The first cry from my boy was magical. When he cried, we all stopped holding our breath in that delivery room. He took his first breath and cried and the rest of us exhaled too. There was total silence for a minute in that room. It felt like longer than a minute. I did not panic. I just lay there holding my breath, concentrating on the sunshine out the window and squeezing my husband’s hand. Total stillness. Then that wonderful loud and strong cry.
The cry wasn’t instant like it was when my daughters were born. Some things were overlooked during my labour with him. When he came into the world, his umbilical cord was around his neck and his skin colour was more grey than pink. He wasn’t handed to me immediately, he was taken to the corner of the room and massaged and given oxygen. While it felt like an hour, it was only a minute, then there he was on my chest. Loud, spiky haired and staring at me. All was fine, all was perfect, he was here.
Its his birthday today. He is five. Like most mothers do, I am reliving all the details of the day he was born and all the days since. It is that minute that will always remain crystal clear in my mind. Then that relief and then that love. My boy is my second child. I had worried before he arrived how could I love another baby as much. I didn’t realise until that minute that the heart it a remarkable thing and can expand to love all your children equally and instantly. I did fall in love with him instantly and realised how ridiculous it was that I was worrying about my capacity to love him with all my heart.
The other stand out crystal clear memory I have of his first year is how he went from being the most contented baby and sleeping so well to being unsettled at night. I was sick when he was seven months old. I was away from him for two weeks in hospital. He went from falling asleep happily every night to needing someone to hold his hand or rub his cheek. At 7 months old his heart also had to capacity to love greatly and at 7 months old he had the ability to miss me. My own heart aches when I think of that memory. I was home after two weeks but it took a couple of months before he was able to fall asleep without his hand being squeezed. At 7 months he loved greatly. He loves greatly now. He has the biggest heart. The kindest heart.
And now he is five. Just like that. Five. At five- skylanders, moshi monsters, making a mess effortlessly , drawing, lego, books, dinosaurs, playing with his friends and sisters and being noisy are of huge importance. Vegetables, keeping his room tidy, listening to what I say and doing what I ask him to do is of a lot less importance to him. He is funny, he is clever, he is good company, he tests my patience and frustrates me and then within a minute he makes me smile. I shout at him more than the other two. I have more guilt about whether I am being the best mother I can be with him. I hope I am. I am trying hard. He has a beautiful mix of shyness and confidence. I hope he always has this mix. He can appear ninja like beside me in the middle of the night yet makes the noise of three children during the day. One of his favourite things still is to make a fort in my bed. The two of us lie together under the covers and we chat. His hugs could win awards . These snatched moments when it’s just me and him under the covers are one of my favourite things too. I am enjoying them more because he is five now and I know our forts and cuddle times are limited. Very soon he will be too big for this…..
Happy Birthday to my boy. My boy who has taught me so many things, from day one when he thought me the capacity of my heart to today when he teaches me about how dinosaurs became extinct. I love you greatly O X