The days are long but the years are short…
Has there ever been such a bitter sweet statement for us mamas? No one ever told us that the biggest heartbreak of being a parent was that your kids would grow up and leave you. I mean we are a good few years off that stage yet but still… Archie says he wants to marry me when he grows up – I wonder how long that will last! The thought of them leaving to fend for themselves is pretty hard to fathom seeing as at the moment they don’t allow me any personal space and they need their bums & noses wiped pretty much on the hour, every hour. It does seem like light years away… those college years, but everyone I know with grown up children tells me it’s gone like a flash. One minute you are bringing them home from hospital… the next you are helping them choose college courses.
I read an article before in which the author fondly remembered how his mother used to randomly surprise him and his siblings with little mini adventures. They would wake up get dressed for school, have their breakfast, brush their teeth and she would trundle them all into the car as if it was any normal run of the mill day. Once in the car she would shout “Mamas Holidays!!” and they would all squeal in delight. There would be no school or work and the day would be spent together eating ice cream or going to their favourite park/cafe. I absolutely loved the idea and it has stuck with me ever since.
Life gets so busy. We are all rushing heads down flying to work then leaving work in a panic to collect kids/babies and once home facing into the dinner bath/bed time routines. It is like we never stop.
What harm does it do every now and then just to stop and to not do what is expected of the day? None. It does no harm, so why don’t we do it more often? I’m not talking every week or even every month but now and then when it occurs to you to do it or when you just feel just need to stop.
I knew I was in need of some alone time with Archie when he watched me intently one evening bathing his baby sister and afterwards as I wrapped her up tightly in a fluffy towel, he asked with a hint of sadness “remember when I was your first baby, mom?” Talk about a punch to my gut! Mom-guilt set in in a big way… was he feeling neglected? Was I too absorbed with the baby to even notice?
We were invited by our friends Sooby & Lili from Mutiny Kids to an event in Primark recently and I thought this is the perfect chance for us to do something fun and spontaneous together. It was in Dublin on a Monday in the middle of the day. Normally I would have declined as it would require too much re-organisation of our already busy week. I was also crazy in work and I’d have to rearrange the baby’s routine etc.
Lots of reasons to say no and one reason to say yes – time with my boy. TIME. Precious time. Days like these are important for both of us. He needs to feel like my baby and I need to focus solely on him even if it is just for a few hours.
I told him the night before that instead of going to Montessori in the morning we were catching a train to Dublin and we’d get a tram into the big city and the best bit for him… it was just going to be the two of us. Don’t get me wrong he adores his baby sister (we were only on the train to Dublin about 10 minutes when said he missed her) but the thought of it just being him and I on this adventure together for one day filled him with excitement.
In actual fact all we did was go from the station to the event and back again. The train journey was almost enough for him but it wasn’t really about what we did or where we went. What he (and I) loved were all the little moments. Like holding hands walking through a busy train station him wide eyed taking it all in, or buying our Luas ticket from the machine and holding on to it for dear life, or when we caught sight of the spire in the distance.
All these small perfect innocent moments. I tried to soak them in, because he is not a baby anymore… he’s a little boy and soon he will be in school and then a teenager who won’t want to be seen dead with me. So I’m going to take these days with him while I can, holding hands just him and I… he was after all my first baby.
All images by Ivana Patarcic