MiM tagged me to write the 5 best things the Viking has done for me.
Also known as What Have You Done For Me (Not) Lately. Like most men, he wanted me write at least one point about him being a sexual powerhouse, the motion in the the ocean of lurrve and all – but seriously. What kind of gal does he take me for? This will stay a chaste zone save for all the swearing thanksverymuch.
That man in the corner of my sofa? Yup, that would be the Viking, moaning that he doesn’t want to be portrayed as a super nice Tom Hanks type who never gets to see any action in any scene – save for some tongueless kissing courtesy Meg Ryan.
Anyway, starting at #1.
18 January 2003: The Viking and I wheel our one day old baby into a paediatrician’s office. He walks in, barely looking at us, barely seeing how drawn we look, how achy we both are. I can barely feel my legs after a horrendous tear and the kind of episiotomy that made me feel like I’d been hand-sown with gunny.
He picks up my sleeping son’s left arm, holds it for a few sceonds and then drops it.
It drops like lead. Like its nothing at all. Like its dead.
“We don’t have to worry that he’ll be a discus thrower,” he says in flat monotone as he scribbles in his chart.
I think I hear a crack and I don’t know if it was my heart, or my brain exploding. Oh wait.
My brain was screaming, “Who are you? Motherfucker M.D?” Thats right. How silly of me to forget.
But my body, utterly debilitated by “natural” childbirth, by this tide of ferocious, almost incomprehensible love for this little hurt baby, just gave.
And the hand resting gently on my back suddenly became a strong pair of arms just coming out of the pitch black of the room and to scoop me and my misery into a tight embrace.
He’s going to be fine, just fine, our boy is the most beautiful baby in the world and he’ll be just fine, I keep hearing a calm voice intone through the ragged sobs that are gagging me.
Those arms and that calm voice kept me pieced together through those days and months of darkness – of dealing with my anger that wouldn’t give. My anger at my body that had let my baby down. My anger at a so-called God. The entire medical fraternity who were dickheads. Or motherfuckers. (As you can guess, I had a real thang for that word. I think it cured me. And as it turns out I was spot on regarding my instincts about their incompetence. He was finally operated at the Royal Grace in London by a Swedish specialist.)
Those hands, those arms again when I rose to my full piddly height and screamed at a three orthopedic specialists, “This is our son. Our baby. Not your fucking guinea pig.” Steadying me, calming me.
Those arms that held me and reminded me day after day that our son needed no-one’s pity. Only one arm? We would teach him to live with that and live well. Whatever happened, we would believe in him. We had to be his strength. Limitations wouldn’t define him, this gentle man said, just as his limitations hadn’t stopped him. See, the Viking is severely dyslexic. Like couldn’t-talk-till-he-was-5-dyslexic. They never thought he would finish school, leave alone ace an engineering and a management degree.
My tears, my sadness were an affront to the human spirit, he kept saying. All one had to do was to check out something like the special olympics to know that no-one could predict what a person was capable of. But if we didn’t believe it, then who would teach him to believe in himself? We had to believe.
Tough lesson for the Faithless woman who thought Grace was in a dungheap.
So there. Number One on What Have You Done For Me (Not) Lately.
He was a mountain of faith in our little boy, in me, when I was No Faith and All Fight. Fortunately there was more in him where that came from;-)