Right now, I am content. Contentment is a much underrated emotion. No one can be ecstatically happy all the time, but it is possible to be generally contented day-to-day, and it is a lovely warm, calm, comfortable feeling. I am lying next to Freddie, his cheek is resting on the teddy his granddad gave him, his breathing deepening into sleep. It has taken him a while to settle down: he was fizzing tonight because tomorrow (or today by the time you read this) is his birthday.
Tomorrow will be a day of excitement, of delighted laughter, paper-ripping, candle-blowing and cake eating. There will be chocolate cake to share with friends at school, and a dinosaur cake to share with family at home. And, of course, there will be presents — mostly toys and books, and one or two other things, like a snuggly onesie. Freddie does love to doss around the house in a onesie, he likes comfort, and, like me, he loves to read.
What tomorrow will not be is a melancholy ‘what if’ day. I won’t be asking myself ‘what if things had been different? What would life be like now? What would Freddie be like now?’ I won’t be saying ‘If only …’ It doesn’t bother me that his presents probably aren’t the kind of thing that a typical ten-year-old boy would want. Freddie will love them, and I can’t wait to see his face when he tears the paper off.
Tomorrow is not about my expectations of parenthood. It’s about his experiences as a child.