My baby, my first born turns 13 today.
I still remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. I remember that my husband and I took a walk the evening before he was born. I remember that my water broke the next morning and we rushed to hospital. I remember being scared, not knowing exactly what to expect – even though I had read the book “What To Expect When You Are Expecting”. I remember the contractions and squeezing my husband’s hand so hard each time a wave passed. I remember wondering when the labor would end. I remember pushing and finally delivering him. I remember how the nurse wrapped him in a receiving blanket and then placed him on my chest. I remember that it was love at first sight.
I remember getting home and being scared not being sure how to navigate this mountain called mothering. And I don’t mean mountain in the negative sense, but as a new phase in my life, a totally new experience. I remember crying because he was crying and I couldn’t quite figure out how to make him latch onto my breast for feeding. I remember I finally got the hang of it, and he and I fell into a feeding rhythm. I remember his tiny hands and feet. I remember staring at him for hours on end as he slept. I remember that he liked Teletubbies and the only way I could get him to be calm as I fed him was to put him in his high chair in front of the TV so that he could watch Teletubbies as I fed him.
I remember his cute little face and people not being sure whether he was a boy or a girl, despite my dressing him up in blue clothes. I remember the fright I received when he got convulsions as I drove him to hospital. I remember the first IV tube as he battled a high temperature. I remember him crying when I had to go back to work. He looked so sad and I found it hard to concentrate at work that day. I remember him crying on his first day of school, and how heartbroken I was at leaving him all alone in a new world. I remember his love of music, especially the song ‘Wipolo Bot Lubanga’ that he made us play over and over again. I remember that he loved the film “Finding Nemo”, he must have watched it like ten thousand times. He even memorized all the words.
And now, fast forward to today – my baby turns 13. He is a teen. What?!?! Where did all the years go? His current ambition is to become taller than me, and by the look of things, he is not far off. His voice broke last year, and it felt strange hearing the ‘new’ him. I no longer buy clothes for him. I give him money to buy his own clothes, create his own look – a dope look (his words), a look I am still trying to come to terms with. As he enters a new phase, a new mountain so to speak, I am right there with him battling my own issues in this new stage of parenting. I sit and wonder – what will this mountain look like? Will it be a steep or gentle climb? How will I navigate the bends, the unknowns? How will we both come out on top? When is the top? When he turns 18, 21, 41?
Despite my questions, my musings, I look forward to the journey…..