D is one.
The only one. (Couldn't resist this!)
In the days leading up to D's first birthday, almost everyone I spoke with said to me some variation of this - "Wow! Is he going to be one already? I can't believe it. This year has gone by so fast. Time flies."
Truth is, it has been a very, very long year for us. In more ways than one. The year started in Australia and will end in Canada; we moved across continents and hemispheres when D was not even half his age today. So D got an additional half a day in his first year.
We flew out of Sydney at the peak of summer there and landed in Toronto when winter had settled in, well and truly.
D is also a solstitial child. He was born on the day of the winter solstice down under; he turns one on the day of summer solstice in the north. I like to think of this as some sort of message from the Universe, though I haven't made up my mind about what exactly that message is. Something to do with growth, with expansion, with accommodating changes, with savouring everything that life has to offer, from one corner of the world to the other, from one dimension of time to the other.
But the way in which time really slowed down for us this year was in how we were called to be constantly alert and present, in the moment, every moment, attending to D's every need, understanding his expressions and responding accordingly. It was like mentally being on drugs, being able to see sound floating on the breeze and hear the colours of the rainbow exploding in the skies, without allowing our limbs to float away like helium-filled balloons*. Nothing short of deft fingers could change those diapers.
In keeping with the nature of all things psychedelic, it's been an ecstatic high but also a humbling experience, watching D grow. Nature has endowed our children with enough intelligence and resourcefulness to figure out the ways of this world. It is we, who project our ambitions and desires and worse, our fears, on them and mould them in ways other than nature intended for them.
I have nothing to teach D. I am the student here. Re-learning how to watch and enjoy the flight of a bird and the hop of a squirrel. There is no rush. Each moment unfolds at its own pace.
The first dog he petted was a ten year old white retriever named Johnny Cash. (I know D and I were golden retrievers in our previous births, just going by the inexplicable affinity we feel towards them.)
He has so far eaten a wildflower, part of a leaf, and several blades of grass. Also grit! And he has mastered the art of deception and distraction. He'll direct my attention somewhere else and sneak that petal into his mouth in the split second that I am not looking at him.
His first word was 'Mommy'. He said 'Daddy' a few hours later. He also uttered 'bus' and 'bath' a few days later. Now he has gone back to gurgling and babbling and speaking in code.
He is still learning to walk. His urge to practice is most intense when we are on the pavement adjoining a very busy street. We indulge him.
But the thing that really turns me inside out is this. Often D will rest his head on my shoulders and watch the world go by. Whenever a bus goes by, I say, "Look, green bus. Look, red bus." He can't see me point but he hears me and acknowledges it by doing a little up-and-down jump on me. That kills me, each time he does it!
Once, we were walking down Shirley Road in Wollstonecraft. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. I was carrying D. He was about four months old. I still remember how he threw back his head in open-hearted wonder as if enjoying the sight of the blue Australian skies and white clouds and basking in the warm sunshine spilling all over him.
The first time he saw the moon was only a couple of days ago. In the daytime. An arc of silver was pinned to the western skies in broad daylight. I pointed it out to D and said, "Moon, moon." He looked at it, with the same open-mouthed awe and wonder he displayed in Wollstonecraft all those months ago, and said, "Moo, moo."
A number of his favourite things begin with B.
And my favourite word these days ... Baby!
Happy first birthday, mon petit prince!
*I can't wait to introduce D to Pink Floyd. Speaking of which, he already loves Judas Priest's version of Diamonds and Rust, alongside Wheels on the Bus, of course.