Back when Will was still cooking in my belly, I could imagine so clearly what it would be like to have him in the outside world instead. I pictured cuddling him at the hospital, bringing him home and holding him close, progressing through his newborn stage. I have no idea if my imaginings ended up aligning with reality because OF COURSE what really happened replaced what I thought was going to happen...but my guess is, I wasn't far off the mark.
During those first four or five months, Will acted appropriately newborn-y and I dreamed of what he'd be like when he really had a personality. At five months, he sat up on his own and became what in my mind was a REAL BABY. A grinning, giggling, babbling, chewing baby--this is what I've been waiting for, I thought. Will had so much personality that it worked retroactively, so that I even started remembering things he had done at eight weeks and realizing that THOSE behaviors could also be attributed to this newly obvious attitude. Like peacock feathers abruptly blooming on a bird's behind, Will's personality was flat-out obvious, both in present and in hindsight. "Ohhhh. Right. That was here all along."
The now? The now I could never have predicted. I didn't and don't know what comes next. What does William The One-Year-Old look like, sound like, act like? How will his personality change and expand and retract and interact? I have no idea. I never pictured eleven months, and I can't visualize twelve, and I can't even fathom the toddler era. Will has outpaced even my overly generous imagination.
It's better this way.