The moment that Noah and Ellenah met their baby brother for the first time, on the morning that he was born, was one of the best moments of my life. It was easily better than christmas morning, better than any birthday, better than most other days that has lead us to here actually.
Dexter was born at 1.55am, that morning. He was born in the very small bathroom of our family home. The home that has seen five of Noah’s eight years and all of Ellenah’s, other than just six months. It is a safe place. It is where the children have seen magic unfold, from the christmas’, the tooth fairy and even better, to the games that they play where their imaginations have no limits.
It is the home that has watched Matt and I grow, up together and a little bit older I’m privileged to say. It is where we have fallen in love with each other, over and over again. It is where we talk about our future as a family… and together, when the children grow up and have lives of their own. It is where we laugh, where we are allowed to cry and it is where we are happy. Our home is where we dream together , about so many things. It is where we dreamt of this family. Our family. One with five of us. It is the home where that dream came true.
I was exhausted but awake when I heard the first creaking of a door opening that morning. I had been awake all night. I squinted my eyes in the darkness, to watch Dexter breathing. He was awake for the most part of it too. He was watching the shadows and flickers of light that made up the silhouette of his mama. He knew me already. I made him feel safe. He hardly made a sound the whole time.
My eyes were heavy by the time I heard the door that morning, so far from feeling ready to go to sleep though. I was on cloud nine. Walking on air. Singing ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams to myself in my head and humming it out loud, when ultimately I forgot myself. I had been waiting for this moment for nine, long months. It was my happy thought that kept me going since just before 10pm the night before when I had my first contraction. Our new beginning would mean that I had made it to the end. I let myself imagine what our lives would become. How it would change in the best ways. I could see how happy we were and are going to be. The smiles of my children meeting each other, meant so much to me.
I heard little, dainty footsteps. I knew that it was Ellenah walking towards our bedroom. Ellenah who we tucked in to bed last night at the same time as Noah, after telling them both that by morning, they should have a baby brother waiting for them in our bedroom. I knew that behind that door was a nervous little girl. One who was hoping with all of her heart that she would be opening the door to the boy, who was making her a big sister.
The door opened, very slowly. I saw her bright blonde hair first of all and then our eyes met. Her big blue eyes, full of hope, found me across the room. She tiptoed towards me, as quietly as she could. She stopped short of my reach… and I so desperately wanted to cuddle her. She stopped and turned towards the beautiful moses basket that had been waiting there, empty for two months. She gasped when she found it empty. Her face fell and she looked so sad. In her shaky, quiet as a mouse voice, she spoke. ‘No baby?’ was all she could manage in her disbelief.
She was right. He wasn’t in there. I couldn’t be apart from him. Even for a few hours while the country was fast asleep. We had been together for nine months. It was alien to have him anywhere else but nestled in my arms.
‘He’s here sweetheart!’ I whispered, as I pointed towards him, in-between Papa and me. She stepped forwards and looked over me hesitantly, to the middle of the bed where he was actually sleeping for the first time.
Words could never tell you, how beautiful Ellenah looked in that moment, so vulnerable and happy. Words could never do justice, to describe how every emotion that she felt washed over her face. Her large eyes grew bigger as tears sat behind them and the smile that she wore, I had never seen it before and I’m sure that I will never see it again. That one was for Dex. It was beaming but shaky. Her hand reached towards her chest and she gasped inwards, again. Almost as if she was breathless. Like she had been hit in the heart with overwhelming love. She looked at me and back at Dexter…and back at me, then Dexter again. She didn’t know what to do, what to say… how to explain how this made her feel. So I reached for her. My little girl. And, I held her so tightly as she dry sobbed with such joy. Her body vibrated against me with excitement and she asked if she could kiss him. I nodded and watched her lean over so gently to kiss him on the head. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen her experience and I will carry it within my heart until forever.
It didn’t take Noah long to bound in to the room after that. Noah being much less subtle in his ways. Noah who boldly pushed the door open and asked me if his little brother had arrived. Again, that look of hope was very much present… but the sheer excitement was apparent and definitely not something that he could filter or condense. Noah was true to his personality. Charismatic, bold, excitable and full of heart. He walked in with swag before anyone could answer him and clambered clumsily around the bed until he was at my side. He kind of landed there with both feet, flat to the ground and standing tall.
And then he saw him…
Noah’s eyes fixed on to his baby brother and rather than the emotion dancing across his face like it did with Ellenah… each and every feeling came out of his eyes, in tears. As they plopped down his cheeks, all big and fat…he looked surprised. And very much like his little sister, it was as if Dexter had taken his breath away.
Noah squinted his eyes and rubbed at them both with his finger and thumb. Pinching them together, he was desperate to stop crying. I asked him what was wrong.
‘I’m just so happy Mum… And I’m so proud of you!’ He told me, as his voice shook.
Hearing those words from my sweet little boy… the one who made me a mama first, broke me. The tears stung my eyes and it was almost as if I could feel my heart grow inside me, when I didn’t believe it could possibly make any more room. It had already made space for our third and final baby. Enough of it to love him unconditionally, until the end of time. I wondered how my heart could grow any more.
But it did… I think it does every day.
When my beautiful children say beautiful things. When I watch them get lost in each other. When they choose love. When they choose happiness. When they are kind, thoughtful… warm.
My heart grows because of them in so many ways.
While my heart was having a growth spurt on this day. While I watched Noah and Ellenah fall head over heels in love with their new brother, smothering him with kisses and looking upon him in amazement. It felt like everything was in slow motion. Like time had stopped. Like nothing else on this earth mattered.
Unfortunately, the clock waits for no-one. And with less than an hour until the children were due to walk through the school gates for a day of learning, we had to test out our new normal… try it on for size. Well, as much as I could from my bed.
Watching the children say goodbye to each other that morning was so hard because I just wanted us all to be together, in our new baby bubble. Seeing how they said ‘hello’ to each other though, seeing how Noah and Ellenah welcomed Baby Dexter into our world… The world, was priceless. A moment that I will never forget. A moment that I wouldn’t change. A moment that I could never wish was different. A moment that was EVERYTHING to me… Full of my favourite people in the whole world.
It was absolute perfection… x