Narcissus interrupted

Size matters. Large and small are different. They make the same or similar things seem unlike the other. Similar to good works of art, experiencing difference in size gives us a new perspective on reality. Perhaps Narcissus, being confronted with a sudden change in the size of his face, might have been startled out of the deadly stupor, thus saving him from his own unnatural and self inflicted demise.

Most of the above is platitudinous. I know. It is a relatively unoriginal and flat observation. Its like a little ridge on a mountain without much more to it to will the tired and over stimulated mountain climber (that’s you dear reader) to look on ahead. Allow me to put something on this plateau to make the mountain climb worth your while.

The gravitational pull that the presence and personality of my 7 day old son has on my eyes and being is immense. The size of the force which draws me to him is currently inversely proportionate to his length or weight vis-à-vis that of his parents. His body is around 55cm long and the circumference of his head somewhere between 30-40cm. Not a small baby. At four and a half kilos he was a large one. In contrast however, both his mother and I are giants. Venerable titans. Colossi of life, and sources of security for the little one we are so drawn to.

We have spent most of our waking, and not little of our sleeping existence this week, orbiting his needs, loving him. Cnudling him. Making up words just on his behalf, all because of that gravitational pull which has changed (though not distorted) our existence and our measure of what is normal. The focus is on him. Size is measured by Owen. He is the normative being. The yardstick of existence, how faces should look if they should be looked at in wonder. Touch him. Hold him, cuddle him. Be careful with him, such a fragile being.

So you will appreciate that when I took an early morning meander to pay my respects to the porcelain tup in the other room, and looked blankly ahead of myself into the abyss that is the cabinet door mirror. Narcissus interrupted. The face was not hideous, as much as it was large. My eyes globes. My nose a large peak butting out of what might have otherwise been a little hillock of a face. Back to bed and there he was: The norm and standard.

Taken another way, after holding him for a number of hours my muscles seem to remember the arc of his head, or the movement of his fingers and hands, fidgeting around unaware they are attached, or meaningfully connected to his body like appendages. Grasping the mouse to my computer, it feels hollow. The tremors of memory of Owen are in my body. Normal interrupted. Size resized, and yet he will grow.

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