat on the couch, I’m sitting on the floor and playing with cars. Because he asks me to.
The same is with his little sister. The two are my world. My meaning. My love for them is unconditional and infinite. And my task as a mother is to always back them up. That and to fix balloons and ice-cream cake with candles, though I hate birthday parties. But I know it’s worthwhile when I see the happiness in my 4-year-old son’s eyes.
Happy birthday, my beloved heart <3