A boy was born five years ago today who radically and magically reshuffled, restored, and revitalized each of our lives and our family as a collective. That boy is Kane who was born with six toes and many special gifts. “Extra gene power” I said excitedly when Kelly texted me from the hospital, telling me about him for the first time. It was agonizing being so far away when Kane was born, it’s always agonizing actually, when you want to be close to the ones you love so much and unlike any others. I am thankful that I have a job that enables me, in funds and flexibility, to travel a few times a year to my prairie home where the Wheat Kings reside, including our Kane.
I first met him in December of 2015 and I clearly recall rushing to where Kelly was feeding him, in the quiet basement where I had at least two bedrooms growing up. There he was, a tiny family bundle with a new face. I filled with a pride and excitement that felt distinct, like many of the feelings we create and have access to through children. They are holy, as are their mothers who bring them into being with the help of men-fathers-others. So small he was and so interesting; so important. We met that night and as he’s grown up I see a lot of myself in him, me as a child and me now, too. I think it’s common to do that with kids, to see into and through them, back to ourselves. We live and understand ourselves in relation to one another.
Birthdays bring many traditions and among them are gifts of green shoes, things that light up or plug in, sharing huge pieces of delicious cheesecake from Calories (a divine food establishment on Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon), listening and slowly dancing to Cambodian music, and making smoothies with fresh ginger- which he ALWAYS makes sure Kelly has in the fridge before my visits. He’s so fun to buy for because I know what he likes and we seem to like the same things. My favourite gift so far are the mint green slip-on snakeskin loafers I picked up in Tramandai, Brasil in February 2015. There was little to see in this coastal town that my Brasilian friends call “the bush”, but I found a shop that sold leather goods, horse bridals, belts, ponchos and other ‘cowboy’ items. I returned to this place twice and felt comfortable there, the smell, the ‘western’ items, the quiet way of the shop-keeper. As I surveyed the beautiful wares my eyes fixed on a tiny pair of loafers tied together in a clear plastic bag, knotted at the top. I had to have them and knew our boy Kane would enjoy them. And enjoy them he DID, often sporting them in little more than his birthday suit and tipity-tapity’ing around the place with purpose and fun. Kelly would find the shoes in the blender, hidden away, and then pulled out for all sorts of occasions. It was a pity when he grew out of them.
When I learned that Kelly was pregnant I wrote a poem. It was long before we knew who Kane was or who he would become, so I just called it Baby:
Inside the soft, strong living space a drum pulled tight and safe by directives of the body
And its ingrained knowledge and duty to prepare
Small-ly sloshing, gently
In the new water of life
You will fall to earth at a powerful time
Between a mighty cosmic change
When days and nights are equal in length
And the sun stops for a moment before beginning again its rounds around our earth
Marking the seasons with ancient precision
Through the compass of the celestial forever
Moving ever more southern
Moving closer to your first breath
In Kane’s birthday card I told him that he is a star that brightens our lives like no other light. He enriches our lives in a cosmic way, through space and time. Kane believes that he came from the sand, which is a fascinating thing he’s said for years when his mom asks him where he comes from. He is also a feeler/seeker/see-er, he knows things before the rest of us do and regularly pulls tarot/medicine/animal cards on his own and sometimes with us. When asked about his prophetic insights he is quiet, just how he is when his special knowledge shines through. He simply tells us the things he knows without explanation, none is needed.
In his card I said that he is a star in the sky and I am there too, like the moon watching over him from afar. The moon is marked twice on my body, in crescent form with my Sagittarius constellation on my back and again as grandmother in the band around my right forearm, which I got to signify the attainment of academic tenure/long-term security in my job. Moon is woman and she helps direct the tides inside us, pulling and populating the waters of life. Moon is also a caregiver, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, and an auntie who loves her Kaney boy.