Gus is 318 days old today and fast approaching his first birthday. It’s hard to believe that he is almost 1 year old, considering it seems like just yesterday when he came quietly into this world and stunned me and his mother with the beauty of his birth.
We’ve watched him grow from a newborn totally dependent on his parents for succor and sustenance to a headstrong baby who insists on cramming his own food into his mouth and demanding that we help him walk around the house, in the driveway and out to the coop to watch the chickens claw at the ground.
It’s been a wonderful journey thus far, and a journey that gets more rewarding and more joyful every day as he grows into his own personhood. He giggles at our antics, watches us closely as we talk about our day or about the news, holds on to the sides of his playpen as he jerks his body around and shakes his head, grabs for our smart phones if they come within two feet of his grasp and continues his fruitless quest to get a fist full of our Australian shepherd’s fur.
Along this journey, Becky and I have learned a lot about ourselves, including how to be more patient and understanding with each other. It can be very tough, especially when I come home after a long day at work, the dishes are piled in the sink, there are toys scattered across the floor, Gus’ dinner is spattered around the kitchen and Annie is whining for a walk. When confronted with
Then I thank my lucky stars that I have someone as wonderful as Becky who lovingly spends her day caring for our wonderful boy. Who, just before her last nerve is frazzled beyond repair, is able to put the boy down for the evening and is still able to spend a couple of hours on the freelance work that helps pay the bills.
Because I am fortunate enough to work a job that allows me to spend mornings with Gus, Becky can get some work done in the morning while the boy and I hang out together.
Some days, Becky gathers him up from his crib early in the morning, nurses him back to a groggy state and hands him to me while I lay half awake in bed. If I’m lucky, Gus dozes off in the crook of my arm while we both grab another 30 or 60 minutes of shut-eye. There are times when I just lay there awake and stare at his soft visage, watch as his eyelids flutter and his big baby blues look to make sure I’m still there before fading back into his early-morning dreamland.
That is one of the moments when I realize I’ve never felt as complete as I do now that Becky and Gus are in my life. The emptiness in my heart and soul that I had tried to fill for so many years is gone, gently pushed aside like a fog on a replenishing breeze.
Another thing I have learned over the past 10 months is I wasn’t ready to have this joy in my life until now; I never would have known how to accept it, to appreciate it and feel I truly deserved it. I’ve been told time and time again that wisdom comes with age (though in truth, I know plenty of seasoned people who are no wiser than when they came into this world), but I’m not sure that what has opened my heart to the love that fills my life now has anything to do with wisdom.
It’s an acceptance -- an acceptance of who I am, that I have something valuable to offer to a new life learning about the world, that everything I have experienced up to this point has helped me become the father and husband I am proud to be.
And watching Gus grow as he learns something new, seemingly every day, renews my wonder in the world. As I teach him, I look forward to what he has to teach to me and what life has in store for our new family.
Bob Audette is the day managing editor of the Brattleboro Reformer and proud father to Gus. You can reach him at 802-254-2311 ext. 160 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @audette.reformer.