First birthdays, Rainbows and Growing Up

In a few short weeks Elijah will turn one. It is impossible. My tiny baby is growing up. I feel the melancholy of every mother as he takes his first tentative steps away from babyhood. My heart aches as I put away the clothes he no longer fits, knowing that the next baby to wear them will not be my own. I look at his photos, taken when he was so new and tiny and wish myself back to that moment. He takes up so much space now – in his cot, his pram, his car seat – and I feel a pang as I remember when he looked so little in all of those places.
As a bereaved mother, One feels improbable. I have only just accepted that Elijah’s presence is permanent. I was drinking him in, savouring him, fearing that if I did not, I would deeply regret it when he left. He has not left and he will not leave but I am grateful that I have treasured the moments so carefully. I never let myself believe that Elijah would be one, or two, or twenty. It seemed presumptuous and arrogant. And now, here we are, on the brink of a year on earth.
Elijah was never born to replace Xavier, but we did think he would bring healing and hope. He has brought both in equal measure. As a newborn, I projected a comforting, healing personality onto my son. When babies are too tiny to express their opinions, we imagine what they may be thinking. Look at their little faces and prescribe thoughts to their expressions. We form an idea of their personality, their likes and dislikes before their personalities emerge. Part of Elijah will always represent healing to me, but he is so much more outside that persona. He suddenly has a host of opinions on a variety of things. He gazes at his brother adoringly and will laugh at his antics with a giggle reserved purely for Isaac. He will reach out for cuddles from the people he loves. He will try to pat any dog that might come his way, accompanied with a determined “d-d-d”. He will attempt to catch and return a ball. He scoots along the floor, with his funny crawl, at top speed with a broad smile when his father comes to the door. He wiggles his way out of my arms to explore and demands being scooped back into them when he has satisfied his curiosity. He has dozens of toys, but will always choose the Tupperware and DVD drawers as his favourite play things. He is funny and bright and calm and inquisitive. He is not the sage old soul brought on earth to give me comfort that I may have first imagined. He is light and colour but he is so much more than a rainbow baby. He is Elijah. And as he grows up, as I am sure he will, I look forward to learning ever more about him.

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One thought on “First birthdays, Rainbows and Growing Up

  1. I can not imagine a more challenging or rewarding journey Robnya – you are remarkable and your 3 boys are just so beautiful

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