My Son, My Hopes, My Fears
It's been a year since I really wrote anything.
For eight years I pushed out words, hour after hour, day after day, my world not caring whether my creativity flowed freely or not. Carving out new angles, splicing pithy phrases, I honed my craft.
Then came my greatest ever creation and the enormity of this masterpiece snatched every ounce of my focus.
August Lotter Kotuku.
For once, words evaded me. How could I begin to translate the tide of emotions which overwhelmed me? As one predecessor so aptly wrote, it was though all my hopes and all my fears were suddenly in front of me.
So greatly desired, this tiny picture of perfection awed me, his vulnerability ensnared me and his innocence frightened me. Who was I to carry this precious gift, this gargantuan responsibility?
I was overcome with ecstasy at what I had birthed and yet my new found confidence was crumbling as the question dawned on me, would I be enough?
I watched my son sleeping, I hovered close so I could feel the soft warm breath on his plump rosebud lips. I would stare at the woolen blanket that covered his doll-sized body and watch his rounded belly gently rise and fall. Surely life couldn't be this good?
I would get cramps in my neck as I stooped my head to watch him feed and I would stroke his cheek, his button nose and whisper how much I loved him. He would fall asleep and I would be loathed to move, I would scarcely breathe for fear of disturbing him. Days would roll by and I would barely leave the couch. The TV played the same four music clips on repeat but I didn't care. With the drink bottle that never left my side, a muesli bar stash and a chunky novel I would cuddle into the couch and ease each moment of stirring until my sleeping beauty was comfy again. I'm glad I savoured those moments, too quickly they disappeared and were replaced with the next season of babyhood.
We chose the name August after discovering its meaning - majestic, magnificent, respected, revered. He is nothing if not revered.
My son often shows two dimensions of his personality, the quiet content observer and the smiling bubbly socialite. But there's a third! It's saved for the latest of mealtimes, the boisterous of babies and the most boring of days. The delighted playful squeaks, coos and babble turns a corner and grows swiftly in volume. It is in this space where my hopes make way for my fears and I wonder how someone who fills my heart with so much joy could have me feeling so much frustration.
I cried tears of joy the first time August rolled. I had sat beside his cot, cheering encouragement as I marvelled at his perseverance. I wanted so badly for him to succeed.
The day he said his first word 'bird', my heart sang along with the rosellas outside his bedroom. When he got up on his knees to crawl I texted my excitement to his father, my mother, mother-in-law, close friends. We remarked on his long delicate fingers which have always been so dextrous, even as a newborn. We watched him expertly pick up raisins, a favourite treat and pop them into his mouth. He would pick up book after book and turn each page, front to back with ease, not noticing when he got a paper cut. We would grin as we saw his face light up and his little voice call out and squeal when he spied another child, a cat, a dog or birds in flight.
Each milestone was recorded with numerous exclamation marks in his journal, captured on cameras and shared in various bulk messages. Each new experience is met with wonder tinged with nostalgia. Every knock, each fall catching my breath and stealing my sleep as I fretted over how I would keep him safe. Each stage was so short. In just one brief year he wasn't a little baby anymore.
It's hard to imagine what you might expect when you are expecting.
In my mind I was carrying a little blob, a cute thing with arms and legs which kicked and wiggled. A sonograph also revealed a cute button nose and fingers which moved independently and waved hello.
The being I met was so much more.
Yesterday I found myself staring at his big blue eyes, so unlike my own dark brown ones. I nuzzled into his soft curly hair and his skin, more sun-kissed in appearance than his father's milkier tone. And I realised, he wasn't me. He wasn't his father.
He was August.
He was revered.
He is all my hopes and all my fears.