Friday, September 3, 2010


It always feels strange when my parents take Oliver for the night. In the early morning hours, I roll over in bed to look at the baby monitor, double checking that the little red light is on. I get up and use the bathroom in silence. Even when I know Oliver isn't sleeping in his room, I still tip toe around like I might wake him if I step too loudly. I still swing the baby gate shut even though I know he isn't around to come crashing through it. That is just the way things work around here, and it feels like I am incapable of anything else.

When I went to bed last night I felt like I had to get up and check the locks - something that rarely crosses my mind. The whole place felt weird and I couldn't put my finger on it until I realized that Oliver was gone. The apartment seems too big without him here. When he's away it feels like I've woken up in a strange bed in a strange room. It takes me a moment to remember and realize where I am. It is disconcerting.

For as small as he is, the presence he has here is huge. Our lives revolve around him. Being at home without him feels awkward, like wearing shoes without socks or showing up to a party a little bit over dressed. The mistake is a small one, but it reverberates throughout everything and affects every aspect.

When I walked out to the kitchen this morning I purposely made loud noises and turned on the radio, to prove to myself that I wouldn't wake Oliver. It felt  bold and daring. It literally made me laugh to bang the cupboards shut. I knew I was being a little bit crazy but I felt rebellious and wild.

Going out without him is different, though. I don't think too much about him being gone while we're out. We used to go out before he was born, so we can continue to go out without him now. But being at home? We've never lived here without him. We moved here for him. He is as much a part of this apartment as we are.

He wakes up, and he's happy to see us. We put music on, and he dances for us. We ignore him and he clamors for our attention. He fills this whole house with so much energy and happiness.

When I was going through that rough spot, it felt like a sin to be sad around him. How could I be sad when I had this perfect lovable baby tugging at my pants leg to be picked up? How could I have anything to cry over when I had Oliver there, clapping and laughing for himself?

For almost a year now we've had him here to help us. He helps us to get up in the morning. He helps us get out to enjoy life. He helps make us responsible, more loving people. Every aspect of my life has improved just because I've been sharing it with him.

Oliver was sent to us because we needed the sunshine. And what a good sun he is.

Five days old.

Two months old, watching the game.

Five months old.

Eight months old.

Two weeks ago, 11 months old.

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