The Island

I hear you. At least I think I do. So I look to see if your mouth is moving. But through the pitch black of midnight, it’s impossible to tell. Still, it must be you. No one else in our world can make that type of noise. At least not anymore. I can’t say that I’m excited to hear you. But I can’t say that I’m not, either. Because together we’ll go. And we’ll be alone. Just the two of us. And I look forward to that.

Even so, I drift back to sleep and only realize that fact during your next series of soft cries, the ones which finally prompt me to gently pick you up from the Moses basket. And together, we’re off.

To that place, son. Where we convene. Every night when the clock strikes twelve. Or when your belly strikes empty and your tiny little lips part long enough to announce that our rendezvous is upon us. It feels good to be there with you. I sense that you like it, too.

Do you know it’s me?

Because I know it’s you.

Last time I was here, there were three of you. And each time you and I are here together, it takes me back. Tonight is no different. I often wonder which of the three you’re most like. Everyone has their theory, you know. But they’re all wrong. Because despite my musings, I ultimately realize that you’re not like anyone else. I can tell by the way you feel. And that noise you make when I balance you on my knee and gently tap your back.

It’s through your uniqueness that I relive theirs, you see. The murky origins of what’s turned into now. Without you, I’m not sure I would have ever unearthed such artifacts. And it means a lot to me to have done so. And to remember, even if I go on to forget again.

It’s funny. When we first found out about you, I must confess that I dreaded these sleepless nights. Because, straight up son, having kids? It’s a young person’s game. Don’t get me wrong. Your mom and I aren’t exactly old. In fact, I think we do a better job than most at staying young. But we’re not exactly 25, either. So I gathered that these meetings of ours would inevitably take their toll.

It’s early still, so goodness knows they may eventually do just that. But so far? They’ve really not been as hard as I had expected. Nor have they been draining. To the contrary. They’ve been invigorating. Enlightening.

By the way, I can tell when you’re faking. You’ll know I’m on to you when I poke the pinkie of my bottle-holding hand into the lock of your jaw. That always gets you to open up and move your tongue. Then it’s just a matter of tickling the roof of your mouth with the nipple. Your reflexes take it from there.

You drank nearly three ounces tonight which means you did pretty good, ol’ buddy. And we’ve only been on the island for 30 minutes, diaper change and all. Which means I didn’t do too bad, either. But I’m not ready to leave our little spot just yet. So if it’s cool with you, I’ll just wrap you up and hold you for a bit. Make sure that last little bit went down okay. Sound good?

After a moment or two, I’ll get up and lay you back down in your basket with a deftness that your siblings unknowingly bestowed upon me. And the full circle will gives me chills. And just like that, our time will be up. But fear not, for we’ll have it again. In about two-and-half hours. Or whenever you’re ready.

You just let me know, okay?

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About john cave osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as DisneyBaby, Babble, YahooShine, TLC and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. He and his wife, Caroline, live with their five children and spastic dog in Knoxville, TN. Nothing annoys him more than joke-heavy bios written in the third person, with the possible exception of Corey Feldman.

  • Juli

    Simply beautiful. There are times when I am reading a post and it feels like I am part of a conversation as the story is being related and then there are those intimate ones, like this, where I feel like I am privy to the quiet thoughts that belong only to the person thinking them. So much warmth and feeling come pouring out of the words I read it becomes palpable. It brings me back to those quiet moments in the middle of the night where everything was still, almost as if the rest of the world was asleep and it was just my Daughter and I. I was so fortunate to be able to cherish those times with my Daughter so long, long ago. If I close my eyes I can  remember how soft and warm she felt as I cradled her in my arm. The way she would wrap her long, lithe little fingers around which ever finger of mine she chose and held until she finished her bottle. I can even remember the sweet, warm scent of her skin and how I would gently rub little circles on her cheek causing her to smile on that side. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with your beautiful new son. It truly brought me back to one of the most beautiful and meaningful times in my life. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      two things: first off, SO weird you talk about circling the cheeks and the grabbing of the fingers — two details i thought about putting in the post, but didn’t. and second, anyone would be lucky to have someone as thoughtful and intelligent as you connect with their writing. thank you so much for leaving that comment. i read it twice. it was so beautiful.

  • Anonymous

    This is just so sweet and beautiful, all my memories of midnight feeding and slowly rocking in the light of the moon came rushing back. Oh those tiny babies. 

    But now you must stop, you are making me want another baby and that ain’t going to happen. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      jen! thank you. and c’mon, you wuss. have another baby.

  • Patrick (yeah, that one)

    Brilliant.  I just don’t have enough words/superlatives to describe this piece.  Brilliant.

    • John Cave Osborne

      okay, then. i’ll have to settle for brilliant. thanks, buddy. i appreciate that. it just kinda came out right after that midnight feed last night. was surprised when i re-read it this morning that it even made sense…

  • Melisa Wells

    Please tell me that you didn’t drag Caroline out of bed at midnight to take these pictures of you and the baby. :)

    • John Cave Osborne

      um, no. i didn’t drag C outta bed to take shots of me and Grand Finale. *whispers* i have a remote control for my camera. thanks for stopping by.

  • Jean

    So tender, so sweet.  Your children are blessed.

    • John Cave Osborne

      i dunno about that, but what a nice thing to say. thank you so much, jean!

  • Kristin

    Beautiful post.  I especially love the artifacts part. Because it is so true that going through it again brings back memories of the other newborns — memories that you didn’t realize were buried there in the depths of memory…somewhere you didn’t know you could still access them. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      that’s what i found during the first few days of this child’s life. namely that it harkens back to the past. everything to deceased family members to the infancy of older siblings. life is so full circle, isn’t it? i’m so glad that you liked that part, b/c in my mind, that’s exactly what the entire post was about. thank you so much for reading AND leaving such a thoughtful comment…

  • Samkanatzar

    It is funny how clear your mind is during those feedings. You wouldn’t expect it ecause your eyes are heavy with sleep and your heart is debating how crazy you were to want this. Then? The air becomes quiet and all is right with the world!

    Those feedings literally saved me and helped reassure me that I could be a mommy!

    • John Cave Osborne

      @samkanatzar — that was awesome, what you just said.

  • Carla

         Congratulations on your new little life. There is something solid and affirming about the large family and perusing your pictures there is a sense of love through change, stages and years. Your family is gorgeous. Physically, yes, of course, but as a reference to the faith of the everyday, the dynamics of siblings and the embrace of ‘us’ moving forward through all that lies ahead. Beautiful. 

    • John Cave Osborne

      carla, you just blew me away with that. thank you so much for those nice words. truth be known, there is a lot of faith over here. and there’s a lot of us. that you pick those two words out in particular was, at least IMO, very perceptive. thanks for commenting!

  • New reader

    I’ve recently found your blog through Katie Granju, I love your posts. As I lay here 10 weeks pregnant with my first baby, you’ve made me cry! SUCH  an amazing entry, truly breath taking. I hope my Husband bonds with our baby the same way. Congrats on little Grand Finale!!

    • John Cave Osborne

      @NewReader — you have no idea how much i appreciate that comment. and while i’d like to take credit for having written something super-compelling that brought you to tears, it’s entirely likely instead that it’s the hormones of the pregnancy? (were you eating ice cream while you were crying, by any chance?) seriously, though, i really appreciate you making that comment. i try to keep people guessing if i’m gonna go ha ha or take it a bit deeper. i love to do both. the way i see it, if you’re not laughing and crying a lot in life, you’re missing something. we do plenty of both over here… and i assure you that your Husband will, indeed bond with your baby the same way. congrats yourself on the exciting journey of pregnancy that lies ahead. thanks, again, for the kind words and i hope you’ll come back by sometime.

  • Anonymous

    I loved these moments with my girls. It was just the darkness and us. I told them all sorts of things they don’t remember. I might not remember the words, but I remember the feeling. Love.

    • John Cave Osborne

      it’s such an unforgettable feeling, those exchanges. i feel so lucky to get a final curtain call to do it all over again w/ GF.