On the 26th July 1977 our little family of Mum, Dad and Charlie took a giant step into the unknown.
You entered our world, a little bundle of joy and, it must be said; of noise, anger and dirty nappies.
I don’t think anyone can truly capture the rapture of the first child; the fear cloaked in love, the joy wrapped in long sleepless nights and the desperate struggle to adapt to the changes wrought by this squawling new arrival. (spell check tells me there is no such word as squawling but I am sticking with it because it works)
Could a child have been as loved as you? Of course every new parent would claim this honor and, they would all be right.
A procession of friends and doting grandparents paraded through the halls of Calvary Hospital and the wintry Wagga sun had never shone brighter.
You were born a wise soul and this wisdom has never left you, everything you did as a baby, finding your place in the world; showed glimpses of the tenacity with which you were to attack anything that stood in your way, later in life.
Ossie and Esme, my mum and dad, Chloe, Gordy and their kids, Sully and Anne, Rob and Marg plus many others all told us what a beautiful and bright baby you truly were and, of course; we believed them all.
Why would we not? You were this magical creature and most importantly; you were our magical creature.
The Christening at the old church in Henty was our sop to my parent’s Presbyterianism and the lunch at the farm after, was to my memory now; perhaps the first time I had approached my childhood home on an equal basis. Family and friends, together to celebrate your arrival, to laugh and cry with two of the proudest parents on earth.
There would be many turbulent times in our future together but one thing has never been lost; the simple love of a father for his firstborn child.
The first words, the first steps, the faltering walks through the park, your little teeth gritted for the challenge of the first bike.
These are the memories that sustain me very early in the mornings when I sit in the darkness of the balcony and ponder where I am going.
You were just five or six months old when we travelled to the Central Coast in January to camp by the sea. The first little wave that knocked you off my stomach as we lay in the surf, is indelibly imprinted in my mind, the grasping of my hand by yours as you wiped at the strangeness of the sand and did your best King Canute by daring to turn back the sea; those feelings will never be allowed to wither or die.
Demons, and I had a few; were vanquished by the simple unbridled love we shared, the secret sniggles as Mum would be laying down the law, the shared glances when somebody you did not like would try to pick you up, these are the shared early moments of a love that will never die.
I was, I am and I will forever be your father, no impending darkness can ever take that away; I know there will be times in the future when my body is no longer here, you will find yourself cursing me for something, or shedding a tear about a special moment. At those times, I will be immortal.
The physical is ephemeral; memories are eternal.
My heart burns as I remember the first of those eternal memories