One of my dearest friends has just had a baby four days ago. I am very happy for her in the deeply, quiet way you can only be happy for people you care very much for.
There are other acquaintances and sundry classmates I know who have kids – but this is probably the first of the so-called inner circle.
The first time I have seen a tiny kidney bean shaped thingummy in the sonograph transform into an actual baby.
The first time I have heard about nausea and morning sickness and weepiness and sundry other physical metamorphosis at close quarters.
The first time I have gone to shops to look at baby-monitoring books and the first time in my life I have talked about maternity clothes and filed away baby names for reference.
I know at this point I should be gushing and cooing or at any rate, babbling incoherently (gushing and cooing is really not the kind of thing I do very well) in delirious maasi-like fervour but for some reason, I am not.
Perhaps that is because there is this other whole set of tangled emotions which are also happening simultaneously.
Predominant amongst them is awe. The fact that someone you know so well has actually gone over to the other side. A person who was the ordinary girl next door has suddenly, miraculously created a person. A person who will eventually be a human being with feelings and emotions and opinions and intelligence. Try as you might, the brain struggles to reconcile the friend you know so well as the person who has brought a human being into the world. There are these flashbacks of her standing on top of a desk in college to wolf-whistle or sprawled in someone’s house watching a sitcom or ganging up to tease about a boyfriend- which don’t gel very well with the mental image of what a mother is supposed to be like.
There is this sense of shared (can you call it voyeuristic?), overwhelming responsibility interspersed with periods of mind-numbingly blind panic – how will she protect the child from the world and its many hazards? How will she teach him right from wrong? How will she get up n number of times during the night? , how will she know when he is hungry, sleepy, unwell? How will she cope day in, day out for the next twenty years? What will she do if she is tired and needs a day off?
And there is a sense of wistfulness as well. No longer the “what are you doing in the evening- catch a movie?” No longer can we hang around in Barista till we are kicked out at three in the morning talking of nothing in particular.
I know when I meet the baby – I’ll be captivated. And I know just like we all ( my friends and I ) have moved through various other life altering changes of work, relocation and marriage, we will all make this transition too.
But one thing is for certain - Life, as we knew it, will never be the same.
Baby boy for you, there are so many hopes that I don’t know even where to begin.
A hope that you grow up in a safe, happy, healthy, cherished haven.
That love, hope and cheer always are your companions. God bless forever and ever.