I caught my husband. A lie so bold and brazen, he turned his head, and kind of coughed it out. ‘A couple a hundred dollars,’ he said low-voiced, to the back of the couch when he was asked how much his new plaything cost. But I know, no computer thingy is ever only a couple a hundred dollars. Boys and their toys. Now we have another external hard drive thing that I won’t learn to use until the day I have to. Like how Reedy hasn’t learnt to use the coffee machine. And why should he? He has me.
Reedy has spent days putting things on his new hard drive. Occasionally he has shown me something about it that he’s enamoured with. That’s like me showing him why semi colons aren’t cool. But the new hard drive does take a ton of photos and I do like that. That’s not that impressive, is it? For a couple a hundred (and more) so it should.
My husband spent the weekend uploading, and uploading, and I took a digital cruise down memory lane.
All mothers think their children are the most beautiful in the world, of course they’re all wrong, mine are the most beautiful in the world. And boy, they look like their Daddy – all this time I thought they looked like me. And how they’ve grown. It’s sad and wonderful. They’re turning into people who won’t need me and that’s my job, but why are they in such a hurry?!
Clicking, and clicking, I journeyed through our lives, gums, first teeth, birthdays cakes, school uniforms, artistic achievements all there on the screen.
And how smiley my sons were. Even the big boy who for years hasn’t let me take photos of him, I have to sneak them. Trying to steal photos of a person as well as respecting their privacy is a game nobody can win.
But what I found most striking was how smiley my youngest son was. There are a million photos of Stephen King Junior smiling. Smiling and cuddling me. Selfies of the both of us I was taking long before they were called ‘selfies’. Smiling and drawing, smiling and licking the bowl, smiling with his new umbrella, happy, smiling, interested, smiling and kissing his mum. And all that time I thought he hated me.
And I thought I was damaging him.
And that he was a grouch. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had photographic proof it wasn’t always awful but just because I wrote that, and only a couple of months ago, doesn’t mean deep down I believed it.
Now, I believe it.
After this weekend, seeing SKJ’s life, seeing him smiling his blue-eyed open smile from the time there were no teeth in his gums until just last weekend when I took him to bounce at the giant trampolining place, has been life-changing, mind-changing. A memory re-wire.
I was the one with Postnatal Depression, not Stephen King Junior.
He had a good babyhood, some of it was rushed because his big brothers had things to do. I often felt that all he did all day, was be lifted out of the high chair, into the car seat, into the pram, and back again. That SKJ was a passenger in everyone elses’ lives. But it wasn’t like that. The photos showed me.
I had Postnatal Depression and I was in a fog. Really. I was there, I was on the other end of the camera, I’d line up a shot, say, ‘monkeys!’ I made wonderful photos of my boy at the Zoo, at the park, at friends’ places, and I didn’t see he was happy. That black dog was running me and that black dog doesn’t like kids, or bikes, or anybody having much of a life. It likes laying around the house and counting up all the ways you’re hurting people with your useless depression.
I thought those days were Hell, that is how I remember them. Hell with my youngest son, a baby who was twisting my guts and wrecking my life while I casually wrecked his.
I don’t think that anymore.
Thanks to my husband’s new-fangled, not-two-hundred-dollar gadgetry, I can shed what I thought me and my youngest son’s days were. They were not Hell. I have seen the proof and have changed the perception. Really, my brilliant husband could have spent twelve-hundred dollars, it was so worth it ( and thank you, Reedy).
Stephen King Junior was a happy baby and he is a happy boy. He has ideas, he has his writing, he has his best sense of humour and, boy, can the kid jump.
he loves me! i love him! we always did! yay!