I was expecting you with joy, curiosity, ease of a girl who loves children but does not really know what a motherhood means. I read a lot about what happens inside of me and about giving the birth and nothing about what comes afterwards. I was sure that I would breathe it through, you would be healthy and I would be fit within 6 weeks. Then you came. Not with ease, I did not breathe it through. I was not fit in 6 weeks but you were healthy, big and you ate a lot. What came afterwards was the biggest discovery of my life, the biggest mystery and an immense challenge. Your clear blue eyes were my mirror and I could spend hours just looking at you.The autumn was beautiful, warm with its characteristic smell and I walked a lot in the area we lived. I enjoyed the silence and solitude and your sleep and breath were reassuring.
I remember how you did not want to go on the potty and how it was one of the most important topics in the family. Analyses were made and conclusions were drawn and the result was that you did not want to go on the potty. I had to laugh about it thinking that eventually you would get rid off nappies and we would need something else to worry about. Like adults usually do. You loved to play with pots, sauce pans and utensils on the kitchen floor. There was this young guy who lived downstairs who used to tell me that he could not study because you were noisy. We kept playing on the kitchen floor. I wonder whether the guy has kids now or he keeps on studying. Then you started to walk on your own but still holding my hand as if you needed to feel me close. I tricked you one day, giving you only one finger, then distracting you, coming in front of you and you made your first steps on your own. I was shouting with joy as if I won a lottery. We do not hold hands now, but if I go away from you somewhere you would repeat hundred times “Mum we will meet here (pointing at the spot) and you will wait here for me.” I tell you now that you are a big boy and cannot get lost but in a way I love it that you still rely on me.
When you were small you loved to build blocks, you made all sorts of constructions out of what you found in your room. Car racing circuits, train sets, Lego blocks were your best friends. You were collecting stones everywhere. I was finding them in your pockets, in your bag that was suspiciously heavy. Once you lost one stone and you cried so much for there was no other stone in the world that could replace it. I tried to tell you all sorts of things and you were crying even more. I really did not know what to do so I told you that it must be hard to lose something so special. You calmed down and I think I learned something very important at that moment. There is no use to tell grieving people about other beautiful and nice things waiting for them. Pain of loss needs to be heard.
I will never forget our first conversation about your future job. You wanted to become a mason. “Because the mason has a lot of stones”, you told me. Now you want to sell video games and I am happy that you still think about a job as something that brings joy and satisfaction rather than success and money. If I happen to push you to do something in your life you really don´t like, please remind me of this (for the moment doing homework is one of the exceptions).
You were always contemplating a lot, trying to find answers to everything. When you were 3 you asked me about mother Mary – the statue in the church you saw the other day and the real Mary. So I told you the story about Mary who lived a long ago. You wanted to know where did she go after she died so I talked about Heaven. I was perplexed myself as I always am when talking about heavenly things. Now you ask me about the Earth and I am equally perplexed. I feel totally incompetent when you tell me I should know better because I studied. Sometimes I think I would have learned more by reading less novels and poetry. I also want to have answer to everything. With you I learn that not knowing is ok.
When your sister was born you were fine with it but when she started to crawl and take your toys you hated that. You were fighting with her a lot. I was scared many times that something might happen but when I cried sometimes it was because I was afraid that you would never like her. And then the other day at the airport when she was 1 and you were 3 years old you ran to “save” her. She ran away while I was busy with all your staff. There was this transparent glass wall between us and the hall downstairs and she was fascinated to look down on all those people. You though there was no glass, you held her tight shouting at me “mummy Emmka will fall down”. At first I instinctively ran to you in order to realise that you are both safe. I was so glad to see you and moved by the situation that I forgot my hand watch in the tray. Since then I am looking for the similar hand watch I got from your dad and I cannot find it. Some things are irreplaceable but they keep on living in our memory.
You were always a good patient and you also went through several interventions. You probably remember how the doctors were telling you how brave you were and I was also praising your behaviour. I want you to know that endurance is a good thing but contrary to general beliefs hiding a pain does not make you stronger. It only makes other people think that you are always ok and they might treat you with less care. Always say what you feel and how you feel. That will help you to say “yes” and “no” when you really want to say “yes” or “no”. This is called honesty.
You are a big and tall boy now. Still running like crazy, being vocal and then quietly reading in your room. Loving Minecraft and starting to play online with friends. You know I am not a great fan but I know it makes you happy. I wish you understand that gaming is fun but also that there is a lot of fun outside in the real world. You are clever and witty, chatting a lot, understanding irony and black humour. You have a lot of arguments, you tell me off that I do not like but I did the same with my parents. I want you to know that disagreement about anything is fine until you keep to the point. I also want you to know that I wish you do not attack the person who contradicts you with nasty words. Words can do a lot of damage. If somebody hurts your feelings do not hurt back, tell them instead. That is respect for the other person and also for yourself.
My text is becoming very long and I do not want to tire you. You were one of the best things that happened to me. I grew with you and I am still growing with you on our journey. One day you will take road on your own. I can tell you that no matter which one you choose if you stay true to your heart you will be happy. You will get disappointed, you will lose sometimes but you will be inherently happy. How do I know? Sometimes you simply need to believe and trust people who love you. I love you. We love you. You are 10 today. Happy Birthday. Here is a poem I love dearly. Keep it with you. It is a simple GPS. Happy journey.
If by Rudyard Kipling