Today is Little Pencil’s birthday. He is 9 and I think that there is nothing that 9 year old boys like more than their birthdays, so naturally today is a huge day for him. Huge. But for me, it is even bigger.
For him it is huge because he gets showered with gifts, he can eat cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner and he gets spoiled more than on any other day (believe me this takes super-human effort on my behalf – particularly hard to spoil the spoiled)
For me it is huge because my baby is 9. Nine. I can’t believe I made nine years of motherhood and some of the people that I knew before then still speak to me. Given that I have had MANY episodes of complete and utter meltdown since becoming a parent and I have gone from a reasonably rational corporate girl to a blithering wreck of a neurotic mother, this comes as something of a surprise to me.
Nine years ago today I began my mothering journey as a petrified mess. Little has changed. Nine years ago I had reason to be afraid. I was the size of a baobab tree, filled with water and dangerously high protein levels. My baby was being delivered by emergency caesarean ten weeks early and in, what would become my typical neurotic fashion, I thought we were both going to die.
I often still think I am going to die. But, as my baby has grown into a boy these feelings of impending death have changed.
When I did not sleep for a year after Little Pencil’s birth, I thought I was going to die. I was not being dramatic or anything, it was just that I thought it was humanly impossible to carry on living if you didn’t sleep at all. I was happy to prove that this theory is indeed wrong. I did not sleep but I lived. Grumpily, but I lived
When Little Pencil had various illnesses and even surgeries I thought I was going to die. From holding my breath and wishing so hard that it wasn’t happening. There can be fewer worse feelings in the world than watching your child go under anaesthetic . Or watching your child have a lumbar puncture, or blood tests or, a barium swallow or even just seeing your child sick with a high temperature. And vomiting? When my child vomited I really wanted to die.
When Little Pencil started child care at the age of three I thought I was going to die from heart break. I was am an over attached mother. Leaving Little Pencil in the care of other people for the first time was a horrendous experience. I can still picture his huge, brown eyes following me in amazement as I walked out the door. I can still recall that lump that grew in my throat as I struggled not to cry in front of him. I can still picture my friend’s shoulder as I sobbed onto it. I can still feel that tight hug we exchanged on my return to pick him up.
Now quite often I get the feeling that I am going to die. I watch my child and I see the gorgeous, confident, self assured and independent boy he is despite the over-loving neuroses of both his parents and I am filled with pride and love. Full to the point that I think I may explode.
There is no word for that feeling that fills your heart when you watch your child excel at something. My child excels at living and my heart is constantly filled.
So, it turns out that maybe those experiences did kill me because having a son like mine is like being in heaven.
You can read more about my baby’s journey on his very own blog at www.thesmallestpencil.blogspot.com