This letter is to you, my love, lest the dregs of time make me forget. Forget how it feels here and now, as a fiery summer finally turns back on her sunny heels. There is a crispness in the air that is screaming Fall’s name, the intensity of heat waves already becoming a distant memory.
I have spent all of Summer 2018 wrapped up with you, so much so that you and summer mean the one and the same. Summer will forever be reminiscent of the furious walks in the park trying to eject you from my tummy, the muslin covered feeds under leafy green canopies and the sweaty hugs we exchanged as you transitioned from clinging to my womb to my bosom.
Time is going way too fast. Somewhere between Adam Levine singing Girls like You and Three Lions calling football home, you became
1 – 2 – 3 months old. I am so happy to see you grow, yet so desperate to keep you tiny, preferably portable in a Mason jar so that we would never have to be apart.
Three months of having you has been a privilege of the highest order. Daddykins and I spend all day delighting over every little nuance in your growth, eager to fill each other on what the other has missed. Taking photos, making videos, trying so hard to hold on to your precious babyhood. But all our pedantic efforts cannot stop the delicate details from fading.
Every time I scroll back through my iPhone, I am shocked by how much you have changed. Gone is the fuzzy, overcooked baby, downy haired and cross-eyed. You are a force of nature now, cooking up a storm with your drool, making the whole world halt with your persistent calls for attention. I wish I could pause time for as long as it takes to savour your infinite sweetness. Replay our moments like a Snapchat video, even one chance would be more than enough. Alas, real life has no replay buttons. In real life babies grow up way too fast and mums see-saw between brooding over the past and anticipating the future as their sons and daughters bloom from little buds to sun-facing cherubs. Brimming with curiosity and spilling with laughter too full of character for pictures to do justice. And so I write this letter to you, in hopes of reaching where lenses cannot.
I want to write down every subtle detail of your fleeting babyhood, to cherish when I am old, wrinkled and grey. I want to remember the way your head wobbles in your fat rolls of a neck, trying so hard to be steady in a fast paced world. The little blue fluff that collects in the middle of your fingers, reappearing unfailingly no matter how many times I wipe them off. The wispiness of your fly away hairs, splaying out in loving angles against winds and bed linens. Your unpunctuated drooly babbles, and how much you have to say from Day 1. The escapee boogie at the tip of your nose that dance in tune to your baby breath. The stories behind each of your gummy smiles, from the little flickers that break at the corner of your lips like rays of sunshine to the broad gleeful bursts that light up your face like a starlit sky. There is a certain spark embedded in your smile that warms the soul like the first sip of morning coffee. Every time we step out with you, strangers swoop down and say, ‘Oh he is so gorgeous!’ It makes my heart so full.
I want to remember the evenings we spend simply staring at you, ignoring piles of dirty dishes, heck the whole wide world. All the smitten kisses your Daddykins and I secretly steal from your sleepy cheeks. The tenderness in your little fingers as they draw sweet nothings on Mummy’s skin. The way your jaws suckle at thin air, dreaming of faraway ‘milky’ ways.
I want to remember you befriending ceiling lights, sometimes breaking away from the breast to have a full-blown conversation with your hanging mate. The way you rub your red eyes in clumsy swipes in the throes of sleep. Your adorable face when you finally give in, almost as though your eyes are wide shut. It makes your snub nose look snubbier, giving away a certain something of your late grandfather. I was so small when we said goodbye, that I don’t even remember our last moment together. But every night I see him now, shining on your face.
I want to remember all your car seat faces, the head hung ones when you sit quietly contemplating life, the angry ones when you have had enough of our chore runs, the surprised ‘O’ when you catch your reflection in the little mirror. I want to remember how obsessively you eat your fingers and scrutinise your hands. Your hands, oh your hands. You had something going on with your hands from that first scan when we clapped eyes on you. I could write a novel on their miraculous metamorphosis from the texture of tracing paper to the fullness of the moon. They always seemed too mature, too knowing, for someone so tiny. Their silky touch feels like soft feather stroking my tired skin.
I want to remember our wordless negotiations, spoken through the language of tears and tantrums. Your angled head pose of deliberation when I hover on the horizon, stalling my next move. Your eyes dart around looking for a clue. Will I pick you up? Will I turn away? Will I return? When you cannot figure Mummy out, you squeeze your eyes shut and wail, getting redder each second, looking so pure and adorable in your helplessness that instead of picking you up, I stand back and watch you. Just for a little while.
I want to remember the love that surges through me as you squirm in babygros like a delicious little jellybean, making me buy stupidly expensive clothes and not regretting one bit. I want to remember our unhurried weekday mornings, just you and I. Your tumbling laughter of pure delight as though you are having the time of your life just lying there on a messy bed staring at mummy and ceiling lights. I want to remember you clinging like a koala bear from the sling, never wanting to grow a second older. The wonder and love in your face when you look up at me from the K’tan, making my heart explode. No one ever looked at me that way, as though maybe I was magic.
I want to remember how much I love you even when you fuss for attention in the middle of the night. I hug your little body to my tired one like you are my very own hot water bottle and remind myself for the 1000th time how lucky I am. Breathing in your sweet scent, clutching the lovingly picked sleepsuit – I could stay in that peaceful moment forever.
I want to remember how strong you make me feel. Like I can move mountains if that’s what it takes to protect you. I feel empowered, emboldened and humbled. I feel vulnerable and raw. My heart swells and deflates with the ebb and flow of an ocean of love and fear. Because my dear, there is both. The love I have for you cannot exist without the sheer fear of a reality where you or I exist without the other. I love you too much to ever be free again. You are my constant, beautiful worry. Forever.