It starts with a visit to a grotty old building, tucked away in the middle of some road on the side of town you aren't interested in visiting now, later, ever. But it is there you go because that's where They tell you to go.
They deny your husband access to the first conversation. Your conversation. About his child. Because he is guilty before being proven innocent. Accused of behavior he would not, could not display. "But he's taken the day off for this," says you. You are rebuffed. For the first time, rebuffed. For the first time, but not the last.
"Sorry, WE run this. You in, him out."
"Oh!" says you. Your eyes meet. There is a chasm of sorrow in his. Enter anger. You turn and step inside. You pay little attention to your conversation because it is missing half of what created the need for it.
Minutes, days, weeks, pass and pass and pass. The child grows. The child grows and the worries grow because you are no longer a young mother, but you are of Advanced Maternal Age. You are to be owned because what you have will surely become their Burden. Their Financial Bugbear.
Imagined and foolhardy as this presumption is, they are confident of it, having seen it through their invisible crystal ball, formed of statistics and 20 minute observations. Of small samples and a history that quashed and hid away and ruined each and every possibility.
Those beliefs formed by believing in labels and supposition and to hell with actualities.
They OWN you. Still, they fear what you have. You have the strength and the knowledge and the belief that it is ok now. That it will be ok tomorrow. You have a spine of steel and resolve to match. And you deliver.
You speak the words. "Whether it lives eight minutes, eight days or eight decades, we are going to have this baby."
And oh how They fear you! Because you do not fear them. And you speak, and you speak and you speak, my God how you speak. If you do anything from today into forever it is that thing which you must do and do without hesitation, without reservation.
Speak. Until he can speak, you just go on and SPEAK.
They hand you another form, this a booking form for this blood test, that follow up appointment, two more hours of life wasted away staring at hospital walls with scowling staff who don't have a clue how much love you have for this little bump already. Who don't have the foggiest idea of what his possibilty is. They can't predict this any more than they can tell you he will have his grandpa's hair and his daddy's eyelashes. Just what you wished for.
So you wait and you talk and they do their best again to prevent that joy from blossoming because when that joy blossoms, it explodes to the very milky WAY, it is intergalactic, it is nothing they could ever possibly know. They of the scowls and lab coats and tests which prove nothing more than assumptions are nothing. They are 50/50. One assumption tells you "it could be something, it could be nothing." To bleed fear on maybeitismaybeitisn't is the only suffering being done in this entire situation. Despite the gargantuan amount of suffering They tell you the child will face.
This, you will discover, is a nonsense.
One assumption tells you this is a HE. This assumption tells you my SON. It is a son.
But this you knew already. Because that bump lives in you and not in those cold corridors. And you danced around the house cradling that bump. You took the earbud headphone and popped it into your belly button so he could jive to Stevie Wonder and groove to the Grateful Dead. You danced and rejoiced and did your best to find your joy while they rattled your cage with their worry. Their words consistently delivering blows, you dreaded skulking back down the shining white corridor of the negative to get the wind knocked out of you again. Deep breath. Stand up. Stand up. Stand. Up.
This place is like a cloak. This place covers and mashes and smothers and denies.
He arrives. They scurry across the room. They who didn't want him to be and there he IS. They didn't want him to be because their crystal ball says he will be unwell. He will need FIXING. Fix him, he's broken, he's wrong, he's not what we want to deal with, he is a predicament. They frown at you, the corners of their mouths poking up in artificial smiles. You cradle him. You love him. He is your joy.
(What you are and what you're meant to be,
speaks his name though you were born to me.*)
They scurry and scurry. Like rats they scurry. Picking at the scraps you leave behind because they cannot have the main course, this is LIFE on the menu. This is joy.
Don't go choking on those bones, you rats. You have been warned, there is nothing for you here. Best you listen to a Mother next time. Learn. Think you know? Learn more. Go.
Years pass. Time is slow. Achievements are enormous. You begin to identify the reality. That he really can dance. That he seeks out the boombox and presses that button. That he grabs your hands so that you can march to and fro and around and around and around to Monster Mash. That fun magical song you loved too. He marches. He watches you like a hawk. You passé and he passés. You jump and he lifts those heels up and down up and down. He DANCES. Weeping, weeping, whirling and twirling, this is magic, this is Love. This is JOY.
Still he doesn't speak. He works on telling you things with his hands. Sign language. This wasn't part of the plan but ok, as long as you've passed the ram it down our throats phase you run with it. You identify what you think he needs. They are in the back seat. You have developed the ability to tune them out. This is your get out of jail free card. Forever.
They who thought he should not Be, yet once he arrived They tried for so long to dictate how you should help him Be. And you say "no. No you won't. You didn't want him, do you remember? Do you see? Do you see it now? Open your eyes. We see. This reality is not your house of horrors. You have forfeited your control with your negativity. Too bad, not sad."
Joy. Ours is Joy.
You proceed to ask for help where you think it's necessary. But you only get instructions. Orders. Is help out there? Time will tell. You see what they say they have observed but you know he is far more. He is greater than an A4 sheet of observations. You write and deliver them the truth. The truth that he is infinite, he is telling THEM his story. They will not steal it and attempt to write it for him because he is more than they can ever imagine themselves to be. They are signposts, they are tick boxes, they are not Help. And they will not steal him from himself.
So you read. You learn. You guide. You work. You talk. You write. You share. You analyze. You converse. You ask.
You teach. You teach. You teach.
The music plays and you remember. You remember what your road looked like at the start. The scenery along the sides, the trees and the rain and the smell of the wet moss. You have walked some of it, danced some of it, run some of it. The smell renewed after every downpour. The rain cleanses. The music nourishes. The words your salve. Your salvation.
He is three and a half. The world will soon take him in. Take him ON. You worry if you have done enough.
Fare thee well now
Let your life proceed by its own design
Nothing to tell now
Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine
Flight of the seabirds
Scattered like lost words
Wield to the storm and fly.
* Grateful Dead, 'Cassidy'