He came after. He was a date, was loosely marked on a calendar, 2010. He was pressures and stretch, maybe elbows, knees; he was flutters and planning. He was waiting. He taught us how to wait in a season that is about the wait. We were reminded of how the world once waited long ago with hope and without assurance. We were impatient while trying to be reflective of the current, of the moment, of all the many, many moments in succession that created pluralistic monument. He was the boy built bigger than he was, then, before. Because until he came he only took up space outside the world, within us, bounded by prospect and faith and optimism. My wife spoke of how she felt like an aquarium while pregnant, the fluid, the holding, the internal. And if our son was not yet part of a greater presence, he was part of a vessel that was present, that was part of being. He was potential in the vessel and, in that way, he was, while confined, free, soon an able fish out of water.
We waited until 4:46am on a Tuesday on the longest night of winter on a quiet hospital second floor while a quiet storm sheeted coatings of snow on the roofs in our view. And, then, there he was. He all of a sudden just was. Boundless, his color pinked. Air settled on arms and legs it hadn’t ever hit. He took up space that wasn’t taken up before he showed. Just like that he made the world bigger and smaller, occupying part of it that nobody else will ever occupy. It was his and would always be taken up by only him. Words on a book page are that page’s words, green on summer leaves is those leaves’ green. He achieved ownership, with breath he granted himself possession, was graced with the most fundamental kind of reality rooted in a Platonic “him-ness.” And like a cloud or a vase or a folder, he became part of all of our surroundings.
So think ahead, think of how there will be the now moments, the small now moments, the larger, those of substantial bellow, the first drive home, the repeated awareness of locked car doors, the air-sponged books, formula vomit and the sound of a short-fall head-strike on hardwood floor, the babble, the “mama,” first, the diagnoses, the pucker-less kisses, the cough loosening a too-big piece of Wheat Thins, the unforgettable story of a young Adam Walsh who was only allowed to be young because anything more was taken away, the movies you can’t watch anymore because now you have a child and that can happen to them. The role of pirate, of hockey player, of mom, of gunslinger, of dad, of princess, of superhero, of chef, of, of, of, of, of…
He wants to fish, now. He wants to color with pencils. He wants to ride his bike to the park. He wants to pour his own milk.
And then it will be tomorrow.