I was never one of those parents who "fell in love" with my child the minute he was born. You know. You hear those birth stories through friends or relatives and they always end with "...and I instantly fell in love with him the minute he was in my arms." Blissful smile. I need more time for certain things and enjoying parenting is at the top of that list.
I had my first child at 36 and still didn't feel old enough to be a parent. It was an emergency ceasarian birth and for a number of reasons, including the fact that this was my very first stay in a hospital, I was shell shocked by the whole experience. Harrison came out with a bang and has been...well...somewhat difficult since. He was cranky as an infant. I won't say colicky, but definitely a tempermental guy. He hated those baby swings - even though I was assured that it would rock him to sleep. He didn't really dig naps nor bedtime. He didn't make breast feeding easy. Little things like that. It was hard. I don't think I had post-partum depression, but I do think that my ability to really, truly appreciate being a parent did not come until he was much older. In fact, I think it finally happened last weekend.
Saturday, Harry and I went to see The Polar Express. Just the two of us. This was Harrison's first visit to a movie theater. Trying to prepare him for this event, I walked him through what was going to happen. I emphasized the fun stuff - popcorn, large screen - while de-emphasizing the stuff I thought might bother him - the lights being turned off. We had a great time running through the outdoor mall that the theater was located in. Harrison was giddy. He told me, after rushing through crowds and lines of people to get to our theater, that movie houses reminded him of the airport. We sat down with our popcorn and water with fifteen minutes to spare. As the lights dimmed, and the movie started, Harrison stared at the screen intently. He would only pull his fingers out of his ears to grab some food or drink. He only talked to ask simple questions, such as, "Mama? Could you turn the movie down?"
As the magic, of being truly engulfed in a story, occurred for both of us, Harrison climbed on my lap and we held on. To each other and to the sweet story of Santa Claus.