Friday, December 16, 2016

One Year of Oscar



On this day it is dark and the lamps are lit. Thick grey clouds envelope the windows and I can feel the cold seeping through. Technically the meteorological winter began on 1st December, the signs of Autumn have diminished. The trees are sharp and bare, the days shorter. It feels like no time has passed at all since we last saw Autumn fade away, despite there being a year. My body feels fuzzy with happiness spilling through my veins and there is so much to smile about.

There was a time when I’d write until the early hours of the morning with dry eyes. I’m not sure what made me stop but I did, it was like something blocked in my head. I just didn’t know how to write anymore and the self-critique ate me up inside. In a world of talented writers my words were poor. Today I am reminding myself that I don’t need to come close, the reason I write is for release. To get the words out of my head and make notes to read back on in years to come, to remember the memories. Whether zero, one or one hundred people read this post, that’s not my purpose.

As our sweet little Oscar turns one tonight, I know I have to push past the block in my head and finally put pen to paper again. I could fill books and books with every little detail of his first year, a time I never want to forget. Life is so wonderful, magical, happy. Being a family of three is more than I ever imagined it would be, in every way possible. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. It’s awfully hard but the good times make it all worth it.

It was March 2015 when G and I found out we’d be expecting a little human in December 2015. It never felt real. I never really felt pregnant.

Deep down I knew I had a tough old journey ahead but for someone who thinks she’s knows everything, it knocked me right off the horse I’d been perched so highly on. When Oscar was born things were traumatic and I was in pain for his first few weeks of life. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and have someone else deal with his crying and constant need for attention. The good moments were good, we were on unbelievable highs. But the low moments were there, thick and dirty. He’d wake us at 2am and sit with us, wide eyed and wanting to be loved. I remember thinking, “What have I done? I can’t do this, I’m not made to be a mother. Who is this little person keeping me awake when I just need to go to sleep?” Morning would arrive, G would feed him and let me shower and put make up on in peace and I’d cry and feel an intense guilt that ate away at my flesh. He was so small and innocent and it was terrifying. The responsibility of shaping such an innocent soul unnerved me. Lack of sleep turns humans into devils.

Things were still hard once G went back to work and I was home alone with Oscar. The day would start great, I’d feel positive and happy. Then Oscar would refuse to nap and cry and cry and be sick all over himself and cry some more. Desperately I’d try to make things better, play with him, tempt a smile. I felt an immense pressure to take him out and do things, like I was an awful mother for not keeping him entertained in every moment he was awake. How was I supposed to know that a baby of 2 months’ old didn’t need that much stimulation? I felt afraid of staying indoors with him for fear he would get bored. I remember that first day alone, counting down the hours until G got home from work. He called me and I broke down, sobbing, telling him I couldn’t do it.

And then suddenly it was like the light came on in a sea of darkness. Oscar grew older and more independent and the days got easier. I’d wake in the morning after a full eight hours sleep and feel excited to see the smiling face of our little boy. We’d soon spend the days together, just us two, and he’d smile at me whenever I was around. He’d make me feel special in the way I imagine I make him feel. We’d sit together on the floor surrounded by toys and he’d quietly play whilst I put make up on behind him. Today I spend every minute of the day with him until he goes to bed and I wouldn't choose to spend my time any other way. He is a mini best friend, he lights up the room and he instantly turns your frown into a smile by doing absolutely nothing. There are no words to accurately describe my insane love for him.

People tell you that the newborn days are hard but my feeling of knowing that never came close. One day there’s just two of you going about life as you please, the next day there’s three of you. You’re tired and you’re in pain but you have a little crying real-life human who you have to comfort. The spare moments of your day don’t exist anymore. Whether you want to or not, you’re changing nappies and feeding a baby. It’s the hardest change I’ve ever come across. From someone who has faced a hell of a lot of damage in life, becoming a mother has been the most challenging so far.

The first months of Oscar’s life have now become a blur in the memories stored in my mind. I’ll never know whether how I felt was normal or not, especially in a world where there’s so much pressure to be the best. Where social media reminds you often that you’re doing a bad job because everyone else has it so wonderfully perfect.

Today Oscar turns one. He has been earthside for the quickest year of my life. Sometimes I feel like I have too many responsibilities and not enough time. I want to work and write and photograph and I try to whilst he naps or sleeps at night. Sometimes I feel mad when he wakes from a nap too soon because I haven’t had some time to myself; it’s so easy to get wrapped up in that and forget what’s most important. He is the most important thing. He’ll only be this young for a day each time, such a short time. I’m slowly learning that the rest can wait and there are many years ahead when he’ll be heading to school and I’ll be wishing for him to be right back by my side.

Sometimes I look down to this little human walking around, tugging on my leg or hand, talking to teddies and nothing really in particular, and I have to pinch myself. One time we were running around outside and car sped around the corner at high speed. I scooped Oscar up quickly before he had chance to run towards it and he gave me a look which I already know means “What are you doing crazy woman?!” In that moment it instantly threw me back to being little and na├»ve and not having a care in the world. Where cars were fascinating moving objects and the world was one gigantic, friendly playground.

So on your first birthday Oscar, know that your Daddy and I love you more than we ever knew we could love. When we hold you our love pours out of our fingertips and wraps around you like a warm blanket of roots. Sometimes we may not get this parenting thing completely right, but we will always try our hardest to give you everything you deserve in this world.

I'd give anything to rewind back to the start and do it all again. To give 1000% instead of 100% and do an amazing job instead of a good job. But I know I have so many years ahead to keep giving and not regretting the past.

Learning life again through the eyes of a baby is magic. Where a smile is like touching the moon and walking feels like conquering the whole world. An amazing year of making memories, rounding up with a fun-filled family Christmas. I am eagerly awaiting to experience the excitement of that one special day again.

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