He doesn’t need all that stuff


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Oliver almost three years ago
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“Dah … “
His name for grandad.

Sitting in the dark tonight waiting for Oliver to go to sleep – him in his cot – me on the pull-out bed beside his … I was reminded of that famous quote from Sean Connery in the film The Hunt for Red October: “Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please.”

“Dah … “

In a submariners-at-war context “one ping” tells the enemy more than it tells the pinger.  In the film “the enemy” was Captain Romulus’ own Russian navy.  One ping in this submariners-at-war case told the American navy that they and this Russian sub were on the same side.  A great film.

“Dah … “

Every 5-10 minutes Oliver would give me “one ping only”.  Waiting for a response. Waiting for confirmation I was still there in the dark.

He got a new baby brother at 1.40pm today – Sunday 21st February 2021.  Oliver has lived with mum’s growing bump for the past nine months and ten days.  The words “brother” and “baby brother” have become part of his vocabulary.  Along with “not brother toy – my toy”.  When he finds out tomorrow his new brother is not just visiting but is a permanent addition … then we will see whether the words match the reality.

“Dah … “

Mum was booked in to be induced next Tuesday.  Had a Covid test last Friday.  Hoped each day for a “natural birth” in a hospital water bath.  Has been living with brother’s head way-down low for a week or more.  With contractions starting and stopping for several days.  Has been walking that painful “cowboy walk” and looking ever more tired as the due date came and went.  Until 1.40pm today.  8lbs 12ozs.  Name of Teddy. Looks fantastic from the WhatsApp pictures.  Mum and Dad are still running on adrenalin but looking so proud, so in love, so complete.

And so glowingly knackered.

“Dah … “

Oliver will face all that tomorrow sometime.  Tonight his world was checking that “Dah” and he were on the “same side” every 5-10 minutes in his dark bedroom.  Over an hour it took before sleep won.

Little Teddy is not yet part of Oliver’s world.  We showed him pictures.  Mum and Dad video-called earlier this evening with new Teddy tucked in tight.  Oliver was more interested in Blippi on YouTube (until Dad did those video-calling games with faces and noises).  But as for new brother Teddy … ?  At just under three years old there is too much immediacy to Oliver’s living.  Blippi or another unknown face on a screen … ?

No contest … Blippi won hands down.

“Dah … “

We got the call at 2.30am Sunday morning.  Were out of bed and round at their house by 3.00am.  Telling them not to worry about Oliver, to look after each other, that it would all be fine, kissing our adult soon-to-be-a-mother-of-two goodbye as though she was three years old.

Covid-birthing has a lot of pragmatic extras attached and some loving ones taken away. Like Mum and Dad no longer one unit until “active labour”.  Just as so many have been divided by the health and healthcare system.  It stings. It feels immoral even though …

Just like Oliver we all get the words – but the reality is different when one goes in and the other doesn’t.

“Dah … “

Unconditional love.  Over an hour’s heartbeats freely given to him tonight sitting in the dark.  Hearing “One ping only, Vasili” every 5 -10 minutes.  Reassuring this scrap of gorgeousness that he and me would never be divided.  Just as lockdown hasn’t.  Not this time.

That hour in the dark was peaceful.  Reflective.  Thankful.  Thought full.  Love full.  We don’t know Teddy yet.  Just as we never knew Oliver in those first few hours. Yet look at us now.

“Dah … “

There are many reasons right now to be fearful, resentful, angry, deflated, defeated, downhearted.  There are so many more to be hopeful, optimistic, energised, delighted, united, invited and inviting.  And the best bit … ?

We each get to decide – I get to decide – when we each allow.

Dare brave dreams.  Sit in the dark for an hour in love.  Plan a holiday using Rona planning skills.  Live in the moment.  Recognise “normal” isn’t a thing – it’s what I make my living and loving each and every day.

Oliver wouldn’t-couldn’t speak or write or understand any of these words about my living and loving.  Nor does he know the words of the bible.  No isms and ologies.  Nor does he pray.  Neither eyes closed or open.  Nor has he been to church or been christened.  No holy water sprinkled or immersed.  I was taught if a baby dies without that insurance policy the future wasn’t good.  I had a godmother and godfather.  Both believers.  But human beings first and God way down the list.

Oliver has had – will have – none of the stuff I was brought up with unless he chooses.  Yet looking at my life and his parents and Oliver’s as well – he doesn’t need to – he doesn’t need all that stuff I was taught was so important.

He is all of that – says all of that and so much more – with just one word…

“Dah … “

Maybe THAT’S why he loves unconditionally.  Forgives unconditionally.  Lives unconditionally.

There is another one word I hear so often – one word that says all of it and so much more – “I Am”.

If I allow – both him and me.

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7 thoughts on “He doesn’t need all that stuff

  1. Pingback: He doesn’t need all that stuff – Talmidimblogging

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