I have been writing this post in my head for the last nine months. (No wonder this feels like another birthing of sorts.) There were milestones: D turning 15 months old, D at 18 months, 20 months old on the 20th, the solstitial 21, the alliterative 22, the I’ll-likely-never-again-refer-to-his-age-in-months 23. Milestones that I wanted to mark in cyberspace with words and pictures, but all I did was watch time as it whispered secrets into D’s ears and made him laugh, made him walk, made him falter, get up and dust his hands and walk again, made him run and climb and jump and leap after it. All I did was helplessly watch time waltz like the Pied Piper and lead my baby away from infancy, effortlessly coaxing him to tumble into the topsy-turvy world of toddlerhood.
And I still don’t have the words to tell you what a privilege it is to watch D grow, how it is the hardest but also the most marvellous undertaking of my life. I have often remarked to my closest friends how looking after D is turning out to be the greatest spiritual journey of my life, and this has been especially true in the past several months as D experienced and expressed an incredible range of emotions. I am nothing if not the queen of feelings. The ferocity of my own emotions have often overwhelmed and consumed me so much until the not-too-distant past that D’s emotions were all too familiar. It was like peering into a mirror, only this was a two-way mirror. In his struggles, I recognized mine, but in order for him to navigate his turbulence, I had to tame my own storms first. And this child taught me how.
In watching him, I learnt to watch my own self. In providing a safe place for him to express himself, I learnt to still myself so that his interaction with the world would be less and less tainted by my own fears and rage and inhibitions. All this shattered me at first, over and over again. I had never known anything other than to be relentlessly swept up in the tidal waves of my emotions. Until I finally drowned. It was the death of me and my old ways, but only so that I could remould myself into something new, I now see. In seeking to understand D, I began to finally understand my own self. In loving him, I have come to love myself once more. In becoming a mother to D, I too am reborn. I cannot imagine a greater gift, and for this I am forever grateful to the Universe for sending D into my life. (And of course, KrA, without whom I’d still be searching for love and my soul in distant mountains and oceans without caring to glimpse into my own home and heart.)
D’s the child who sometimes goes a little too enthusiastically down the slide in the park and ends up with a bump or a scrape, only to go right back up the slide again to figure out what he needs to change. He’s the child who takes his time, watches the world around him, observes people and their actions, and wonders and learns. He’s the child who refuses to join the circle during ‘circle time’ because “that’s what the other kids are doing” is hardly reason enough. He’s the child who knows how to establish boundaries; “No, thank you,” is one of his stock phrases of the moment, “Help, please,” is another.
D’s birthday was filled with all of his favourite things. Balloons, cake, Timbits, a long game of hide and seek on the green patch alongside the Niagara Falls, plenty of climbing atop blue and green rocks, ice cream, collecting small rocks, digging in the mud, French fries, a teddy bear, soccer, a heart-shaped sticker, sitting in the middle of a stream to throw stones and sticks into it and then splashing about in the water, little journeys up and down the slides, running in the splash pad, ramen for dinner, a wonderful collection of Thomas tales and a book on birds for a gift, and falling asleep recounting what a marvellous celebration the day had been.
Happy second birthday, mon petit prince!