How did you spend your May Day Bank Holiday? I spent it going through boxes and boxes of baby clothes. Tiny outfits that our little girl and boy wore when they were younger.
The first sleepsuit that we dressed them in when they were born. The outfit they wore when we brought them home. The dungarees they were wearing when they met their grandparents. The party outfits that we bought for their Welcome to the World celebrations.
Looking through these clothes brought back some sweet memories. Tiny hands. Tiny feet. Sleepy cuddles. Kisses on the forehead. Picnics in the park. Birthday parties. Tentative steps. First days at preschool.
But it also made me sad. Sorting through those clothes brought tears to my eyes.
Our children are growing up. They are no longer little babies.
Our baby days are behind us. They are packed up in boxes to be sold or given away.
Little Miss H will be four in a few weeks and in September she will be starting at school. A new chapter of her life unfurling in front of her. Filled with excitement and challenges.
Little Mister H is almost 10 months old but is desperate to be his sister’s peer. In the past 2 months he has mastered crawling, produced 4 teeth (with 2 more cutting through) and today he started pulling himself up on furniture, cruising and took 8 tentative steps while I held onto his hands.
They are babies no longer.
A fact of life and something that I can’t stop from happening. But it still breaks my heart a little. And it has been weighing on my mind recently.
Parenting lessons from the bluebells
Today we went for a walk through the woods and during our time in the bluebells I learnt something about parenting.
As we were stumbling through the purple haze I realised that the bluebells are ephemeral. My time with them is fleeting. If I go back into the woods tomorrow those bells of blue will have changed. They will no longer be exactly as they were at 13:04 on Tuesday 2nd May 2017.
But if I dwell on this, if I am saddened by the fact that the bluebell woods may have been more beautiful yesterday, then I fail to see the beauty all around me. I don’t appreciate the woods as they are today.
And it struck me that this has been my attitude to my children. I have been so preoccupied with mourning the passing of our baby days that I have neglected to see my children as they are now.
Yes, they may not be newborn babies anymore. But they will only ever be the age they are today… well… today! They will only by 1442 and 296 days old today. Tomorrow they will be older and they will have changed. They will not be the same. And by living in the past, I am missing being a parent to the children I have.
So I took a deep breathe and stepped forward into the wood. And our walk was beautiful.
Not just because of the wonder of the flowers that threw a blue glow against the green of the wood. But it was beautiful because I was with my children.
I was WITH them.
Intead of pining for days gone by, I appreciated my children for who they are now.
The girl who loves to climb trees and get covered in mud. Who wears 5 different outfits a day – alternating between princess dresses and pyjamas. Who wants to help us with the cooking and cleaning but will never tidy her room.
A little girl who idolises her Daddy and is beginning to realise that her Mummy’s isn’t quite so bad.
Little Miss H, who is going to be 4 soon and has asked for a Princess Poppy party and some Aquabeads for her birthday. And who only wants her brother at her birthday party if he promises not to eat any birthday cake.
Our pre-schooler who wants all her teachers to come to her birthday party. Who is desperate to start school but won’t be happy in a uniform looking neat and tidy.
And our son, who is a Mummy’s boy. Who loves being snuggled warm and cosy in the baby carrier while I stumble through the wood with his sister.
Our little boy, who won’t sit still for a second. A force of nature who crawls so fast Mummy can’t keep up.
Little Mister H, who desperately wants to be like his sister. Who looks at her adoringly and giggles whenever she does anything funny.
Our almost 10 month old, who instead of having fun in the bluebells with his sister was snoring loudly in the baby carrier.
Our last rainbow, who has a smile and a giggle that warms my heart and fills me with joy.
Yes, they may not be babies anymore. But they are amazing.
They are amazing today. They will be amazing tomorrow.
And I don’t want to miss a day with them.