I remember thinking I had joy flowing through my veins. I felt as if my body was creating an ecstatic yet calm energy. I’ll never forget the feeling of sitting in my bed with my new born baby.
We had a pretty blue room at the back of our apartment on Dovercourt Rd in Toronto, with a door onto a fire escape. The sun was pouring in and it is possible that I could hear the Labour Day parade in the background, making its way down King St to the exhibition.
Part of my ecstasy was created by anticipating this pleasure for many years. Even as a child I had dreamed of looking after a baby.
By the time we had Rose, Joe and I had been together for about nine years. We did not settle our careers and save for a house or anything sensible like that. We worked at crappy jobs and saved money to study and travel. We lived like every day was a party.
If I became moony about children Joe would sensibly argue that our life would change dramatically once we had children. But my driving force had the earth and the universe behind me. My need to have his baby was instinctual and without reason.
When Rose came into our lives we were the poster parents for our friends, we bundled her up and took her out with us wherever we went. Joe worked on his Phd, we traveled to England, and I worked at freelance writing and waitressing.
She was the type of baby you could take to a fancy dinner party, an eight hour flight, or a conference in which you expect her to color when you write notes. She was such an ‘easy’ baby that she tricked a lot of my friends into having kids.
Now 19 years later, I have what my Dad always referred to as my ‘happy little family’. And when Labour Day arrives in Halifax we are going to take Frank and Maude (a child every five years makes parenting so much easier) and drive down to celebrate with her and buy her a legal drink.
The whine and drone of the bagpipes will catch our throats, as they always do, and the joyful gathering of working people celebrating their lives will remind me of sunny days, my first little baby and the parade at the end of our street on her birthday.