The mouths of babes

During the working day, I usually have one of my black notebooks close at hand - wherever I am. When not at work, I often have a pocket-sized one handy, for scribbling down shopping lists, random notes, and moments of bloggy inspiration.

The pocket-sized journals tend to last a lot longer than the bigger versions I use several times a day, every day. Which explains why, turning a page in the current pocket journal the other morning, I came across a piece I wrote almost a year ago and had completely forgotten about. For some reason, I'd scribbled this little piece into the centre pages of my journal - perhaps just so that I would surprise myself on finding it weeks or months later, which is precisely what happened.

Still seems blogworthy, so I thought I'd capture it here, before I move too much deeper into the notebook and forget about the piece again, until I sit down to do my annual thumb through of the year's completed journals.

Here, then, a little story about Ruairi, our youngest, who would have been three and a half at the time.


It's Saturday, May 27, 2006.

Here in the playground of Adam Beck school, waiting with Ruairi while Charlie is at his basketball class.

Lily is away at her first Sparks Camp. Strange, exciting, and oddly sad that our little six-year-old girl is away from home at her first, real big girl camp.

I'm watching Ruairi play with his new "Tail Ball" on the playground equipment. Sitting here in the shade on a clear, balmy day; cramped up with some vile dose of stomach flu.

Maybe this is how those seaside retirees feel. Parked in their bath chairs on the prom' -- watching limber youth cavort in the surf.

Ruairi never fails to surprise and delight us. They all do, of course, but I think it's entirely reasonable to admit there's a certain unique bond we have with Ruairi, different from the others, only because of the trauma of his early weeks. (Long story, covered in detail on BlogSprogs
- archives there look to be busted at the moment though, so until I can fix them, here's the short version: he had an e. coli infection in his blood at six weeks old. It was rough. Really, really rough.)

He's a special kid. Naturally charismatic, considerate, big-hearted. Funny too. And a thinker.

How to describe Ruairi (or any of them) in mere words?

Last Monday night - the Victoria Day holiday - we were both flopped out, upside down on the bed in our master bedroom. We were lying heads down in the darkened room, the curtains open, so that we could watch the fireworks burst and crackle in the deep blue twilight.

A single point of light stood out in the the darkening sky, and Ruairi, ever observant, constantly chattering and questioning, fell silent for a moment as he searched for the label to apply to this static sparkly something in the midst of all the firework frenzy.

"Is that a star, Daddy?"

"Yes darling."

A pause. Maybe half a minute...

"Is that... the first star, Daddy?"

"Yes Small, I think it is."

Excited now: "Make a wish, Daddy! Make a wish!"

Huge smile: "OK, sweet boy. And you too, OK?"

We lay there a minute longer. Then quietly, slowly, he started to sing. A soft, thin descant, gently

"Star light... star bright... first star... I... star light... I see... I wish tonight... I wish I may... I wish..."

His voice slipped away as the lump grew in my throat. Rolled my head towards him - God bless the mite, he'd fallen asleep.

I love you Small. My Ruairi. I always will.