A dear friend of mine is pregnant with her first baby and sent me her first scan pic the other day. Got me indulgently reminiscing, as one does, and flexing my other artistic muscle, the writing one, which is deep within me and goes back a long way. She will be five soon, I can’t quite believe it… Here’s a piece I wrote not long after she was born.
I will never forget the moment when two lines appeared, heralding your secret existence. Soon, the first butterfly flutters, making your presence felt. The tickle of butterfly wings gave way to the energetic gestures of a mime artist exploring the edges with hands, feet, elbows. Such joy on seeing your grainy image on screen, waving to you, wanting to touch you – so close yet so out of reach.
I will never forget the moment we first met and locked eyes, touching my lips to your just-born face.
I will never forget your vulnerable frame and your slim, kissable feet that couldn’t hold onto a pair of socks for long. I soon learnt that early parenthood included sleepless nights, feeding and going round the house gathering up those stray socks.
I will never forget your gentle, insistent drinking at my breast – both your hands clenched and placed firmly, one on each cheek, as your jaw moved up and down. When satisfied, you would close your eyes, raise your eyebrows to the sky and exhale a sigh of contentment as though giving thanks. Your little hands were often intertwined in prayer position or one hand clenched and held against the side of your face. “On the phone again?” your dad would say.
I will never forget the twisting in my heart at your little donkey-bray cry and trembling bottom lip. The relief of enfolding you, absorbing your insecurity at the strange smells, breezes and lack of edges to your new existence. Slowly, watching you stretch into the expanse, emotionally and physically – both arms and legs fully extended with glee as you woke each morning.
Years go by and my soul is richer for the path of your footprints in my life. With eagerness I watch the unfolding of your beautiful existence.