Hugh is one today

Ken writes:

Hugh turned one year old at about 5:45am today. We don’t quite know the exact time because we were too busy, then, to look at our watches; Dot on her hands and knees on the floor and me holding Hugh’s dear head in my hands. Here is my account of the birth, and here is Dot’s.

I’m very glad to put the first year behind us. It has been a bag of nerves for me from start to finish (good nerves, as well as bad nerves, I hasten to add). I’m thankful that he won’t remember any of this later. Telling myself that gives me some comfort. Looking back at the birth, when I think how many things could have gone wrong, I feel extremely fortunate, and while I could contemplate a home birth with the second one (if and when that’s on the cards), only with professional help (midwife, definitely; psychiatrist, possibly).

The year has not passed quickly. At least, it has not passed quickly relative to the pace years seemed to have before Hugh came along. But having a child has called for completely revising my modus vivendi. No more carefree nights out with the guys. No more spontaneous naughty weekends away with Dot. Goodbye to just buying any book or CD whose review caught my fancy. Hello stopping and thinking about where to find a baby-sitter. Hello putting his name down for schools. G’day to forfeiting a fraction of anything I happen to be eating in his ambit. Hugh tax. The taxman’s grandson cometh.

Mayhap the past year has been slow because I’ve been aging just as he has (I avoid saying ‘growing’; I’m not any wiser, and I avoid any implication of putting on weight). I mean the process of re-gearing myself around him, which probably happens to every man, but comes unexpectedly all the same. As someone who has endured longer than most the prolonged adolescence that is tertiary education, and someone who often jokingly wondered about what I would do when I grew up, it has been something of a shock to realise that ready or not, I have grown up.

Officially an old git today.

I drive slowly. I don’t like teenagers. I go to bed before 10 o’clock. I wake before 6:30am. I have a career, I’m at the top of my game, and I wonder not where to from here but how to provide a secure spring-board for wean and family.

P.S. Let it be remembered that Dot, who has navigated these waters as much as I have, had nine months (-ish) to make the transition to grown up, with her body changing with her to underscore the transition and make it comprehensible as it happened. I’ve been playing catch up this past twelve-month.

P.P.S. cakeOne candle on the birthday cakehughat1Hugh at one, holding an atlas of Ireland (the best small country in the world!)


4 thoughts on “Hugh is one today

  1. Helen Conrad O'Briain

    I know that the following is banal, but banality should not negatively affect the truth of a statement. However slowly the last year may seem to have gone, it is gone. Each succeeding year will go a little faster until time becomes a blur of badly differentiated days, and Hugh is a twenty-almost-thirty-something. Live in each day as it comes with Hugh; do not allow yourself ever to wish his or your life away with worry or even the desire to get on with things. I wish I had the sense thirty years ago to realize that where we are is always more important than where we were, and being alive to the moment we are in is the best way to arrive in a future we will not regret.
    Like I said, banal.

  2. Dot

    Thankyou both, Helen and Sarah. I think we are getting better at not worrying, though I certainly had a big relapse after Hugh’s last hospital visit. And he is starting to look like a little boy. In fact, now he can walk, I keep unfairly expecting him to be able to do all sorts of things, and then having to remind myself that he is, after all, only just a year old…

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