For My Godson, As He Grows Up
I remember you before you were born, dear chap, when you were that stupendous swell in your mother's belly.
I remember a while before that, when the doctors frowned and told your mother that she would be unlikely to have children. I remember how she said it was okay, she didn't want any children.
Brave liar, she was. You were longed for, not expected.
You took your time, too, coming out into the world: and then there you were, a tiny face peeping out of a blanket, wrapped up, safe, making all the fretting bearable.
We watched you grow in pictures, heard you burble on the phone before you had mastered a word. There were visits, which you won't remember, being so young.
Maybe you will remember our walk through the woods, where you thought you couldn't get over the spiky fat trunks of the fallen trees. So many obstacles in life, dear chap…
After we had conquered the trees, we went to the river, threw sticks in the water, cheered every splash. You were proud of yourself.
Your father was too ill to be with you in the woods that day, but he was thinking of you, he was all the while wishing you the strength to climb over those eerie dark branches.
The grief of losing your father, that hardly compares to climbing over some fallen pines: only in nature all patterns seem to repeat on many scales: one day maybe you will look out of a plane window and see a mountain range, it will look like the rocks on the beach at low tide: same patterns, different scale. Your father will not be with you: but his love is part of you, and we are here, and your mother is so brave: you will grow up strong.