Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What A Moment Can Make You Remember

When The Mayor was three months old, the two of us flew to England.

My friend Matthew asked me to become a Godparent to his son.

I was nervous about traveling with The Mayor. He was my first child and I had no idea what I was doing.

K couldn't come with me because he had taken all of his vacation time (and then some) when The Mayor was born.

As worried as I was, I made plans to go.

I'm not always the best, most reliable friend in a day-to-day way, but you can usually count on me to be there when it matters.

[Unless you schedule your wedding on the due date of my second child, my friend.]

I remember arriving in Manchester with The Mayor asleep in a sling.

I saw Matthew waiting for us and thought,

"We made it!"
Despite the triumph of simply arriving, I remember feeling completely awkward on that trip.

My body was still half inflated, like some forgotten children's float still hanging around the house in November.

Matthew and his wife, already the parents of two, seemed to know exactly what they were doing.

To me, they were old hands at this business of parenting.

Matthew lives in an 18th century farmhouse on the Pennine Way.

In the daytime, hikers trekked past the front door wearing backpacks and carrying walking sticks.

At night, we bundled up against the evening chill and walked into the meadow.

Matthew, in possession of a frozen mouse, would call to a local owl.

The nights when the owl appeared out of the silence to swoop down and accept our offering took my breath away.

The Mayor and I shared a farmhouse bedroom ordinarily belonging to Matthew's daughter.

Early one morning, I lay awake beside him, shaking rattles and other toys, trying to keep him quiet until I heard others awake in the house.

Eventually I did hear movement and I could tell that Matthew's two children had climbed into bed with him and his wife.

I could hear them laughing.

I looked down at The Mayor.

At three months he didn't do much.

Someone was being tickled in Matthew's room. There was squealing and more laughter.

I remembered jumping on my own parent's bed to wake them up on weekend mornings.

My parent's stalled for time in their warm covers while my brother and I demanded bacon and pancakes.

The Mayor waved his arms and legs in response to the toy rattle I shook.

I wondered how long it would be before The Mayor woke K and I by jumping on our bed.

I felt a little jealous of Matthew's family.

This past weekend, I remembered our trip to Matthew's house and that one morning in particular.

K and I were in bed when The Rooster, dressed in a leotard and tutu, climbed onto our bed and wiggled under the covers, pressing her small, cold feet against our warm bodies.

The Mayor, wearing his pajamas and an over layer of Pirate accessories, climbed aboard shouting directives at us, his weary ship mates.

"Batten down the hatches! Swab the decks!"

"I'm working below deck, Captain!" K shouted from under the covers, stalling for time.

There was silliness, tickling, laughter and, eventually, an insistent demand for pancakes and bacon.


Laura - Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy? said...

A lovely post - I've just found your blog and will be back!

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Cute! Full circle.
I cant believe you had the cahoonas to take him over there.

WILLIAM said...

Does the Mighty wind propell the pirate ship?

Jennifer said...

I, to, marvel at your bravery taking a three-month-old on an overseas trip. You are awesome.

I would say that I am about 99% good with the fact that my husband and I will never be parents. But when I read things like this beautiful post, that 1% comes roaring to life. The sweet little things that we will miss out on.

Anonymous said...

This is a really sweet story :] I'm looking forward to when my husband and I get to experience the same sort of thing.

Rachel said...

Gorgeous post.

mo.stoneskin said...

I actually missread that, momentarily believing it was you and K in the leotard and tutu. I very nearlly called social services...

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

Very sweet.

Anonymous said...

It's a lovely feeling. So beautifully described.

Anonymous said...

How can your writing be both funny and beautiful?

Nicely done.

Omaha Mama said...

This made me cry and I have absolutely no idea why. Except that it's exquisitely beautiful. All of it.
Right now I listen to my B reading to her dad, as he gently helps her with the tough words. And I think about how I longed for this when she was an infant. For this time.
Here we are and ain't life grand?!

Patois said...

Arrrrgh. Tis great.

CJP said...

um, maybe you should have checked the calendar before you concieved said child in conflict with MY wedding?????

Matt Bell said...

Well, my kids are older now - 9 and 6. And of course, it's just the one parent.

However, tomorrow morning, just like when you were here, and like every morning, there's a scheduled tickling/den building/ pillow fights / general miscellaneous hilarity. I absolutely love it, and so do they.

I'm so aware that soon the day will come when Sam will say "Actually Dad, I'm a bit old for all that now." You can't fight the tide, but part of me will be so sad.