Hold his hand in my mine, feel it curl around my little finger, tight, dwell on the weight of his compact body in my arms, I close my eyes and sniff his head. Babies smell beautiful. Nose to head, his fine hair tickles. He’s warm. Let’s stay this way, stay this way stay this way.
I’ve been having lots of baby dreams lately. Every few days there’s a baby dream. I dream of babies or cars and guns and money.
It’s not just any beautiful baby asleep in my arms, it’s my youngest son, it’s his head I’m smelling, his cheek next to mine.
The other day Stephen King Junior told me he doesn’t remember being young. I don’t remember much of his young days either. Well, nothing good.
‘We were busy,’ I said.
That and I thought that he was out to get me. And I thought he knew the real me, the terrified out of her depth mother of three that wished she hadn’t had him. The sad woman that knew for sure, don’t try to deny it, little baby, you hate me.
Postnatal depression is no easy task. To say I’m happy he doesn’t remember his babyhood doesn’t cover it. Thank God, I say. I wasn’t abusive and I said and did all the ‘right’ things, but I wasn’t there. And as far as poker faces go, I don’t have one. What I feel is what you get.
I had a short fuse.
I hated myself.
I had failed.
I measured how I felt for my new baby against how I felt toward his brothers and the answer was sobering. In the meantime, people would tell me every day how beautiful he was and how lovely he is. Is he? I thought, is he? I looked at him and his blue-eyed baby face and his best smile ever and felt nothing but fear. He knows, he knows, he knows.
In photos Stephen King Junior is a happy baby. And he’s clean. His clothes are clean and his face is clean. He’s obviously looked after. And he’s obviously getting his kicks; he has wide smile, small teeth, shiny eyes, straight at the camera.
He’s in grade six now, he’s a writer, and a joker, he’s a ratfink and he’s wonderful. We are close. It’s safe to say, no poker face required that I love him. I love him like you love the sky, my love is big and full of ideas.
I’m glad he doesn’t remember. I remember enough for both of us. And if he doesn’t remember I can rewrite history.
We’re sitting on rocks beside the river, ducks glide past, SKJ is about two and he’s in my lap. He leans into me. In my sleep I know this holding and being, this patience, isn’t real and that in life the man of my dreams is twelve but I go with it, revel in his youngness and our togetherness. I rest my chin on his head and listen to sounds of the river. Time passes. We rewrite history.