You bring him home from the hospital, in our case so early that you haven’t yet bought him a bed.
You look at him, inscrutable in a quickly assembled bassinet, and set about understanding him.
You hold him.
You hold him until, and while, he learns to walk, then hold out your hands so that he has somewhere to practice walking to.
You hold him only when he wants you to (and perhaps just a little more).
You imagine him in the world, first looming above others, their turning to him; then small, unknown, alone.
You put on his socks and shoes approximately 100,000 times.
You teach him to share, to understand that he is a luscious thing but also already in a world of things.
You pocket the stones and sticks that dazzle him, and you acknowledge the bugs and his wonder of them when he asks you to.
You help him draw his first map of life, the small, timezoneless continent from bedrooms to kitchen to the swings in the park.
You cut his hair in the kitchen, his feet kicking beneath the chair. You see him look older, like a person.
You worry that he changes faster than you can love him.
You lower ladders of interest — cleats for soccer, a synthetic mitt (and one for yourself), piano lessons, new batteries in an old camera, notebooks ruled and blank, flash cards of the periodic table — to see which ones he climbs.
You note his preferences wherever they emerge — the spoon with the blue handle, everything bagels then poppy seed if they’re out, avocados but not mushrooms, Frog and Toad and Calvin and Hobbes.
You teach him to have a soft heart.
You worry that his heart is too soft.
You go to soccer games, baseball games, talent shows, science fairs, assemblies, film screenings. You watch bands battle.
You put on Ella & Louis while you build LEGOs, partly because this is your time too, but also so that your shared soundtrack is memorable, even classic, something he’ll hear forever and always be taken here.