I love watching my son. It’s delightful observing him play, seeing him run and jump, witnessing his interactions with friends, adults and animals; reminding myself to take time out, to be a spectator of his world, and the little being he is in it. As a mother, I’m fortunate enough to have a front row seat, and it’s fascinating.
Like so many other couples out there, it took us such a long time to conceive, and then carry a baby past that so defining twelve-week mark, that I never dared to allow myself the indulgence of imagining just who my child was going to be. As my due date came closer, and closer, I was finally able to relax in to my pregnancy, permitting myself to start looking past infertility and towards a happier life ahead. I remember pondering what my son would look like, how his cry would sound and yet, I’m not sure I ever truly thought about who he would actually be; his personality, eventual likes and dislikes and which of his parents, if either, he might take after.
And then he arrived, safely, miraculously and looking oh so different to any of the images I’d conjured up. He was him, simply just him, with his own looks, already his own little character and, of course, his own journey through life to travel. That first night we spent together, in each other’s company, I gazed in wonder at his face and was hit by a wave of something so powerful it took my breath away: I realised that this little being before me was the embodiment of the past, the present and the future, as indeed are all children. Through them, families, events and individuals become linked as generations continue to connect. There, in my arms, was a little boy who had the whole world before him, but, despite being only a few hours old, had an entire history behind him too; it was, simultaneously, mind-blowing and comforting.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that throughout infertility, becoming pregnant, in a way, became the end game. However, with my new-born son sleeping next to me, it was clear it had most definitely just been the very beginning. Now that my child had arrived I was aware of the huge amount of responsibility bestowed upon me; I had to successfully raise a human to be happy, kind and content.
Not an easy task.
I’ve come to believe that all babies arrive as their own ready-made little packages, bundles of raw completeness, and it’s our job, as parents, to do the best we can with what we’ve been given. That’s not to say we can rest on our laurels though, letting Mother Nature take over, but more to respect that nature and nurture walk hand in hand, together, to create a whole person. We’re here to guide and encourage, to love and to care, to catch our children when they, inevitably, fall and to prepare them for independence. I have to learn that my son needs room to grow, I need to let him lead me, teaching me who he is, trusting that, by recognising his individuality and accepting nature plays a role too, it will give him the freedom to feel comfortable in the skin he will wear as an adult. I can only hope, as he evolves, that I’ll have the strength to help him find his own wings, and watch my boy soar, as he sets forth to conquer his universe.
And it completely and utterly, absolutely terrifies me!
I’ve found pleasure in all the stages of parenting I’ve so far experienced and hope I continue to find each aspect similarly rewarding. I don’t mourn the past or wish I could turn the clock back to hold him as a new-born again, to the days when he nursed and slept and snuggled, or before he could sit, or move, or talk; we’ve experienced that; we’ve enjoyed that and, of course, he’s going to grow up. And change. And, at times, I imagine I’ll, once again, have no clue who he actually is. However, what’s to come, in my mind, is so much more awe inspiring than anything any of us could possibly dream up during pregnancy: We’re helping to shape the future. My, tiny, miracle, babe in arms will, eventually, become a man; a man I hope to respect, feel proud of and always be there for. To continue in a magical parent / child relationship, which is unique and solely ours, finding shared wisdom in the history we created, living, united, in his present day and making our way, together, along the path towards his destiny; watching as our next generations come to the forefront and take the world in their hands.
As Winnie the Pooh was apt to say: “As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen”.
And here’s to yours, my child. May I teach you to fly.