A SONG OF THINGS TO COME
Cole Stanton & Dia Mantenega
It was going to take a while to get used to this, he had thought that several times over the months since the birth. Taking so much special care with something so small and fragile, something so precious, wasn’t something he was accustomed to. In his youth he had dodged and ducked the responsibility of caring for children as much as possible, on some level he supposed he hadn’t really trusted himself but it was different now. Over the years he had gotten better at it, he’d been present after almost every single birth in the pack since he had come into his leadership, few and far between as those births had become as time had worn on. He’d wished the mother well, told her to get her rest, congratulated the father, even held the babies a few times. He’d been careful, cautious, so wary of doing anything wrong, but comforted by the fact that it was only for a short time.
It was something else entirely when the child was his own. There was no handing it back to the parents and getting on with his duties, not when he was a parent himself, and he couldn’t very well expect Dia to handle everything alone. Cole wasn’t that sort of mate, that sort of husband, he never had been. Hypocritical of him given that he was so stubborn and determined to handle things alone as much as possible but that had always been his way. No one understood that better than Dia.
While she fussed with the blankets and other assorted bits and pieces in the crib he held their son, quietly relieved that he was old enough now that he could at least balance him to one side instead of taking up both arms with one task. Their son was only just old enough to be comfortable with it, he liked it better when his mother did it, Dia had a way of bouncing him gently that kept him from getting restless that Cole just couldn’t master, no matter how many times she tried to teach him.
With a stuffed wolf in one hand and a pacifier in the other she straightened from her work at the crib and walked back over to her husband and child. “I knew there was one in there somewhere,” she said to the baby, waggling the multi-coloured pacifier in front of his face. Theodore’s little hands reached for it and Cole had to bring his other arm into play to keep the boy balanced. Muttering affectionately in Spanish she let her son take it from her in his mouth and ruffled his hair.
“I’m amazed he can fit in there anymore,” Cole said with amusement in his voice. Dia laughed, shaking her head. “I think the little guy got more gifts than everyone else combined.”
“He did, I’m sure,” Dia agreed, looking around at their room. Once organised and simple in style and arrangement it was now cluttered with baby gear and other assorted paraphernalia. It was all but impossible to set one foot down without stepping on something that squeaked or played music or started wheeling along all by itself. “Someone’s going to get spoilt rotten, hmm?” She fixed her blissfully ignorant little boy with what would one day pass for a stern maternal glare but it soon broke into a grin.
Cole smiled and looked around. Their son’s first Christmas had certainly been a roaring success to say the least. Everyone had been playing and focusing on him all day long, they’d showered him with all kinds of gifts. The entertainment value of watching him tear at the paper and ribbons and bows hadn’t decreased in the least as the day had worn on, more and more gifts seeming to creep out of the woodwork as the hours wore on. So many of the pack had made things themselves, those were the gifts that had touched them the most. The little booties, the hat, the blanket, a stocking for years to come, a rocking horse. Cole never needed to be reminded just how much his pack cared for their own but it had hit him once again, no less powerful or meaningful than any of the times before.
“And something tells me,” Dia went on as she came back over from squaring away some of those new toys, “he’s going to learn just how to milk that.”
Cole laughed, bouncing their son against his hip. Theodore’s face lit up and he took hold of his father’s shirt in both hands as he giggled. “I think you might be right about that.”