four years ago, right about now, we left for the hospital.

a little late, as it turned out. i’d been stretched out on the futon upstairs, practicing my breathing, hope a thing with feathers in my throat. i’d sat at the island in the kitchen, perched on a stool, writing in my journal. i’d broadcast the fact of labour to my three faithful readers, even though two of them were my inlaws and we’d already called them. the title of that post is still my very favourite, to this day.

we only live five minutes from the hospital. it was nearly midnight: the roads were empty. but suddenly, at a red light about halfway across the city, my body ramped from 0 to 60 and my seatbelt became a cruel instrument of torture. i writhed in my seat and tried to stand up,w hich is difficult to do inside a Kia when you are a reasonably tall woman with a watermelon belly. i became quite certain i was about to break in two from the inside out.

that’s Oscar. he’ll sneak up on you, beguile you with his gentleness. then he’ll blow you out of the water.

but he came out at 1:47 am, safely at the hospital. he breathed. he cried. i did too. and they placed him in my arms, swaddled in his blue blanket, and i blinked and thought, well, that’s who you are then. hello. and he blinked back at me, and i felt the first faint rustle of it, this love that still swallows me whole.

he was blond and scrawny and peaceful, somehow, with an enormous head and hands like baby meathooks. all i knew about him was that he shared a birthday with Iggy Pop and with the Queen. i figured that had promise.

i didn’t know, then, that he would grow into a dinosaur expert, a puzzle-master, a daily rescuer of heroic proportions. i didn’t know he’d be sweet and funny, that he’d wrap his arms around his younger sister to comfort her, that he’d remember whole verses of poems by heart. i didn’t know that he’d live in a world of magic and imagination, where towels become dragons. i didn’t know he’d drag me in by sheer force of will and delight.

i’m glad i do now. he has brought us laughter and sweetness. he has made my life infinitely more, just by being in it.

oscar peeking
happy four, little dragon, with your very fierce claws.  use them wisely, and with joy.