I watch him from across the room. He is intent, focused, his little face furrowed in concentration as he moves the little soldiers around. They are engaged in battle, a serious, lengthy battle, and he doesn’t look up. The light reflects on his smooth skin, shining with the perfection of youth, his eyelashes casting shadows onto the curve of his small cheek. He pauses to lift up a soldier; he looks angelic, belying the fierce fight his imagination is producing for his toys.
Seven years ago, he didn’t exist. Seven years ago he was just a longed for pregnancy, a pregnancy fraught with fear and worry, a beam of joy and hope. I didn’t know then what he would become. I didn’t know he would grow into this tiny person, complex and wonderful and miraculous all at once.
You think when your baby is born that you can never love anything more. You watch this tiny, helpless creature and your heart is wrung with these new, huge emotions. You would die for them. You would kill for them. You would walk a million miles and go to the ends of the earth for them. And it feels the greatest and the purest emotion you have known.
But as he has grown, I have just loved him more. He’s a complicated little being. He is bewildered by a world in which sometimes he doesn’t quite fit, a world in which he thinks a little differently, a world in which he has challenges that other people don’t. Sometimes it can seem though it isn’t as simple now as it was when I watched that tiny baby sleep, revelling in his perfection and the wonder of him, this being I created. He finds things hard. He can’t always behave in the way he wants or school wants. He understands that perhaps his brain is wired a bit differently – just a bit – from other children. Life for him can be hard, and, as a result, life for us can be hard too, watching him cope.
But, in the end, it is just as simple as it was when I watched him that night he was first born, gazing at me out of the darkness, his eyes huge with this first night in his brand new world. I love him, as fiercely and as purely as I have from the moment I laid eyes on him; time and challenges and difficulties can never dim it. It multiplies and swells and increases, this love.
So I watch him from across the room, my perfect, sweet boy, capturing this moment like a butterfly in a jar, this moment in which all that exists in the world is the wonder of him and a love without end.