Joy. That's what parenthood is. I'm sure many people have attempted to sum up the parenthood experience in a more eloquent way than I but when it all comes down to it - the parenthood experience boils down to simply one word. Joy.
Although it hardly seems like a week, let alone a year since Henry was born - I now see a little boy in front of me rather than the little 'Oh my god Angela we have a actual-real eats and poops a lot baby' that we brought home from the hospital. I can honestly say I loved every minute of the whole affair. So how do describe the whole experience? Well, as I mentioned above 'Joy' sums up experience, but If I were to step into the TARDIS (Yes, I know most of you are going to have to look that one up) and time travel back to this time a year ago (the morning of Henry's Birthday), what would I tell myself?
It's a stormy morning as Future Will steps out of the TARDIS having just landed on the morning of October 26th 2010. To the Will of the past, the Will who had just driven his cheeky monkey Angela to the hospital, parenthood is still hours away.
Future Will: Hello Past Will!
Past Will: Erm…Hello…future me……hey where did you get that Doctor Who shirt you are wearing? it's cool
Future Will: Never mind that now Geek boy. I'm from one year in your future, I'm here to talk to you about Parenthood.
Past Will: What the 1989 movie starring Steve Martin and that women out of Back to the Future III?
Future Will: No, the journey you and Angela are about to go on - about to go on as a family!
Past Will: Oh…that's good cause I haven't seen it anyway.
Future Will shakes his head, sits down and gestures Past Will to do the same.
Future Will: So how you feeling?
Past Will: Excited….a little nervous maybe. It's been a bit of a whirlwind so far to be honest.
Future Will: I know. That feeling never stops by the way. The nerves pass after a few weeks - once you realize that you haven't broken him, you settle into a routine. But the whirlwind part - well, before you know it you'll no longer have a baby, you'll have a little boy who lights up anytime he sees his mummy or daddy.
Past Will: But what's it like? Parenthood I mean.
Future Will: It's hard to describe until you actual go through the experience. No matter what anyone tells you its so much more. Sure, it's fairly obvious you get so much pleasure from the big stuff
Past Will: Like what?
Future Will: Well, for example, the first time he looks onto your eyes and with a faint flicker of recognition, produces a little gummy smile.
Or the first time you have to change his nappy/diaper….the moment when you peal it back and shout 'Angela, our son has been eating tar again'.
The first time he reaches out his little hand and with the softest of touches, grips your little finger.
The first time, with an almost Herculean effort, he pushes himself from his tummy to his back and then starts to cry because his mummy and daddy are cheering like they have just won the world cup.
The first time you sit him on your knee, this son of yours, and with in faint baby-babble voice he looks at you and says 'Dadda'. Then, in the same breath, looks at Layla the dog and states 'Dadda'.
The first time you transfer him from your bedroom to his own in order to get more sleep but actual spend the night awake staring at the baby monitor talking about how cute he looks whilst sleeping.
The first time he hauls himself up on his arms and legs and with much shouting of 'Come on Henry, Come to Daddy' he bumps and crawls to your arms….and then, within what seems like seconds, has sped up his crawling so much that he looks like a remote control car whizzing around the house.
The first time you feed him solids and giggle at the looks of horror on his face - only for him to get his revenge when he delivers something nothing short of radioactive waste in his diaper later on.
The first time you realize that your son is psychic when it comes to either the dishwasher being open, the dog food being placed within reach of baby hands and the location of 'edible' cat fur on the floor.
The moment when he climbs to his feet on his little 'walker' car and takes his first steps into a brave new world.
The BIG moment when he final ditches his walker (or ironing board, storage bin, stroller or whatever else he's been using to steer himself around) to take his first real steps.
The first time he waddles up to you, bumps into your legs, looks up and with arms held high, reaches up to be picked up.
All of those experiences are huge and something that you'll just soak them in but...you know what?
Past Will: What?
Future Will: It's the love you give and receive that matters. You'll look at Angela interacting with Henry one day and almost be able to physically feel the love between them.
You'll see Angela parents simply light up with Joy every time they hold that sweet boy.
You'll see your family, on a trip to England at Easter, hug and kiss Henry like you've never seen before.
You'll see his Aunts, Uncles and Cousins adore Henry like he is their own.
Friends, near, far and virtual will follow along the adventures of Baby Henry via the blog and shed so much love on the little boy that you smile every time you even think of it.
And for you…..you'll wonder how you ever lived your life without Henry. The boy who smiles so widely every time he sees your face. The boy who brings so much joy to this little family of ours. The boy who, in my time Past Will, is turning one - no longer Baby Henry but toddler Henry. That's what matters. That's what Parenthood is about.
Past Will: Wow….that's what I've got to look forward to have I?
Future Will: Yes…..that and City winning the FA Cup, Series 6 of Doctor Who and City beating United 6-1 at Old Trafford.
Past Will: Fantastic! Sounds like a great year!
Future Will: It is simply Magical. Enjoy this time with your son. It will be the most amazing time in your life so far.
Past Will: Your Son!?! Has a ring to it doesn't it? Will?……Will?….Hello???….