“Your uncle Timmy, and I mean this, on his best day, is never as tough as you. I’m not talking about crying or drugs or anything like that. I’m talking about in his heart. In his heart. Do you understand me? And all this charming bullshit. This Big Tim, Uncle Boss bullshit… and I know you love him and I know why… but when you see him like that you don’t have to worry… because that’s not how it’s going to be for you. You’re not going to be one of these people who goes through life wondering why shit keeps falling out of the sky around them. I know that. I know it. OK?”
“Michael Clayton” (2007); George Clooney, as ‘Clayton’, speaking to his son.
The weather has been clear and warm enough that I’ve been able to sit on my balcony with Victor in the afternoon.
It’s relatively quiet, the main road is on the other side of the building, so the traffic is mostly muted — when there is traffic. We have an incredible view from my chair. The trees haven’t bloomed yet, so I can still see the river, even though it’s ten miles away.
Then there are the mountains another five miles past the river, in another few weeks they’ll be a hundred shades of green, but right now they’re still purple and grey.
It’s very peaceful, just the two of us. He sits on my leg, and rests against my arm. I’m not sure what he can see, or what he’s looking at, but he finds something. Whatever it is it makes him happy to be near it, I’ve never seen or heard of a child who can find so much to laugh at. When he’s awake his natural state is ‘just happy’.
Late last week we were sitting in our regular spot and the smell of spring came in on a breeze. Flowers, tree pollen and earth being turned over… the farmers are out tiling their fields, and the local gardeners have been getting the beds ready. And Victor started waving his arms around and getting excited.
He’s eighteen weeks old now, and he’s talking. We’re just missing a translator. If he makes a noise, or a series of noises, and I repeat it right back to him he’ll laugh like it’s the greatest thing ever.
It can start to feel like the end of ‘Close Encounters of The Third Kind’, when the scientists are repeating back the Mothership’s tones. He’ll make three noises, wait for me to finish repeating them, then three more, wait, then three more and so on. All the while he’s smiling, and waving his hands and arms around like he’s explaining how to build a spaceship.
I think, when we’re outside, he’s too busy trying to figure out the basics to be too talkative. Like what the wind is… when I first started bringing him out, and a breeze would pick up, his little arms would spasm towards his face and his face would scrunch up.
Actually, when he’s crying — for his food or if his diaper is full — and you blow in his face, he gets really startled for a few seconds, almost shocked, but then he’ll start to howl. As though it’s just one indignity too many.
He’s over fifteen pounds now. We’ll find out later this week, but I think he has hit the sixteen pound mark. He was born a month early, but technically only a day premature, and the nurse says he’s exactly where he should be if he had been born when he was supposed to have been born.
We brought him in last Monday for his fourth month round of inoculations. The kid knocks me out. The nurse, and my girlfriend, kept telling me to expect Victor to scream for a month after getting the shots. Or something. Two needles go into his thigh, two needles come out, he starts to cry, I tickle his chin, make a dumb noise and he starts laughing.
And he’s starting to look like me. People have been saying it for weeks now, but all I could see was two massive cheeks, a little chin and eyes the size of moons.
But I can see it now. Except for the eye colour (mine are brown) he’s like a little clone.
We’ve been spending a lot of time together watching the hockey playoffs as well. We’ve been together pretty much every afternoon and evening for the past ten days.
One side effect of enjoying this quiet time with my son — in addition to watching him discover his first spring, smelling his first flowers, listening to his first bird calls — is I’m slowly working out the things I want to tell him. I’ve found myself trying to find some wisdom in the things I’ve done and seen, something I can teach him.
It’s difficult. We gain wisdom from every experience. But wisdom, it seems to me, is something mostly handed down from father to son. But everything I know about “fatherhood” I either learned indirectly, or from movies. Or from what I wanted, I guess. But trying to become my own concept of ‘father’ — based either on the father I always wanted, or thought others had — seems like it could be a little misguided.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m overestimating the value of inherited wisdom because it’s not something I had a lot of… or maybe it’s 4:30am and I really don’t know what I’m typing anymore.
Victor and I are spending the afternoon and early evening together. It’s supposed to be cold and rainy today… so I’ll wrap him up in a couple of blankets and see if he likes listening to the rain.