It was a normal winter’s day for most people, the first one of June 2000. We all made it through the millennium scare. Remember that? The worries of having food available beyond 31 December 1999, as if carrots and beans will join a revolution and decide to stop growing, whilst all the cows and sheep keel over and die, just to ruin our meat supply. Humanity survived besides it wasn’t anything serious like a meteorite or other Apocalyptic threat, that scare only came in 2012…
Somewhere on the Southern tip of Africa a solemn couple were packing two bags. The one bag contained normal stuff; pyjamas, toiletries, a few magazines and a pair of comfy shoes. The other bag had all things blue. More specifically, small and blue. All freshly pressed… and smelling of spring flowers. New-born-thing-a-ma-jiggies. Creams and pacifiers and more creams and nappies, enough to make the CEO of Johnson & Johnson have pleasant dreams for a year.
This couple, me and the wife, was going to become a family of three. It was scheduled out of necessity as you didn’t bother making your own moves on getting out of Mom. You were slightly overdue, and it was high time that you enter our lives and colour in our monotone existence.
Mom was huge. No jokes. She looked like a hot air ballo0n with that yellow maternity dress. The most beautiful one ever, I must add. (Mom might be reading this!) You see the problem is that you just kept growing and growing and growing, kicking the living daylights out of your poor mother. You made no plans to leave your temperature regulated, private swimming pool. When Mom waggled through a mall, people would actually stop and look, eyes filled with wonder and awe. (I think they were struck with shock and sympathy). I am convinced that most people didn’t believe us when we said:
“No it’s not twins, and yes we’re sure.”
On this winter morning, bags packed, standing in the doorway, Mom had this expression of excitement, anxiety and relief. Well maybe mostly anxiety. I grabbed the bags, closed the door of our apartment and asked: “Are you ready?”
She shrugged her shoulders and said: “Let’s do this,” so off we went.
To say it was a difficult labour is the understatement of the century. I would be like saying Lady Gaga is normal. With induced labour things are always a little rushed. You took only twelve hours to bless us with your presence, and only after you were forcibly removed by the doctor. Stubborn little bugger. After a long day of gas, nurses, contractions, doctors and an emergency caesarean, I was totally beat. Mom had a tough day too.
When they finally pushed Mom into the operating room for the C, the doctor and I was struggling next door with green robes and these funny little bags you need to pull over your socks. Oh yes and the mask. I looked like Dr McDreamy if not for the deer-caught-in-the-headlight-expression in my eyes, the disheveled hair and a nervous twitch I develop in my left arm. I was rushed in after you and Mom. (Technically only Mom). I walked in and Mom was already out cold. (Asleep on the job, again!)
I didn’t really care for the actual operation as a am not a major fan of blood and guts, especially if it belongs to me or someone I love. I don’t think we were meant to see that shit. Then I heard a scream. It was part of the little fit you threw for being removed from the warmth and protection of Mom’s belly. The doctor lifted you from behind the green sheet and turned your face towards me…
The cosmos ticked over. The platonic plates of my being shifted and the resulting earthquake shattered all my fears and anxiety. I became a DAD! I lost seconds of my life in that moment. I didn’t say anything. Nothing mattered. I remember brushing sleeping Mom’s hair and said, “Yeah, It is a boy, my love. It’s a boy.” Then I kissed her…(Well not really, just thought that sounded romantic.) My action was due to all the copious amounts of money we spend, getting the nursery as blue as we could and I really didn’t want to repaint the walls!
They sucked something out of your mouth and placed you in my clumsy, strong, muscular (hahaha) arms. There I was, a young man, dressed in a green dress with a blue mask over my face, the proudest human ever to live on planet earth. (I really can’t speak for everyone in the galaxy.) I have never felt so much love flood my heart so rapidly. A tsunami of emotion. And I didn’t cry. Seriously I didn’t. Maybe a little…
The second understatement would be to say you were perfect. God took our love and created you, a blessing beyond my wildest comprehension. In that moment, your anxiety became my anxiety, your pain my pain, your laughter my laughter and your joy and happiness my mission.
I forgot the nights of burping and feeding and only remember when you fell asleep on my lap. I forgot the lack of sleep and the red eyes and remember your laugh when you woke up, peering over the cot. I forgot the dirty diapers, the liters of puked milk and the worries about teething, walking and talking.
Now I see you. And I am so proud. The role of teacher, guardian and mentor is mine, to guide you through life, finding a way through the maze of growing up. However… The irony is, that since that very first day when I saw your face; you have been teaching me.
And mostly about myself.