the days have been those of a snail, for the most part; the year itself belonged to the hare. those days and that year being the first of my son's life.
yesterday, at 7:31 pm, he turned one. last year, january 7, 2012, mom and i were in an unwelcoming surgery room in the basement of the hospital in morgantown. we would've rather been in the cozy(ish), friendly(ish) delivery suite with only the midwife and the nice nurse and my aunts filming the birth of my first child and my parents' first grandchild. so go the best laid plans, huh. my little boy's little heart was racing at an unhealthy rate and the cord kept finding its way around his stubby neck, or so i was told afterward. in the midst, all i really knew was that, after 15 hours, he wasn't budging. stubborn, like mamma. on my back, looking at mom and the ceiling, i could feel, vaguely, the doctor-with-the-odd-affect (is he dry or is he rude? i could never tell) pushing and pulling on my innards. at 7:31 pm, mom jumped up and clapped and squealed "there he is!" and i, still unable to see him from behind the curtain over my midsection, asked, "is he okay?" it was as if he had heard me, so he heaved out his first scream so mommy and the rest of the world would know he had arrived. one of the nurses was nice enough to take pictures for me in the surgery room. there are a few taken just as someone (another nurse, i assume) put his bright, puffy, heavily creased face next to mine, when i told him i love you for the first time. i tell him all the time now, underscored and highlighted by sprinkles of kisses, most of which send him squirming like a hyper puppy to get away.
during my son's first year, he's been shortchanged. he didn't get the woman i used to be — he got the woman who became a product of her environment. the woman whose best qualities were dropped like lifeless, useless trophies at the doorstep the day she moved back home. his mom was too sensitive to all the changes. not sensitive as in merriam-webster's definitions 3a and b, both of which indicate weakness. no, i mean sensitive as in definition 2a: receptive to sense impressions. writers are artists, and artists are sensitive. for anyone who might roll their eyes at the phrase "sensitive artist," well, that's bc you aren't one or don't know one or don't care. the creative mind feeds on sensory impressions, and, as such, it falls limp in the absence thereof. clarksburg gives my eyes, my nose, my ears, my tongue, my feet and legs and arms...nothing. in lieu of beautiful distractions and distortions, i have felt leashed to a house on a hill in a town that i hate for being so devoid of L.I.F.E.
as i look back on his first year, i am aware that there was joy. not the overall kind, but a kind in and of itself. joy in my little boy; in my parents' overwhelming, overflowing adoration of him; and in my brother's at-first timid yet ever-growing relationship with him. the typical milestones, they've been funny and cute, although overall too ordinary for me, i guess. the best moments, our best moments, were like flecks of light found sneaking in through the drawn shades in a darkened room: few, subtle, but promising. they hold the promise of a better year ahead, a year stuffed full as that build-a-bear i didn't buy this year bc he was too small. i'll buy him one when he's old enough. (and i'll tell the kid in charge of the stuffer to fill that sucker as full as its seams can possibly hold. just because.) this year, my son's mother will get back to being herself. she'll write more, for pay and here in this blog, which is her haven. she'll find a home, which she'll joyfully vacuum while singing off key, just like she used to — except now her audience will have her eyes and her smile instead of exposed genitals and four paws. she'll be more patient and less brusque with those who love her, bc she'll feel free again. she'll try her damn-est to be a better version of herself, bc, after all, that's the best any of us can do. and for the most part, his mom can get down with that girl in the mirror. she can be pretty cool.
my son's first year was a first year. everyone has them. this was ours. i learned how to be a new mom. he learned how to be a new boy. today started to grow cloudy for me, despite the sun. then my son took a nap and gave me the opportunity to sit here, at my laptop situated in front of the now-defunct screen on my dad's old pc. as more and more words showed up on my screen, i remembered to remind myself that today starts another 365 for his mom to show him all the bestest, most magical things she's made of.
it's all for you, my love. happy year ahead.