Owen Benjamin Edmondson is 6 months old. 182 days. 26 weeks. Half a year.
November, December, January, February, March, April. Six months.
I have no idea where the time has gone. In our family, time looks different. Everything looks different. Our world changed the day our son was born, of course it did. October 30th, 2014 was the day we were officially recognized as parents. We have had to learn to adjust to family life in a much different way to what we expected. We are still learning.
This mum is exhausted. Joyful. Brimming with emotions on either end of the spectrum. The world has simultaneously become a very bright and dark place. We are somehow the happiest and saddest we have ever been. We are confused. Longing to hold our little boy in our arms once again. Instead, holding him in our hearts. We are trying to adjust. We are trying.
Today, I would like to be dressing Owen up in his finest threads and taking countless versions of what looks like same photograph, but to his proud mummy, each one oh-so-different and so very precious. Instead, the clothing sits folded in the drawer, hidden from my aching heart.
I would like to hear his little snorts and giggles when I tickle his feet. The ones that say Mummy! I cannot take it anymore, but I really like it – maybe just a little more? The ones that melt your heart. Instead, I hear the pitter-patter of the rain on the roof echoing through our silent house.
I would like to watch as my son discovers. As he learns about himself, his senses, and abilities. The looks of uncertainty, but the willingness to try anyways. Instead, I can only imagine what he might be like today.
I would like to see his wonder, awe and surprise of the world around him. As he travels with his mummy and daddy, learning that this is what his family is passionate about. Instead, we are learning to experience for him.
I would like to see his (potentially) toothy grin stretching from ear to ear as he listens to his favourite Louis Armstrong songs, the ones he danced to as he grew in his mummy’s tummy. The smile that shows remembrance and recognition of this special time spent together. Instead, the fond memories bring comfort, but also threaten to weaken the knees, reducing to a pool of tears and what-ifs.
I would like to use the high chair that was so carefully researched, chosen and proudly placed in the dining room. The chair that we were told would not be used until our son was 6 months old, but it remained on display as a proud reminder and promise of what was to come. A time that at once seemed so far away and yet so close. Instead, the chair sits on a shelf in the garage collecting dust, out of sight to our grieving hearts.
I would like to do these things because they are what I expected. A yearning that comes from the promise, expectation and entitlement to bring your healthy baby home. Instead, we are left with wonder and grief for expectations left unfulfilled. Moments left unexperienced. Dreams left lingering, unaware, and patiently awaiting ownership. The tears continue to make their daily visits, filled with a mix of disbelief, joy, and sadness. Confusion.
We have spent the past 6 months raising and trying to honour our son in any way that we can, desperately trying to affirm his rightful place in the world and the hearts of those around us. He deserves this. In this way, Owen has grown a lot in 6 months. His spirit is richer for having touched the lives of so many. Development measured in milestones beyond our realm of understanding, but bringing comfort and pride nonetheless. His presence continues to carry us through the sadness of his physical absence. Our lives are more meaningful with our little boy apart of them.
Learning that sometimes things do not work out as you expected, as you planned, is a lesson that we are continuing to learn as a family. It is going to take time. This is a tough lesson for such a little guy, but Owen Benjamin is wise beyond his months. He has a strength of spirit.
Happy 6 months, baby. You continue to make your mummy and daddy very proud. We are honoured to be your parents, and are learning more about you everyday as we discover the world with you. Your life is beautiful. You have seen more than your fair share of tears, but you have also seen smiles and giggles in between. You have made our hearts grow a few sizes and we love you for that. Let’s go read some more Paddington and dream about seaplanes.