The Cub met the approximate hour of his five months birthday by doing what he has taken to doing in the early hours of the morning these last couple of weeks-- nursing. He did that a couple more times before seven o'clock when he gave a significant portion of it back-- I am pretty sure the kid overate.
We met and dispatched the day by doing nothing in particular, and certainly nothing remarkable. My mom called to say happy five months to him and us, and I said thank you. We mentioned it again at dinner, and JD said "wow, Monkey, can you believe the Cub's been living with us for five whole months now?" And she corrected him by saying that no, he hasn't been at home for that long-- remember that whole week he had to be in the hospital. "Yes, but still with us," JD persisted. Of course, always with us.
For a little over a month now we have been able to make him laugh. Predictably sometimes (by doing particular things, and I certainly do take the opportunity whenever I can), and randomly at other times. He has the infectious laugh of a happy infant, and the unmistakable features of my father's line when he does laugh. And he is in love with his sister. As well he should be. She's been in love from, you know, many many months back. She tells us he is getting heavy (he is), but she doesn't think much of the "so you don't have to pick him up" solution.
And yet, as I've recently told Tash, the Cub exists on a completely different plain inside my heart than his brother. The glorious everyday-ness of his existence is no match for January, for me missing his brother in the particularly intense way that demands that I stop, every so often, in the middle of my day to name the well above the ambient dull ache-- I miss my son. I only say it to myself, inside my head. But I want to scream it on the street as I walk to buy the lunch I didn't have the time to pack that morning-- I miss my son. I still miss my son. More today, these days, than at other times. But I think I will always miss my son.
I've been at this long enough to know that with the significant dates, with the anniversaries, the bark seems to always be worse than the bite. The dates will come whatever I do, and when they are here, we will do what we need to do to get through them. But the days before the days... those seem long, torturously long, stretching towards the last two days of January. But they also seem short, like they will fly and then I won't be ready.
I've been more or less (much more than less) unproductive at work the last couple of days, almost a week. Which is silly because the new semester won't wait for me to be ready. I have to get ready, and in time to help other people get ready too. That the new semester starts in the middle of the last week of January is, I would say, incredibly inconsiderate of it.
I think I have been dragging towards today. From here on out it's A anniversary express-- all aboard! Nothing but build-up, anniversaries of dates and events edged in my memory. And yet, just as there is palpable joy and beauty and gratitude in my every moment with the Cub, I know there is fragile and quiet tribute in the days that lead me to the days. The joy, of course, is plainer to notice, more obvious. Not to mention more pleasant to sit with.
But I will do my best to not wish these days away, to not stomp through them. I will endeavor instead to walk them with the attention and care they deserve. Endeavor, that's all. No promises as to how well I'll do at it.