No worksheets for your English class today I’m afraid.
There’s an expression ‘a picture tells a thousand words’. I’m not sure where it came from but like lots of sayings, it doesn’t seem to me to be that true. A picture can show you the colours and the expressions on people’s faces, the quality of light, the definite lines and shape of a building and so on. It can’t tell you how someone really feels or their past or their dreams. Years ago, I took snapshots of my life – it was when my daughter was born, I wrote five hundred words about her, a written picture frozen in time and when I read it again, there is so much more in it than anything a picture could show. Here it is, from ten years ago…
‘In 1993, as well as being told she would have her handbag stolen, your mother was informed by a Spanish fortune teller that she would give birth to two boys. Since the bag did get stolen some days later and you have a brother, it became scientific fact that our second child would be a boy.
I come from a long line of men and there has not been a pure blood girl born on my side of the family for three generations. This means that I instinctively understand the rules of cricket; I enjoy watching things blow up and I have no sense of colour co-ordination or home decoration or style. These may be gifts that you have, or maybe not. You brought tears of joy to grandmothers and aunties when you came. Finally they have one of their own.
Nappy changing is a lot easier. You don’t throw up as much. Your poo doesn’t seem to smell so bad. You are quiet until fussed. Perhaps this is because your brother is boisterous and has learned that the he owns the entire world. He does not know that you will learn this too one day soon.
In our house of three we have been unbalanced like a table with a leg missing or a car with only three wheels. Granted, these things can work very well but four is better. We frantically looked after your brother and were too worried that we were doing something wrong. You have brought calmness us. You sleep through the night. You gurgle when tickled. We love you as a baby.
When I pick you up I can feel the fat on your back and your hair is a blonde soft down. You smile opened mouth with red cheeks and your mother puts you in perfect pinks with a girlie cardigan or yellow tights. You are every inch a girl like your mum. You are just beginning to be aware and you when you catch my eye across the room you smile freely and there are two tiny bottom teeth.
Your grandfather is calm and whispers low songs when he holds you. Your uncle, who seems unable to notice children, out of the blue commented that you could easily be the basis for the 1978 Showaddywaddy Song ‘Pretty Little Angel Eyes’. I am shocked you are so beautiful.
I do not wonder who or what you will become. I do not think about it because it does not matter. I hold you up in my arms and watch you smile and listen to you laugh and my eyes well up. I love you today and always and forever.’