by Simone Woods
You eagerly came into existence – on our first try.
Christmas day – in the musky bathroom of an old hotel, tucked in the cobble-stoned streets of your great-grandfather’s childhood home – I peed on a stick and realised I was no longer just one.
Before you were born, when you were a vibrant spark in my belly, you reminded me of your existence at every moment. You hiccuped every day, you gave me great big frequent rolling kicks, sometimes I felt like you were tickling my insides with your fingertips.
Before you, I never sang and I rarely danced (unless I was completely alone or drunk at a wedding). But your very presence in my belly, as if you were conducting me, inspired me to sing, to narrate my day, to move my body so you would feel those movements.
You came into the world with such gusto: weeks before your due date, no warning, the whole dramatic scene over from start to finish in a mere three hours. Three tiny pushes and you popped out in a flash, and in that moment you taught me about boldness.
Even as a tiny newborn you had an intensity I didn’t realise could exist in a baby. From day one, you were so receptive. When you weren’t all swaddled up, you kept your arms splayed out wide while I talked to you, as if you wanted to be ready to catch my words with your hands at any moment.
Your fierce gaze brought the craziest things out of me – I would sing silly songs about all sorts of things, making up rhymes about your kicky legs. I would dance, laugh, make a fool of myself – your smile being reason enough for me to continue, your eyes always looking up at me, my devoted audience.
Before you, I never sang and I rarely danced. But your very presence in my belly, as if you were conducting me, inspired me to sing, to narrate my day, to move my body so you would feel those movements.
Now you are bigger, now you run, you talk, you show me things. I let you dress yourself and you approach me, shirt upside down, pants inside out. You say, ‘Look Mummy, I’m wearing my elephant pants’, because the exposed white pockets look like elephant ears. No matter how many times I tell you to change it, you resist. But then I halt myself – what you’re doing is not ‘wrong’ or ‘incorrect’, it’s you exhibiting your uniqueness, your creativity, your boldness.
You tell me stories of the times when you will grow up, and daddy will ‘grow little’ and he will sit in the high chair. You make houses out of boxes, out of the rug, out of the exercise mat. Lego morphs into a sword, a hammer, a brachiosaurus. You asked me one day, ‘What do these wooden beads look like?’ I surveyed the coloured shapes on the floor but I didn’t have an answer other than the obvious: ‘wooden beads’. But you said, ‘No, no, they’re bird food,’ incredulous at my inability to perceive what you saw.
Seeing the world through your eyes means seeing so much more than I could have ever imagined. Your questions: ‘What is that?’ ‘Why is that like that?’ ‘Who put that there?’ They force me to try to explain things to you. I realise often that I can’t; the world mostly just doesn’t work that simply. But you also inspire me to ask these questions myself, even when you’re not around. It’s like I actually see more than I once did – like how I heard more after those weeks in my early twenties when I spent hour upon hour with your daddy shopping for a piano. These sights, these sounds – they were always there, but previously inaccessible to me.
I created you: my body synthesised every molecule, every cell of your body (well, except one). But you have in turn created me – you transformed me into a mother the instant you existed. More gradually though, you nudged me into being the type of person who notices and seeks adventure and beauty.
One day you told me a funny little story – I can’t remember it exactly – but I do remember that I said we could write it down and make a book. Then I thought, maybe I can write my own book. All my energy, that I must have unknowingly had dwelling somewhere inside of me, was suddenly unleashed from that point on. Since then I have written and written and written, with no sign of stopping.
I do so much pushing up against the limitations you’ve established: waking up before you do, sneaking in writing here and there – while you’re sitting glazed-eyed in front of the TV, even while you’re distracted eating. Always with my laptop out, always squeezing out what I can from every moment. But I have no hard feelings because without you this existence would simply not be.
Instead, I must thank you. You gave me the greatest gift of all – you made me a creator.